After shootings of police, local departments receive gratitude, gifts

  • After the shooting death of five police officers in Dallas last week, residents of Weare dropped off flowers and cake at their local police department.

Monitor staff
Published: 7/24/2016 12:05:40 AM

In the wake of recent shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., where police officers were targeted and killed, local departments have seen notes and gifts pour in from residents expressing gratitude and support for their work.

Whether it be a few pizzas, a cake, some cookies, or just a note, officers say the support is meaningful.

“Each and every one of these is special to us because people took the time to show appreciation for their police department,” Bow police Sgt. Art Merrigan wrote in an email. “It is always uplifting to see members of our community come through the door if just to say thank you or to deliver a token of gratitude.”

Concord police Lt. Tim O’Malley said patrol officers have even been approached by people on the street just to shake hands and say thank you.

“Even before the events of the past few weeks we have traditionally received a strong level of support from the Concord community,” O’Malley said. “It is not uncommon for the department to receive letters of support from people we have helped or citizens who simply want to say thank you.”

As the news of the police officers killed played across the television and circulated social media, Elaine Brassard of Bow was faced with the challenge of helping her two grandchildren understand the events.

“It’s tough to explain there are some bad people in the world, and they’re not in the right mind when they do these things,” said Brassard, a former school bus driver in town. “It was very upsetting to them.”

So her granddaughter, Alyssa, 11, had the idea to write a note to the police in Bow, thanking them for “fighting criminals and protecting us every day.”

Brassard suggested they make cookies to go with the note, and Alyssa’s older brother, Dylan, 13, helped out with the baking.

With the note and cookies packed together, Brassard brought her grandchildren to the police department off Robinson Road in Bow, where they passed the gift through a drawer to a receptionist behind the safety glass.

“We’ve received a great deal of support from the local community,” Merrigan wrote. “It is these acts of kindness which motivate us to continue on and confirm our belief that there is hope for society.”

Similar offerings of support arrived at the Weare Police Department last week after the shootings in Dallas that left five officers dead. One of the items was a cake with “Blue Lives Rock” written in icing across the top.

“The shooting of police officers as a form of protest is bewildering,” Weare police Chief Sean Kelly wrote in an email. “I can only hope that this disgraceful ‘trend’ comes to a swift end without further loss of life.”

Another family dropped off a dozen doughnuts Tuesday morning with a note thanking the officers for their service.

“This support is reflective of the tremendous effort that this cadre of officers has committed to the principal of continuous improvement,” Kelly said.

The Weare Police Department continues to battle against some negative public perception stemming from issues under previous leadership, including the shooting death of Alex Cora DeJesus in 2014 and a recent $145,000 settlement with a former administrative assistant who was wrongfully fired that same year.

At Monday’s select board meeting, Kelly spoke about continued efforts to improve the department and rebuild its relationship with the community. He has often used the phrase “generational change” in describing how long it will take the department to fully regain the community’s trust.

“That change can only be made by building relationships in the community one call for service at a time,” Kelly said.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

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