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New Canaan police volunteer in Newtown on Christmas Day

Published 1:03 pm, Wednesday, January 2, 2013
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On Christmas Day, six New Canaan police officers gave the gift of time by volunteering for shifts in Newtown so those officers could spend the day with their families.

"We had three officers work from midnight on Christmas Eve to 4 a.m. Christmas morning," New Canaan Police Chief Ed Nadriczny. "Then we had three other officers work anywhere between 4 p.m. to midnight on Christmas day."

Nadriczny said there were officers from all over the state picking up four hour shifts that day, from departments in Greenwich, Stamford, Monroe, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien and many more towns. He said officers performed various duties, including providing security at the memorials, helping with traffic and responding to service calls.

Nadriczny was hesitant to discuss the volunteering, and declined to name the individual officers.

"It's not about us, it's about them. In many occasions when police officers do stuff, they don't do it to get recognition, they do it to help. We helped as best we could. That's our goal." He added that, "It was comforting to see law enforcement pull together for that community and have that response."

During the 24 hours from midnight Christmas Eve through Christmas Day, about 20 to 25 officers from throughout the state covered four-hour shifts so that Newtown's 45-member force did not have to work, said Doug Fuchs, the police chief in Redding.

"Many of these officers that are here ... didn't even know where Newtown was two weeks ago," Fuchs said Dec. 24. "Most of us have never seen each other before, but I can tell you we all get together with a common mission: That's to support our fellow officers here in Newtown and to make sure this community is as safe as humanly possible."

Every out-of-town officer volunteered to work over the holiday, he said, with many bypassing the usual extra pay, not to mention celebrating with their families.

Newtown officers said they were heartened by the chance to spend Christmas with their families and for the help they have received in the days since the shootings.

"We're very grateful," said Newtown Sgt. Steven Santucci Dec. 24 as he worked a double shift. Santucci would have been on duty on Tuesday, too, had it not been for the volunteers.

"The support we've received has been tremendous, and it's great to see how well we've worked together. A lot of our people will be able to spend the time with their families," Santucci said.

Staff writers Dug Begley, Ericka Mellon and John Pirro contributed to this story.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; @Woods_NCNews