Some Police Departments in America have had some difficult and testing times recently, but Thursday evening a group of about 30 people came out to an event to support the Watertown Police Department in their efforts to avoid troubles facing other departments.
The ceremony was held in the evening sun on the plaza next to Town Hall. Organizer Marilyn Petitto Devaney said that she abhors the killing of black men by police, but added that for each bad police officer, there are millions of good ones, including those in Watertown.
“We are here for only one purpose – to collectively say thank you to our Watertown Police officers, and say that we support them,” Petitto Devaney said.
Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn remembered the five officers killed in Dallas by a man saying he was retaliating for recent killing of black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana.
“There are no works to express how we feel about the tragic and senseless deaths of these officers,” Lawn said. “Police officers put their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis to protect our freedoms and democracy, confront crime and ensure the safety of our communities.”
While it can be tough to be a police officer these days, Lawn said he is proud of the men and women of the WPD. He added that the Watertown Police have work hard to build relationships with the wide variety of groups and ethnicities in town.
“Watertown has always prided itself on its cultural diversity and we as ta police department are proud of the relationship we have formed with these different cultures and religious groups,” Lawn said.
The WPD is trying to get out of their cars and onto the streets where they can interact with people in a positive environment, Lawn said. Two mountain bikes have been purchased and officers have been using them in places such as the summer concerts, in the parks and on the Community Path.
The commitment is also shown in the WPD’s Mission Statement – which Lawn read – which includes a commitment to “work in unity with our community to anticipate, prevent and help solve problems,” and to “maintain a partnership of trust with our community by upholding the highest moral and ethical standards.” (Read the entire statement here.)
The mission statement may sound like it is responding to recent events in American, but Lawn said it has a long history.
“We didn’t write this last week, or last year, we made this probably 10 years ago,” Lawn said.
The support for the Watertown Police, Petitto Devaney, also goes back years.
“We supported you before, we supported you when you protected us from the terrorists in Watertown and we will continue to support you,” Petitto Devaney said.
At the end of the Father Kevin Seppe, the pastor for both St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart churches, led a prayer for police officers.