Government Opinion Police/Fire

Op-Ed: West Hartford Police and Fire Personnel Are Real ‘Hometown Heroes’

The chiefs of West Hartford’s fire and police departments want to recognize the sworn and civilian members of their departments for their commitment and bravery.

By West Hartford Police Chief Vernon Riddick Jr. and West Hartford Fire Chief Greg Priest

As the chiefs of your police and fire departments we know that this pandemic has provided many opportunities and situations which warrant recognition across all occupations, whether conspicuous or behind the scenes, and we thank those individuals for their service. At this time, we want to recognize publicly the incredible sworn and civilian members of our respective departments. In the midst of the turmoil, fear, and anxiety of the pandemic – our personnel came to work every day. In the worst of times, we saw the best in our team.

Because of the nature of the positions that we hold, we are the voices and faces for our agencies. This results many times with the “Chief” getting credit for the amazing work that our members do.

We are humbled and very appreciative to be recognized by the Park Road Committee on its list of Hometown Heroes. However, our personnel deserve all the credit. They stood strong in the midst of the unrelenting storm of the pandemic – before vaccines were available, before anyone truly knew how the virus was transmitted, and before being equipped with all the tools necessary to work in a COVID-19 environment, and they performed with excellence.

While the world almost came to a complete halt, the public safety world lunged forward. To sustain operational continuity, records needed to be maintained, inspections needed to be completed, evidence logged and stored, and computers needed to operate at peak performance.

Our Emergency Reporting Center continued to field fire calls, medical calls, domestic calls, and numerous other types of calls for service. Our personnel risked their personal safety by rendering aid, knowingly and unknowingly, to individuals who were COVID positive. Their selfless acts underscore the significance of the oaths that they took in their respective departments to serve and protect our community.

Words cannot describe the amount of pride and appreciation we have for the sworn and civilian members of the West Hartford Fire and Police Departments, especially when we think of Hometown Heroes. They are among the bravest, the finest, and most committed people that our professions have to offer, and for that we say: Thank you!

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