Shooting bonds police community
NASHUA - Last week's shooting of a Manchester police officer has affected communities beyond the Queen City.
Nashua police say they are saddened and angry that a fellow officer in blue has been injured. A Merrimack official notes frustration, as well. And Laconia's chief says the incident is an example of the risk all police officers take.
'Certainly there is some sadness. I mean, here we go again,' said Nashua Police Chief John Seusing, referring to the 2006 shooting death of Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs.
The Manchester Police Department has already suffered a great loss, and now it is dealing with another tragedy, said Seusing, adding he is pleased to hear injured Manchester Officer Daniel Doherty is holding his own.
'It angers everyone that there are people out there on the street with no respect whatsoever for authority, and certainly police officers,' said Seusing, adding the alleged shooter, Myles Webster of Litchfield, apparently didn't even think twice about shooting.
'It angers the officers as it does most citizens, and they should be angry. Our officers face this every day,' he said.
Many Nashua police officers have close ties with patrolmen in Manchester because the two forces work closely together on many initiatives, according to Seusing. He said the Nashua department was quickly informed of Doherty's injuries, and personnel there were fast to respond with thoughts and prayers.
Seusing said he immediately called Manchester Police Chief David Mara to express his concern and offer any assistance.
'It certainly makes our officers more aware of the dangers associated with this job. They go out there every day, and fortunately for most, they end their shift and they are OK. But every officer knows these types of tragic events can occur,' Seusing said. 'Because of this, our men and women are even more aware of their surroundings.'
Despite the anger and the sadness, morale has not faded at the Nashua Police Department; rather, the shooting has fostered teamwork and brotherhood among officers, said the chief.
Police officials in Merrimack agree.
'I think our officers are obviously, first and foremost, concerned for the Manchester officer involved,' said Capt. Peter Albert, adding that a card expressing hopes for a speedy recovery was signed by many members of the Merrimack Police Department and mailed to the Manchester force.
Albert said the bond is strong among police officers, and unfortunate incidents such as this can sometimes bring out the best in officers.
'There are police officers in different areas of the state and country trying to come together to support this man,' Albert said.
The shooting of another police officer - even if he or she isn't in the same department - can really heighten a fellow officer's awareness of various dangers and serve as a lesson to remain cautious at all times, said Albert.
'There is just a whole level of frustration when an officer gets hurt in the line of duty,' he said. 'This is another reminder of the unknown dangers an officer faces on calls.'
Albert said the Manchester shooting is another sign that 'our area, our region of New Hampshire and New England, is growing up even more, and it isn't necessarily a positive side.'
Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams has never met Doherty; an hour's drive separates the communities each is sworn to protect and serve.
But when Adams first heard about the shooting, he had the same reaction he would have had if one of his own officers had been gunned down.
'You feel that way any time it happens in the line of duty, but especially to someone here in New Hampshire,' said Adams. 'You feel for him, his family. It's a bond that police officers have, no matter what department they are in. I think it's the same with firefighters and those in the military - any profession where you put your life on the line as part of the job.'
Staff reporter Paul Feely contributed to this story.