WEST HARTFORD -- Whether it’s in a church, a temple or a synagogue, mass shootings in places of worship create immediate fear for all religious communities.
And when that happens, local police must reach out to the faith communities and bring calm. West Hartford has a large, vibrant and proud Jewish community. They are a large part of West Hartford’s fabric. When this community was hurt over the weekend, West Hartford Police did not waste anytime responding.
Chief Vernon Reddick of the West Hartford Police Department was asked about hearing the news on Saturday.
“My heart hurt, it was broken, and sadness. I can’t say that I was shocked, unfortunately, given the turn of events in today’s world. But deeply concerned that people went to a house of worship and were slaughtered.”
Saturday morning, with the community in shock, West Hartford Police Department, moving quickly, blanketed the towns Jewish institutions.
“Immediately we had directed patrol assignments. We got in contact with our point of contact. Who hired private duty officers, to ensure ongoing protections we will continue that till at least throughout this week," said Chief Reddick.
Retiring president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Howard Sovronsky, was devastated by the attack on the Jewish Community.
“You know we greet each other on the Sabbath, as Shabbat shalom. Having a peaceful sabbath. And that piece was just disintegrated this past weekend. And I think people are worried that if it can happen in Pittsburgh it could certainly happen here.”
Recognizing the importance of protecting his community, Sovronsky immediately reached out to the West Hartford Police Department.
“Actually, the first thing I did upon hearing the news was, I called the West Hartford Police Department. They assured me they were all on top of it, they got the news, they had already alerted patrol, and the police were already providing additional coverage and patrols around all of our Jewish institutions in West Hartford. And it was just a tremendous comfort for me to know once again the West Hartford Police really did respond in an incredibly positive way to our Jewish community.”
When these mass shootings occur, regardless of where, police will usually provide extra patrols, not because they are aware of a specific threat, but to bring comfort and calm to those who are hurting and scared.