Both Nassau and Suffolk police officers traveled to Dallas to attend the funerals of the five officers assassinated by a lone gunman as they worked a peaceful protest last week, department officials said.
Lou Tutone, first vice president of the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association, said Thursday that 25 officers — an especially large contingent — are in Dallas for the funerals. Most paid their own ways to Dallas, though some got complimentary flights from airlines, Tutone said. The PBA is picking up lodging costs.
“I’m very proud of my members, that they saw the importance and the need to be in Dallas to mourn with our brothers and sisters from all over the country,” said Tutone, who said the officers came from various commands, including Marine, Aviation and the precincts.
Tutone said he and the officers had laid the department’s patch on a huge memorial to the slain cops.
“It is very sad,” Tutone said. “But it is also very uplifting. The people down here have been extremely, extremely welcoming. The people respect and appreciate the work that police officers do.”
The killings of the officers came at the end of a nonviolent protest in downtown Dallas calling attention to a pair of separate police-involved shootings, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, days earlier that ended with the deaths of two black men.
The five slain officers are Dallas police Officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith and Patrick Zamarripa, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson.
The suspected killer, Micah Johnson, an Army veteran, was killed by explosives in a standoff with police.
Four officers from the Nassau County Police Department’s Honor Guard attended the first funeral Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The travel and lodging costs were paid by the department’s three police unions — Police Benevolent Association, Superior Officers Association and Detectives Association Inc., officials said.
Nassau Sgt. Bryan Carbone, a patrol supervisor in the area now designated the Second Precinct South out of Levittown, said he and the other officers — Det. Garland Moore, commanding officer of the Honor Guard and a pilot in the Aviation Unit; Officer Charles Lepper, also an aviation pilot; and Officer Michael Walker, of the Fourth Precinct — attended Lorne’s funeral Wednesday and will stay in Dallas through Saturday to attend the others.
“It’s definitely an honor to represent the department down here,” said Carbone. “Attending the first funeral down here was definitely an emotional time, seeing officers from departments all over the country — New Mexico to California, New Jersey, Colorado — to be part of that is an honor, but also a very emotional event. Hearing testimony from his co-workers, his pastor and to see his family there, his wife and his children, it’s definitely emotional.”
Carbone said the Nassau officers got a tour of the Dallas police headquarters building and got “a lot of appreciation to us and the others who have come from far away to show their support.”
“It’s important to show your support,” said Carbone. “We’re a tight-knit group, the law enforcement community nationwide. Wherever you go, if you’re a police officer and you meet another police officer, they’re your brother or sister. To whatever extent we can lend some comfort or support to the family, that’s what we’re here to do.”
Nassau Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in a statement the department and county officials were “proud and honored” to have officers present in Dallas. “Police Officers are a family and our members have traveled approximately 1,600 miles to show their solidarity with our brothers from Dallas.”