Officers gather to show solidarity, receive solace
Web posted at: 10:05 p.m. EDT (0205 GMT)
From Correspondent Mark Potter
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- This week, law enforcement officers came from as far away as California, Minnesota, Florida and Canada to honor slain U.S. Capitol police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson and to comfort their families.
And many of the officers found they were hurting as well.
"We in law enforcement feel the brotherhood," said sheriff's Deputy Thomas Hansen of Jefferson County, West Virginia. "[We] needed to show that we were all together and we were all hurting at the same time."
"We had to come," said Sgt. Peter Albano of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Department. "We have to share this. It's something that we all feel."
One after another, officers have described the powerful feeling of solidarity in the law enforcement community -- and the powerful comfort they found in the outpouring of concern.
"I just can't imagine, if this had happened to my family, how good it would make me feel to know that my family could see this just tremendous amount of national support," said investigator Stanley Slovik of the Cornell University Police.
The officers also talked about how much it meant that so many citizens lined funeral motorcade routes, showing that they care and appreciate the sacrifices made by law enforcement officers.
"I will be telling this story for years to come -- the funeral procession with the civilian people lined up along the roadways and sidewalks," said Officer Tom Cody of the Cook County, Illinois, sheriff's police. "It was just awesome. It was just phenomenal."
This year alone, 94 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty -- 20 percent more than at this time last year.
"It seems like every day, police officers are dying, and it doesn't get the attention that it should," said Patrolman Don Knowles of the New Providence, New Jersey, Police Department. "And these two officers kind of brought together all the attention all the fallen officers should have gotten."
The evocative sound of bagpipes at police funerals is a long and mournful tradition. They played for Chestnut and for Gibson, who had told his family that if he died in the line of duty, the pipes should play for him.
For members of the Capitol Police, who buried two of their own this week, the flood of support is not only something they have been able to see and hear. It is also something they have been able to feel -- through the presence of the officers who made sure they were there.
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