Milford police captain recalls working 9/11

MILFORD – When two commercial jetliners slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Shawn Pel­letier was working a few miles uptown in Harlem’s 30th precinct.

The young New York City cop stopped into a firehouse and watched TV with grim-faced firefight­ers as the first building collapsed.

He remembers the shock and confusion as everyone tried to under­stand what was going on.

"When the second tower fell, I remember I asked if it were a replay," Pelle­tier said.

The worst mo­ments came when he and his partner listened on the police radio to of­ficers trapped in the buildings ask­ing for help, and there was no way for them to help. Eventually the ra­dio calls stopped.

He worked 18 hours that day and the following days he rotated between Ground Zero and his regular Harlem patrol.

"You don’t realize how big a crime scene" it was – "a few city blocks," he said.

A year later, Pel­letier, who is from Townsend, Mass., and received a bachelors degree from the John Jay College of Crimi­nal Justice in New York, was back in New England, working as a Milford po­lice officer. This summer he was promoted to cap­tain of the department’s support division.

During an interview at the Milford Police Station last week, Pelletier said he had missed New Eng­land, and when a friend let him know that Milford PD was hiring, he applied for the job of patrol offi­cer.

The job appealed to his athletic side – he was on the mountain bike patrol and was field training su­pervisor and overseer of the off-road vehicle and mountain bike units. on patrol for 17 years, so the support side is new and different," he said. "It will be a challenge."

As a patrol officer, he kept in touch with Mil­ford business owners, and said he hopes to maintain those contacts.

"I haven’t disappeared. I’m still available," he said.

Off duty, Pelletier spends time with his twin six-year-old daughters and likes to ski, hike and play hockey.

He replaces Capt. Chris Nervik, who retired this summer.

The position means he oversees the department’s detective and prosecu­tion divisions as well as the juvenile officer and the school resource of­ficer. Capt. Craig Frye is in charge of the depart­ment’s patrol operations.