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.