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East Hartford prepares to host fallen Bristol police officers’ funeral

A joint funeral service will be held at Rentschler Field at Pratt and Whitney Stadium Friday for Sgt. Dustin DeMonte and Officer Alex Hamzy.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — A joint funeral service will be held Friday at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford for fallen Bristol police officers Sergeant Dustin DeMonte and Officer Alex Hamzy who were killed in the line of duty Wednesday.

The town of East Hartford is preparing to host the thousands who will attend to pay their respects. The police department met Tuesday to discuss the logistics of it. Officer Marc Caruso said they will handle it like a stadium event.

"We’re expecting a large amount of people. Lots of civilians we're expecting in the public to attend as well as many police officers across the state and surrounding states I’m sure," he said. 

RELATED: Bristol Police Department receives help from Conn. law enforcement agencies

He said they're expecting traffic from 7:30 in the morning until mid-afternoon. They anticipate backups on Silver Lane from Main Street over to the Manchester board, about a five-mile radius. Surrounding streets like Simmons Road and Roberts Street will also likely have slowdowns.

They are asking those who would like to attend to give time to travel and have patience on the road.

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"We’re going to have the intersections that are routinely staffed with police, will be staffed with police. Pedestrian crossing areas will be staffed by police," he said. "Whenever we can play a role in helping out or hosting something of this magnitude, and we’re very thankful that we have the capabilities in this town to do that. And then we have Rentschler Field that’s geographically centrally located for Connecticut. We’re very fortunate to be in a position to help."

Bristol Police Officer Conor Hogan says he has been preparing for the service and practicing to be a pallbearer.

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"It’s going to be a beautiful send-off for those guys and their families. We’re going to make sure they’re honored in the way that they should be," he said.

Some local hotels tell FOX61 they are seeing rooms book higher than normal for this October week. East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh says they anticipate up to 50,000 people to enter the town Friday.

He said, of the 120 officers, 20 will be working the event, 20 will be on normal patrol duties, and the remaining 80 will likely attend the service.

"I think we all look to each other for support, and we also look for a way to help out," Officer Caruso said.

They do not anticipate road closures but said that will happen when the fallen officers and their families come and go from the stadium. The timing of that is not determined as of yet.

A wake will be held Wednesday morning for Officer Hamzy in Bristol at nine. State Police say Route 6 from North Main Street to Route 72 in Terryville will be closed. They are asking those who attend to not park on local roads but instead at the fair grounds and use the provided bus service. They say it will not impact bus services for school nor parent pickup. They ask Eli Terry Middle School families to notify police when arriving. A private wake will be held for Sgt. DeMonte.

The Friday funeral will be a joint effort between State Police and other Connecticut agencies. Caruso said they are not ruling out the possibility of exceeding the 40,000-seat capacity at the stadium. However, he said it's unlikely people will have to be turned away.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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