While most Shelton residents were snug at home this Christmas, a group of the city's police officers offered to spend the day in Newtown, giving their patrolmen -- who have been working round the clock to guard Sandy Hook Elementary School -- a much-needed day off to be with family.
"It was very important for me to do that," said Shelton's police chief Joel Hurliman. "It being the the spirit of Christmas and all, and it's such a tragedy that I felt we should help out."
Hurliman said police needed the most help with directing traffic for the hundreds of visitors who stopped by to offer condolences, and to guard the school itself. The state police still need to conduct a reenactment and therefore the scene must be as untouched as possible.
"They don’t want anybody going in and taking souvenirs. People do strange things," he said.
Hurliman said he thinks Newtown officers will be able to get back to a more normal schedule once vehicular and pedestrian traffic thins out.
"On Christmas day people were still putting still memorials out. Traffic was backed up pretty bad and there were a lot of people walking. Once they get that reorganized things will start to get back to normal -- as normal as they can be under the circumstances."
Hurliman also met with some of the Newtown families.
"We were also there to provide support and comfort to the families. I met with some of them. It was a tough duty but it had to be done and we were honored to do it," he said.
As for missing his own family on Christmas day, Hurliman said he "felt good" helping Newtown, even if it didn't put him in the most festive mood.
"It was important for them to have a day off," he said. "I would do it all over, but hopefully I don’t have to."