NEW BEDFORD — In memory of a fallen police officer who was native to the Whaling City, this year's National Night Out in New Bedford featured special guests on Tuesday night.

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson spoke alongside the parents of slain Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon about the importance of ending negative stereotypes and perceptions that surround law enforcement officers.  Frederickson also spoke about the life of Sergeant Gannon, a New Bedford native, and his dedication to serving the Town of Yarmouth.

“I don’t really feel right to be here, however, Sean, a New Bedford native, was given to us in Yarmouth,” Chief Frederickson said.  “He communicated with the public at events like these, and just one year ago today he was doing a canine demo down in South Yarmouth in our own National Night Out. So, I need to thank you for giving us Sean.”

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Patrick and Denise Gannon, the parents of Sergeant Gannon, also attended the event, and joined Frederickson on stage to speak about the memory of their late son.  Patrick Gannon addressed the crowd first, explaining his son’s passion for connecting with the public that he served through demonstrations with his canine partners, Canine Officer Thor and Canine Officer Nero. Before handing the microphone to Chief Frederickson, the elder Gannon called on the crowd to thank first responders for the work that they do.

“As you go around tonight and you meet some of our first responders who are here tonight remember that the work they do every single day is not just a job, it’s a calling for them.  It’s a vocation to help other people, and every day when they go out on a call and they have a call on their shift they put their own lives at risk for the rest of us,” said Gannon. ”So, as you go around and meet them tonight it’d be great to give them a big thank you for all they do every day to help the City of New Bedford to be safe, whether it’s Police, Fire, or first responders of any type.”

Police shootings have become more frequent in Massachusetts over the course of 2018. Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon was the first of two police officers killed in the line of duty this year.

Sergeant Gannon was shot and killed in the line of duty while serving an arrest warrant to an individual with a violent and lengthy criminal history. Gannon was gunned down by Thomas Latanowich, who was just 29-years-old and had well over 100 prior offenses before shooting Gannon in April.

In July, Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna was fatally shot ten times in the face and chest by 20-year-old Emanuel Lopes, who is well-known by Weymouth Police for prior and reportedly physical confrontations with authorities. Lopes also shot 77-year-old Vera Adams while running down the street after shooting Chesna.

Also in July, two Falmouth Police Officers survived gunshot wounds while responding to a disturbance in the town. Officers Donald DeMiranda and Officer Ryan Moore were shot in the neck and chest area by 21-year-old East Falmouth resident Malik Antonio Koval while in a shootout with the suspect.

New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque joined Chief Frederickson on stage with representatives from other state and local police forces.

“It’s hard to describe the heartbreak that we still feel, but however, guided by the strength of Sean’s parents, together we’re going to make a difference that Sean would want us to,” said Chief Frederickson. “To see the beautiful people here in New Bedford, coming out here and engaging and seeing the officers of the departments of New Bedford and Dartmouth to be here doing this is exactly what we need to do in spite of our tragedy. To remember Sean in this way I am grateful, and thank you New Bedford for allowing us to have Sean.”

New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro announced the plans for a memorial playground at Campbell Elementary School in honor of Sergeant Sean Gannon. Donations can be made through a Facebook page setup for the effort, entitled The Sgt. Sean Gannon Memorial Playground at Campbell Elementary School. 

National Night Out is a nationwide and annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in an effort to build positive relationships between law enforcement officers and citizens.

New Bedford’s 2018 National Night Out was sponsored by Neighborhoods United, an organization of 12 New Bedford neighborhoods, associations, and crime watch groups that are committed to the betterment of the community.

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