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Sheriff Rick Whitney: It Is National Police Week

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May 10, 2021

In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that day falls as Police Week. In celebration of National Police Week, I’d like to encourage everyone to take the time to recognize our local law enforcement officers. These officers face many unknown risks and challenges and their sacrifice and service is often taken for granted.

Last year in the United States, 128 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, with another 234 who lost their lives after contracting COVID 19 while performing their duties. That’s a total of 362 lives lost. 233 men and 29 women, with an average age of 49, and average tour of duty of 18 years. Twenty-one of these deaths were in New York State. So far in 2021 there have been 119 line of duty deaths, 109 men and 10 women, with an average age of 50.

A total of five officers have given their lives while serving and protecting the citizens of Allegany County.

Constable Norman Chalker was shot and beaten to death in the Town of Belfast on April 20, 1910.

New York State Troopers Robert Roy and Arnold Rasmussen were shot and killed in the Town of Caneadea on September 27, 1927 while trying to serve a warrant for Pettit Larceny that involved the theft of $6.48 worth of auto parts.

Allegany County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek P. Ward died on July 3, 2004 from injuries sustained the previous day when his patrol car was struck by another vehicle and

Corrections Officer Daniel J. Barkley died of a heart attack, July 14, 2013, while on duty at the Allegany County Jail.

These men made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the citizens of Allegany County. Our Memorial at the Public Safety Facility reminds all who visit there of the sacrifices made on our behalf, it honors the survivors of those who made that ultimate sacrifice and will promote appreciation and respect for law enforcement, regardless of agency affiliation.

In closing, I urge you to show your support and let a deputy, trooper, police officer, conservation officer or corrections officer know just how much their work means to you.

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