By Sheriff Rick Whitney
May 11, 2022
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 National Police Week. This year National Police week is May 11th-17th.
In celebration, 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.
2021 surpassed 202o as the deadliest year for law enforcement in U.S. history. 616 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, 564 men and 52 women, with an average age of 48, and average tour of duty of 18 years. Twenty-eight of these deaths were in New York State. So far in 2022 there have been 102 line of duty deaths, 92 men and 10 women, with an average age of 47, 4 in New York State.
Five officers have given their lives serving in Allegany County while protecting our citizens:
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.
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 promotes appreciation and respect for law enforcement, regardless of agency affiliation.
I urge all our citizens to show their support and let a deputy, trooper, police officer, conservation officer or corrections officer know just how much their work means to you.