NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – The memories of six officers from the Niagara Falls Police Department who died in the line of duty will live on, thanks to a special dedication Friday.
Six signs, each bearing one of the officers’ names, will now permanently stand in Niagara Falls. These signs are a gift from the Badge of Honor Association, a group started by Rochester Police officers in 2007 to remember the sacrifices of their fallen comrades across Western New York, and raise money for their surviving family members.
“We’re all familiar with sacrifice in our lives, especially the sacrifices we make for our children and our other loved ones,” said Niagara Falls Police Deputy Superintendent Carlton Cain. “But there is that ultimate sacrifice that hurts forever, and that is the sacrifice when you give up your life because of the altruism in your heart to help your fellow man. And I don’t think you could be more American than that.”‘
The first of these six officers was killed in 1865; the last, in 1941. No one at Friday’s dedication ceremony knew them personally. Some never even knew of them, before now.
“I’ve been on 25 years. And we still have a person that’s been on 40 years. We didn’t know this history in our past,” said Deputy Superintendent Cain. “And sometimes you can get lazy. Sometime[s], you forget where you came from. And this was a great lesson for us.”
Bonnie Trunzo never knew her great-grandfather. He was the last Niagara Falls Police officer to give his life on the job, more than 70 years ago.
“It’s very humbling, to know that he’s not forgotten, for what he did for the community,” she said, standing next to his sign.
“Law enforcement are faced with some incredible situations, life-changing. And it not only affects them as people, but their families,” said Rochester Police Sgt. Justin Collins, president and a founding member the Badge of Honor Association. “So this brotherhood and this sisterhood is so important to continue.”
“It makes you appreciate every breath you take, just a little bit more,” Cain said.
Friday’s sign dedication is the start a two-month long tribute to honor 75 fallen officers. It will also include stops in Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, Lyons, Canandaigua, Batavia and Oneida.