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Police appreciation event set for Friday in Lowville

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LOWVILLE — A second-annual police appreciation ceremony will be held here Friday.

“We certainly encourage everyone in the community to come and pay tribute and honor your neighbors and friends,” said Lewis County District Attorney Leanne K. Moser.

The event, slated for 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Lowville Academy and Central School on North State Street, will include several speakers, including two Lewis County sixth-graders who will read their winning entries in a police-appreciation essay contest.

Two Central New York officers and a Western New York police dog who all died in the line of duty will be honored at the event. Oneida County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kurt Wyman was killed in an armed standoff last June, while Trooper Craig Todeschini died in April 2006 of injuries suffered when his police SUV slammed into a tree as he pursued a speeding motorcyclist in Onondaga County. And K9 Rocky, a police dog for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, in December fell off a vacant building during a search for burglary suspects.

“That brings it very close to home and reminds us of really the ultimate sacrifice that can be made,” Ms. Moser said. “We can’t forget that. And we can’t forget the danger they face every day.”

Members of the Wyman and Todeschini families plan to be in attendance Friday night, according to Beth A. Monnat, one of the event organizers.

The event is held in conjunction with National Police Week. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.

Mrs. Monnat, the wife of Lewis County Undersheriff James M. Monnat, said last year’s inaugural event stemmed from a discussion among some local police wives about the thankless nature of their husbands’ jobs.

After learning of Police Week, they decided to initiate a celebration here, she said.

“When we checked into it, we found other areas celebrated the event in huge ways,” Mrs. Monnat said. However, the north country was devoid of such events, she said.

Many area residents are displaying blue lights and ribbons this week as part of a Project Blue Light campaign started in 1989 to correspond with Police Week, Mrs. Monnat said.

“People are being very creative in bringing blue into their neighborhoods,” she said.

More than 100 people attended last year’s ceremony, and organizers expect a larger turnout this year.

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