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LEWISTON – A solemn interfaith memorial service, which will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 400 Ridge St., will join police agencies from Western New York and Southern Ontario to honor the memories of those who have died in service.

The 17th annual event, which will be hosted by the Niagara Interfaith Chaplaincy, is part of Police Week, which runs from today through Saturday. It gives recognition to law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Officers also welcome the families of these fallen officers and the public. There is no charge to attend.

Lockport Police Chief Lawrence Eggert will give the keynote address. The host pastor will be the Rev. Diane M. Pike, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

“They say if you keep people’s memories alive in your heart, they will never die. I think that’s what this is all about. I think all of us remember all the people we have served with who have died in the line of duty. This is just a way to keep the memories of them alive – at least once a year,” Eggert said.

He said that officers find it is important to attend the event.

“It’s a good way to honor those who have gone before us,” Eggert said. “What’s nice about it is that a lot of the families of recently fallen officers attend, and you get to talk to them and make them feel like they are part of the family. It’s fellowship, support.”

Eggert has been a part of the Lockport Police Department for 34 years, beginning as a patrolman and advancing from narcotics detective to patrol lieutenant to captain and chief of detectives. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College.

He is also an instructor for the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy and is an adjunct professor in criminal justice at both Buffalo State and Erie Community College.

“Sometimes when you are having a bad day, you think about these officers who have lost their lives, and it really puts things back in perspective,” Eggert said. “I want to remind people that simple phrase we all use – to serve and protect – can be so costly.”

The service in Lewiston will feature the reading of the Roll of Honor, which is a roster of officers killed in the line of duty, and a presentation of wreaths by representatives from participating law enforcement agencies. Agency honor guard members will join area musicians in a rifle salute and a performance of taps.

Immediately following the service, a reception will be provided by the Niagara Falls Block Club Council in the church’s fellowship hall.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com