May 20—WILKES-BARRE — On a breezy day with sunshine flitting behind clouds, Wilkes-Barre city officials, police and others marked Law Enforcement Memorial Week with a service Friday that included commemorating eight city police department members who passed away.
As family members sat outside Police headquarters, Police Captain Michael Boyle and Mayor George Brown offered opening remarks praising the work of officers past and present. The city Police Honor Guard made a solemn presentation of the colors, and Rev. J. Duane Gavitt offered an invocation reminding that “Police stand between good and evil,” and urging to “never forget all those who served in our police department.
Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce served as guest speaker, and opted to offer some famous observations credited to famous radio personality Paul Harvey.
“What is a policeman made of? He, of all men, is once the most needed and the most unwanted. He’s a strangely nameless creature who is ‘sir’ to his face and ‘fuzz’ to his back.
“He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won. But if the policeman is neat, he’s conceited; if he’s careless, he’s a bum. If he’s pleasant, he’s flirting; if not, he’s a grouch.
“He must make an instant decision which would require months for a lawyer to make.
“But if he hurries, he’s careless; if he’s deliberate, he’s lazy. He must be first to an accident and infallible with his diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or expect to be sued. …
“The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman. And, of course, he’d have to be genius. For he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.”
The names of the members who passed away were read out. A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” and a wreath was set in front of the monument that permanently stands outside the Police building. Then the family members of those being commemorated were given individual roses, and a few hugs.
The eight Wilkes-Barre Police Department members who have passed away: Sgt. Edward Grenevicki, Ptlm. Arthur Kemmerer, Capt. William Maguire, Ptlm. Robert Ripski, Ptlm. Donald Smith, Lt. Robert Sudnick, Ptlm. Richard White, and Sgt. Christopher Mortenson.
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Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish