The first night watch for the Rochester Police Department was formed on December 28, 1819. 200 years later, the department's mission remains the same mission to serve and protect the people.
"Although police service has progressed with time and technology, it always circles back to one simple word, dedication," said Interim RPD Chief Mark Simmons.
The unveiling of a restored statue of an eagle kicked off the start of the Rochester Police Department's bicentennial celebration. The eagle is one of the oldest artifacts that once sat atop a police precinct on Bronson Avenue, which is now known as Dr. Samuel McCree Way.
A special bicentennial committee has come up with a series of events to mark the milestone creating several commemorative items, including special anniversary badges for its officers.
The committee is also paying tribute to more than a dozen fallen officers from the department. Local artist Carol Culhane rendered a memorial poster honoring some 15 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
"This is the first time that I've ever drawn a police officer who gave his life in service, and there's fifteen, so it was very, very emotional," said Culhane, daughter of a former RPD officer.
"The committee wanted to make sure that you had your father's badge," said Former Capt. Lynde Johnston.
There will be several fundraisers held throughout 2019 and proceeds from those events will go to the Special Olympics of New York.
"It goes to help our local athletes train and compete in 23 Olympic style sports year round," said Luke Folts from Special Olympics New York.
As the Rochester Police Department preserves the milestones and memories, Spectrum News will share the stories of those fallen police officers in an ongoing series of reports throughout 2019.