The Allentown Police Department honored deceased officers today during a 30- minute ceremony outside City Hall.
The ceremony is part of National Police Week. The department was forced to postpone its annual commendation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Ray O’Connell told officers in attendance that he is very thankful for their service and they deserve recognition for “outstanding acts of valor, bravery and heroism.”
City Council President Daryl Hendricks on behalf of the mayor read a proclamation designating May 10-16 as Allentown Police Week.
FOP Vice President Sergeant Christopher Weiss said across the country some 69 officers have given their lives in the line of duty so far in 2020 including those who were victims of COVID-19.
Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new developments to members of the department. “I want you to imagine the many new rituals that our officers and their families have been accustomed to in order to ensure their health and continued service to our city. There are men and women changing in garages, sleeping in different rooms, and maintaining distance from their loved ones and children over the past month.”
A moment of silence was observed for retired officers who have passed including Retired Chief / Former City Council President David Howells Sr and retired Detective Sergeant Michael Pummer. Additionally, this year the department suffered the loss of active duty K9 Harley.
While all officers could not be individually honored today, Granitz introduced 10-year-old Jocyan Velez and his mother, Tayanna, who personally thanked Officer Chad Mertz for his rescue of the drowning child and for administering CPR seven years ago in the Jordan Creek. Granitz said that according to Jocyan’s building principal, he is one of the most helpful students in the school.
Granitz Jr. said 78 officers were honored with commendations over the past year.
A complete video list of department and civilian awards, donations to the department and school safety patrol honorees will be available tonight on the department’s Facebook page. Video of this morning’s ceremony is already available.