Fallen Ithaca police investigator honored

Published 05/02 2014 05:49PM

Updated 05/02 2014 07:15PM

Ithaca (WSYR-TV) – 18 years after his death, Investigator Mike Padula remains the only Ithaca police officer to die in the line of duty during an adversarial event.

Friday, men and women in uniform from around the area, including many current and former Ithaca police officers, gathered to honor his memory.

A sign will now mark the incident that happened at an otherwise non-descript spot in downtown Ithaca, on West State Street.

The fallen officer’s son, Michael Padula, said, “I think its nice that the community as a whole continues to revisit what happened every now and again, just to remind them of the nature of our world and our life."

Michael's father, an Ithaca police investigator, was killed when he was stabbed in the neck by an emotionally disturbed woman.

She had unexpectedly come out from her apartment bathroom where she had barricaded herself.

It happened November 17, 1996, a day that those close to Mike say will stay with them forever.

“It seems like a long time ago but it’s also very fresh. It doesn't really go away over time. Seeing all his old friends that I knew when I was a kid, it’s always emotional and difficult,” Michael Padula said.

Retired Ithaca Police Investigator Brian Robison said, “This is what, 17 years later? This is the first time I've ever been back here. Why? I want to remember him for what he was, not in death.”

Ithaca Police Chief John Barber said, "We all know the dangers associated with this job but when it happens to one of your own in your agency it really strikes close to home and it's a day I will never forget."

Barber says the sign will ensure Mike Padula and his sacrifice are never forgotten.

The sign was installed by the non-profit Badge of Honor Association, which is dedicated to honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in western and central New York.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.