Vigil to remember late Craig Lehner tonight

Vigil begins at 6 p.m. at Broderick Park

Mike Baggerman
October 17, 2018 - 3:00 am

A memorial for Officer Craig Lehner at Unity Island (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association organized a vigil tonight for the late Buffalo Police Officer Craig Lehner.

Lehner, 34, died on October 13, 2017 during a training mission for the department's underwater rescue team. While training in the Niagara River that afternoon, his tether was lodged under a boulder and snapped. The current swept away his air and the officer drowned. 

"I know that the PBA has put a considerable amount of time planning this," Buffalo Police Captain Jeffrey Rinaldo said. "I think that you will see a large presence not only from police officers but from the community, which we saw last year around this time."

Rinaldo said the department is still reliving the events from last year but noted that this vigil is meant to honor Lehner and his family. 

"People call the police and we show up at your door," Rinaldo said. "A lot of people don't think about what goes into the responsibilities and the sacrifices that the men and women of not only the Buffalo Police Department but every police department makes. You go to work one way, you may not come home. Whether it's on a traffic stop, chasing a bad guy with a gun, or training in high-risk situations. There's always that risk and it's a risk that police officers freely accept."

Wednesday night's vigil goes from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Broderick Park, the location where Lehner went missing. A memorial along the railing to the Niagara River has been there since the Lehner tragedy a year ago. 

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