Nearly eighteen years ago, Investigator Michael A. Padula was killed in the line of duty when he and fellow Ithaca Police Department officers responded to reports of a disturbed woman in Ithaca's west end. This Friday, Padula will be remembered in a ceremony dedicating a sign in his memory.
Investigator Michael A. Padula, killed in the line of duty in 1996. Photo courtesy of IPD.As Padula tried to convince her to drop a knife, the woman, Deborah Stagg, rushed out of her apartment and stabbed Padula in the neck. She was shot by another officer. The double deaths in November, 1996 rocked the community and sparked a drive for community policing that put an increased emphasis on understanding the needs of the mentally ill. Hundreds of police officers and firefighters from around New York State, Governor George Pataki, and hundreds of community members attended the funeral for the slain officer at St. Catherine of Siena Church.
On Friday, May 2nd, Ithaca police officers will join members of the Badge of Honor Association in dedicating a sign at the site of Padula's death. The community is invited to the 10am ceremony at 514 West State Street. Police chief John R. Barber hopes "a large contingency of officers from the region" will attend.
Padula, whose nickname was "Pud," has also been honored by the annual Pud's Run, a memorial race that raises money for a scholarship fund in Padula's memory that helps fund the education of local students who hope to pursue a criminal justice or law enforcement education.
The 18-year veteran of IPD will be just the latest police officer killed in the line of duty to be recognized by the Badge of Honor Association, founded in 2007 to recognize active law enforcement officers and other first responders, and to commemorate the fallen. The organization is in the middle of a two-month tour across Western and Central New York to honor 75 fallen officers in Buffalo, Syracuse, Niagara Falls, and Lyons, among other locations. Upcoming stops include Batavia, Canandaigua, and Oneida.