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Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation Announces 2018 Awardees

The Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation has announced the 2018 Recipients of their Community Service Awards, which honors distinguished individuals for dedicated service and outstanding contributions to law enforcement. The awards will be presented on Thursday, May 17th at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens on Transit Road in Depew, starting at 6:00pm. The annual event is hosted and sponsored by the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, which is also celebrating their 31st year of establishment at this event.

The following individuals will be honored at this year’s event:

Officer Craig E. Lehner, Deceased – Buffalo Police Department. Through his heroic work on the Buffalo Police Department, along with the tragic accident that lead to his untimely passing, Officer Lehner is being honored for his service.

Detective Lieutenant Patrick McMaster – Orchard Park Police Department. Detective Lieutenant Patrick McMaster has served the Orchard Park community for over 25 years, and has lead the way for several homicide investigations and arrests.

Trooper John Moretti Jr. – New York State Police. Trooper Moretti Jr. is being awarded for his 34 years of service with the NYS Police, and work in special assignments, including Hurricane Irma Response, Hurricane Katrina Response, Flight 3407 Crash and Word Trade Center Response.

Detective Robert Bebak– West Seneca Police Department. Detective Bebak is being honored for his years of service with the West Seneca Police Department, along with his service to numerous associations, including serving 20 years with the West Seneca Police Benevolent Association.

Deputy Jeff Ely – Erie County Sherriff’s Office. Deputy Ely has a career spanning more than 27 year in law enforcement, and has played a pivotal role in the Crash Investigation Unit. On many occasions, he has been requested to assist other agencies in investigations and prosecutions for violations at the highest criminal level.

Officer David Zarbo – NFTA Transit Police Department. Officer Zarbo is being recognized for his leading efforts in addressing homelessness issues in and around the MTC, through a cooperative effort with the Matt Urban Hope Center’s homeless outreach program. He was one of the first offices with the NFTA Transit Police to be a crisis intervention trained (CIT) and has utilized this training on numerous occasions.

ADA Gary Hackbush – Erie County DA’s Office. Mr. Hackbush is the Chief of the Tactical Prosecution Unit for the Erie County DA’s office. His role focuses on gun related crimes as well as aggressively monitoring gang members. Prior to being Chief, Gary was a member of the Homicide Bureau where he prosecuted dozens of homicides throughout his career.

SAIC Lewis R. Robinson – U.S. Secret Service. Lewis Robinson was appointed the Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office in August, 2016. He has been serving with the U.S. Secret Service since 1992, and began his career in the Buffalo Field Office, and has held an exemplary 25+ year career.

Michael DiGiacomo, Esq. – United States Attorney’s Office. Mr. DiGiacomo joined the US Attorney’s office in 2002 after 10 years in private practice. He currently serves as the Chief of the White Collar and General Crimes Division. In this position, he oversees the prosecution of all computer intrusions, intellectual property, child exploitation, environmental and immigration cases. Mr. DiGiacomo is also a part-time instructor in the Criminal Justice Department at SUNY College at Buffalo.

Assistant Chief Jim Speyer – Cheektowaga Police Department. Assistant Chief Speyer has served 31 years with the Cheektowaga Police Department. He has served in many positions within the Department, as well as several associations. Some of these positions have included SWAT Team, Sniper Team Leader, Entry Team Leader, Commuity Service Unit, and the Accident Investigation Unit.

Congressman Chris Collins – United States Representative. Congressman Collins has a long career in both the public and private sector. Before being elected to Congress, he served as the Erie County Executive and built a career as a business owner and entrepreneur. Throughout his career, he has been a very strong supporter and advocate for Law Enforcment. Congressman Collins is being honored for this strong support, and dedication to the well being of those that work in this field.

Terry and Kim Pegula – Pegula Sports and Entertainment. Terry and Kim Pegula are being honored with the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation Community Service Award. Their love for this city, and strong desire for success has had a dramatic impact on the WNY community, and in turn, has been a great asset to the Law Enforcement community.

The Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit corporation that assists federal, state, and local law enforcement and investigative agencies by providing grants for special equipment and technical training, which may not be funded through their budgets. For more information, visit www.eclef.org.

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