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Farewell officer Maher

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

Federal Way Police Officer Patrick Maher has been called many things in the past week.

He’s been called a man of honor, a hero, a champion and a warrior by mourners who have left their stories and sympathies at a memorial near the site where Maher, 46, was fatally shot last Saturday.

But his sister, Theresa Maher, who officiated at the memorial service Thursday for her brother, said he also should be remembered as a holy man who died protecting the freedom and safety of others.

“Who else would do such a thing?” she said. “Add another name to him.”

Hundreds of police officers from Federal Way and other law enforcement agencies filled the Christian Faith Center sanctuary Thursday afternoon for a formal military-style service.

Maher’s wife, Renee, and his children, Amanda, 24, Nathan, 26, and his step-son Nicholas, 5, sat in the front rows of the sanctuary, flanked by police officers and friends.

Federal Way Chief of Police Ann Kirkpatrick said Maher was one of the best of the best applicants who made it into the department.

“I love cops who are confident, but not cocky, who are people-based, not power-based,” she said. “On Dec. 4, in walked that smile. I liked that. He wore a navy suit. I liked that. He was polite, confident and gentle-spirited. I liked that.”

On Jan. 13 this year, Maher had his first day at work.

One day in the room where officers write their reports, Kirkpatrick noticed Maher seemed a little down. She pulled him aside and gave him a pep talk and told him to get back up. A couple days later, he was all smiles again. She caught his eye, gave him a thumbs up and mouthed, “Way to go.”

Last Saturday, she said, Maher fell struggling with Jason Scott Roberts, the man accused of shooting him. He got up and, when Roberts fled, he gave chase. He fell again struggling with Roberts and got up again.

His heart stopped three times after he was shot, Kirkpatrick said, but each time, he got back up. The fourth time his heart stopped, “he got up one last time, never to be knocked down again,” she said through tears.

“Patrick Maher, catch my eye one more time,” Kirkpatrick said. “I have something to say to you. Way to go. You’re a winner. And I’m proud of you.”

She gave his wife, Renee, the medal of valor awarded to him for his courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.

Renee Maher asked those gathered at Christian Faith Center that when they remember Maher, “do it with a smile on your face, a full heart and joy in your soul.”

She recalled the little things, like his fear of heights and his love of IHOP, that made him dear to those he knew. IHOP held a special spot for him because of the comfortable booths, the variety of syrups and a whole pot of coffee, she said.

He had an Irish sense of humor and loved to laugh.

“To the state of Washington, I give my husband,” Renee Maher said.

Officer Miguel Monico, who trained Maher when he transferred to Federal Way, said Maher would have wanted nothing more than to see his family, friends and colleagues get up, brush themselves off and move on to the next mission.

He recalled the gleam of passion in his eyes when he described the police work he’s done in the past — a record that has included a 5.5-ton cocaine bust and pulling a suicidal person from the top of a high-rise building, despite his fear of heights.

“We must not let that gleam fade,” Monico said. “Next time I get a squeaky-boot cadet from the academy who thinks he knows everything there is to know about being a good cop, I’m going to take him out, buy him a cup of coffee and tell him all about my friend Patrick Maher.”

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