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A memorial for Patrick Maher

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

On a sun-drenched morning, more than 100 people stood in front of Federal Way City Hall to see the unveiling Tuesday of a memorial for the city's lone officer to be killed on duty.

On the same date as the ceremony –– Aug. 2 –– Patrick Maher was killed in 2003 while struggling to subdue a man who had been fighting with his brother. The man, Jason Roberts, managed to grab Maher's sidearm from its holster and shoot the officer, according to authorities.

Maher had been working for Federal Way Police since January of that year, but he had a career that started in the Coast Guard and the Honolulu, Hawaii Police Department.

The two-foot-tall memorial is a basalt boulder in front of City Hall. The top is flat, with the outline of the Federal Way Police Department's badge carved into the surface and painted flat black. In the center of the silhouette is Maher's badge underneath a clear cover made of lucite.

When it is dark outside, a light will shine behind the badge. Maher's name and last date of service are also carved into the top and painted gold.

Renee Maher said the memorial didn't bring up memories of her husband, but seeing all the people attending Tuesday's ceremony did resurrect images of the gathering at the first anniversary of her husband's death and his memorial service.

It's good that people still remember, she said.

Members of Maher's family and friends were at the ceremony.

Also present were officers from several police departments, including Des Moines, Kent, Tacoma, Federal Way and the Federal Protective Service, plus representatives of Federal Way Fire Department. Many city officials and citizens attended, too.

Federal Way Police chief Anne Kirkpatrick remembered the statues of lions at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The statues convey strength, courage and valor, and "officer Maher lived out these principals," she said.

Three years after Patrick Maher's death, his widow said she stills lives day-to-day, raising her 7-year-old son. The officer is also survived by two grown children.

Unexpected circumstances, such as innocent questions from her son about his father or a remark at a meeting, can bring back memories and emotions, Renee Maher said.

"For me, everyday is Aug. 2 because he is gone," she said.

A police training room at City Hall is named after the slain officer. There was an effort earlier this year to name a new middle school being built in Federal Way, but the School Board selected another option.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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