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Please remember Officer Patrick Maher | Letters
August 2 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Federal Way Police Officer Patrick Maher.
Much of Federal Way is a transitory community. People move here and then move on within a few years. But for those who were here 10 years ago on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2003, I hope you will take a few moments to remember an officer who gave his life in service to this community.
Instead of focusing on the tragic way in which Patrick was killed, I hope you’ll focus on a few memories of Patrick that I’d like to share.
Before serving the citizens of Federal Way, Patrick served our country for 20 years in the Coast Guard. Instead of focusing on achieving rank, he chose to become a Special Agent. He was involved in international drug interdictions off the East Coast, and he worked undercover to bring down organized crime. Patrick spent a lot of time in the World Trade Center, so 9/11 hit him extremely hard.
He served the people of Honolulu for over seven years with the Honolulu Police Department after he left the Coast Guard. He was about to be promoted to sergeant when he chose to transfer to Federal Way to become part of a new and growing department.
Patrick was a kind and protective man. He opened doors for women, said “Yes sir” and “No sir” to show respect, and had a very low tolerance for drivers who blew through crosswalks in front of “moms with kids and strollers,” as he put it.
I know once when he was running errands, he came across a woman and several children walking along a busy highway after their car broke down. Patrick identified himself as a police officer, showed his badge, got them in his car, and drove them to a safe area where they waited for a family member to arrive. He’d buy food for the homeless people he got to know. He got to know their stories.
But Patrick wasn’t without his faults. I’d come home after working all day as a Honolulu prosecutor and find that instead of relaxing on his rare day off, Patrick had cleaned the whole house and done all of the laundry. How could a sane man love doing laundry, vacuuming and cleaning the house? I always wondered about that.
I still have vivid memories of so many people who lined the 11-mile procession up Pacific Highway to honor Patrick. And I remember putting my hand on the darkened window of the limo as we slowly drove by the crossed-ladder formation of the Federal Way Fire Department. I still have every single letter that was sent to comfort my son and me.
I know that seeing an officer in your rearview mirror after you’ve been caught speeding tends not to endear you to police officers. But most of them are really good people. They have spouses and families; some have small children who pray every night for them to come home.
Please take just a few moments to remember one of Federal Way’s finest who didn’t come home on Aug. 2, 2003.
Renee Maher, Federal Way