RUSHFORD (WKBW) Allegany County Deputy Sheriff Derek Ward's children were front and center as a sign was unveiled in his memory along Route 243 in Rushford. Ward was killed ten years ago from injuries sustained during a car crash while on duty.
"Today is about keeping their dad's memory alive and just to show the excellence that he portrayed and that I know his children are going to take from that," Ward's wife Crystal said.
Law enforcement from throughout the county were present to remember the deputy, who also served part time in two other police forces.
"I don't know how many people have told me 'Yeah your husband arrested me one time but he was very fair and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to arrest me.' Not too many people can say that," Crystal Ward added.
And though ten years have passed, thoughts and memories of Ward are still very fresh in the minds of many law enforcement in Allegany County, who said without a doubt that Deputy Sheriff Derek Ward is a hero.
"Absolutely, to his family, to his children, absolutely. To me, as a man, just as a fellow man, absolutely he was," Lt. Dan Hanchett said.
"Everyone has a job, but some of us have jobs where we go out there every day to serve the public and we put our lives on the line so he was a hero for that," Sheriff Ricky Whitney said.
The Allegany County Sheriffs Department is made up of only 29 deputies, making a loss like this even more difficult, even a decade later.
"And it wasn't just the Sheriff's office, it hit the whole county. It hit all of us, the local PD's, the Sheriff's office, state police. We're all brothers, so it hits hard," Sheriff Whitney added.
Officials, family members, and friends all said afterward that their hope is for other drivers to see the sign, remember Deputy Sheriff Ward, and simply be safe on the roads.