Tonawanda News — One of two police officers killed in North Tonawanda in the line of duty throughout the city’s history was recognized Tuesday by police Chief William Hall and Mayor Rob Ortt.
Albert J. Kasbaum was killed by auto thieves on Aug. 18, 1919, though he wasn’t officially recognized by the city. That changed during a Common Council meeting held at City Hall, as five members of the North Tonawanda Police Honor Guard began a brief ceremony that ended with a proclamation read by Ortt, who declared that going forward Aug. 18 would be known in the city as Albert J. Kasbaum Day.
Kasbaum, who was 35 when he died and had been a member of the department for seven years, had stopped a vehicle on Erie Avenue after receiving correspondence from Lewiston police officers that it was stolen. Kasbaum, who was riding a motorcycle when the incident occurred, was shot four times. One suspect fled, eventually committing suicide in Niagara Falls, another was charged with the killing of Kasbaum, officials said.
On Tuesday, with several family members and police officers on hand, Kasbaum was awarded the North Tonawanda Police Department’s Purple Heart Award, an acclaim that began in 2000.
Kasbaum has also been recognized by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC and is also listed on the State of New York Police Officers Memorial Roll of Honor.
Albert Edward, Kasbaum’s great-nephew, accepted the award from Hall.
“This is something that will stay in the family forever,” Edward said. “It’s a great honor.”