BINGHAMTON, NY – The annual Police Week commemorations continued today with the event that started it all, the Memorial Breakfast.

The Southern Tier Law Enforcement Memorial Association was able to hold the breakfast for the first time since 2019.

The event, held at Pheasant Hill Country Club in Owego and catered by Terra Cotta, featured Chemung County executive Chris Moss.

Moss spent 30 years in the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, 16 as Sheriff, before becoming Executive.

He says the biggest challenge facing police chiefs these days is recruitment and retention.

Moss says far fewer people are seeking a law enforcement career.

“Back in the ’90’s, we used to have 150 to 200 people show up on a Saturday morning and take the test. Now that’s down to 25 to 35 people. That just goes to show you where there are other opportunities out there,” says Moss.

Moss says sharp criticism of law enforcement as well as the dangers of the position are hurting recruitment and retention.

He says more needs to be done to promote the good officers do and the benefits of the career.

40 years ago, President of the Southern Tier Law Enforcement Memorial Association Paul Burnett helped with the formation of a memorial breakfast.

The organization honors 38 local officers who made the ultimate sacrifice dating back to the 19th century.

“Delaware County in 1845, before the Civil War, lost their Undersheriff. He was killed in the line of duty. Who would ever remember that if somebody didn’t put it together so that we could remember in our area who lost their life. Unfortunately, we know that it’s going to continue over the years ahead. And hopefully, we can honor them just as well,” says Burnett.

Police Week activities conclude this Saturday when a law enforcement display featuring local agencies will be outside the Target in Vestal from 9 until 2.

There will be police vehicles, child I-D and safety seat checks as well as demonstrations by K-9 teams, the Endicott bomb squad, marine patrol, bike patrol and SWAT teams.