Blood Drive Honors Fallen Officer

By Lindsay Nielsen

July 18, 2011 Updated Jul 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM EST

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) - The Broome County Sheriff's Office teams up with the American Red Cross to honor a fallen officer.

It's an effort to remember Deputy Kevin Tarsia in a way that also helps save lives.

Kevin Tarsia was the first Broome County Deputy shot and killed in the line of duty.

In 2002 he came across suspects from a firearms burglary at a park in Kirkwood.

"It was very emotionally upsetting, for the officer's working here. A lot of them worked with Kevin whether it be on the road or to investigations or through the jail," says Broome County Sheriff, David Harder.

The department held a memorial blood drive in Tarsia's name.

"I want to do it in the name of Deputy Tarsia because I know if things were reversed, if the situation was different he'd be here giving for me in my name," says Mark Cave with NYS Police.

The American Red Cross says blood donation levels are the lowest they have been in a decade.

"A lot of times you never put the face to folks who need blood and sometimes when you do something in memory of it helps people identify with the need and realize that it can happen to anyone," says Theresa Blank with the American Red Cross.

Tarsia's father brought along his son's memorial camaro to the blood drive on Monday.

"He was generous, kind, and people liked him. If he stopped somebody he didn't harass them or nothing like that, and he helped them more or less," says Phil Tarsia.

Since Tarsia's death, the Sheriff's Office gives patrols a choice to ride with another deputy, or ride alone.

"There were people that said no you should have had two people in the car not one, and we still believe to this day that if there had been two they both would have been dead," says Sheriff Harder.

Harder says deputies do chose to ride alone, but Tarsia's sacrifice is never far from their thoughts.

Tarsia worked for the Broome County Sheriff's Office for thirteen years.

The two men who shot Tarsia and ran him over are serving a life sentence without parole.

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