Sign dedicated to fallen Ithaca Police Investigator Michael Padula

By Kelly McCarthy

May 2, 2014 Updated May 2, 2014 at 7:08 PM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A police officer killed in the line of duty 17 years ago will have a place of remembrance in the City of Ithaca.

The Badge of Honor Association and the Ithaca Police Department dedicated a memorial sign in honor of Police Investigator Michael Padula.

On Nov. 17, 1996 Investigator Padula was stabbed in the neck and killed while responding to a report of an emotionally disturbed woman.

The woman barricaded herself in a bathroom, then suddenly ran out and attacked Padula. The suspect was then shot and killed by another officer.

17 years later, his partners, family and community returned to the place of his attack, including Bill Finnerty, retired Ithaca Police Sgt. and former partner.

"I think about him almost every day if you can believe it." said Finnerty. "His badge was 106; if I look at the digital clock and it says 1:06 on it, I immediately think of him. It's crazy."

A memorial sign now hangs on West State Street to honor Officer Padula.

"When you go by there, think of the sacrifice he made for all of us," Finnerty said. "For my family, for your family, for the people in Ithaca."

The dedication is part of the Badge of Honor Association's officer tribute. The Badge of Honor Association is a volunteer group of officers who are traveling across the state, honoring 75 fallen officers in two months.

This was the sixth stop on the officer tribute tour.

"The feelings that I feel today- unbelievable," said Sgt. Justin Collins, Badge of Honor Association President. "To meet some of these folks that knew him, to hear stories about him, and the sign being a permanent reminder? Awesome."

Some of Padula's best friends said instead of focusing on his death, the community should celebrate life. Just like Padula did.

"Let's start celebrating life and let's start remembering what was important to him in life," said Brian Robison, retired Ithaca Police Investigator and former partner. "And that's kind of what I wanted to get across today."

Robison said his former partner would always see the bright side of things and would often tell him to "let it go and move on."

"I remember his smile; he was always smiling," Robison said. "Even when things weren't going great for him."

His former partners hope people who pass the newly constructed sign will take the same positive outlook with them going forward.

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