Blue lights show support
for Martinsburg, W. Va. police
[Martinsburg, WV]

The Associated Press December 14, 2000, Thursday Copyright 2000 Charleston Newspapers The Charleston Gazette December 14, 2000, Thursday

(MARTINSBURG, W. Va.) -- A single blue light amid holiday decorations can mean a lot to police officers and their families.

By placing blue lights in holiday displays, residents can show their support for a national effort to honor fallen officers, including at least two officers who died in West Virginia this year.

"It's a way of remembering, and it brings it home for a fallen officer," said State Police Sgt. S.E. Paugh of the Charles Town detachment.

Earlier this year, Nicholas County deputy William Giacomo was shot in the head by a man he was processing for a DUI offense in September. The suspect later hanged himself in his jail cell.

Also, Morgantown police officer Frank Fidazzo was killed while on bike patrol in June.

Fidazzo died after his bike hit a bump on a bike path, causing him to flip over the handlebars and suffer severe head injuries.

The national program was started by the mother-in-law of a Philadelphia, Pa., officer killed in the line of duty.

The woman also lost her daughter in a car accident.

She began putting blue lights up to honor both her daughter and son-and-law and later contacted Concerns of Police Survivors.

COPS members adopted the program and now work to get the blue light message going nationwide.

West Virginia has participated in the blue light program for the last three years, according to State Police Superintendent Col. Gary L. Edgell.

"This year, my wife Karen and I again have a blue light shining in our house," Edgell said.

"It is such a small measure that means a great deal to an officer who sees the blue light while on patrol."

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