AUBURN – When Auburn police officers get together Thursday to remember comrades lost in the line of duty, they will pay tribute to every cop who has ever died on the job. In particular though, they will give special remembrance to a pair of Auburn cops killed decades apart.

Officer Norman Philbrick died July 7, 1949, while directing traffic around the scene of a major structure fire near Main and Court streets. Two fire engines approached the intersection at the same time and Philbrick was struck by both.

The force was so great that the handgun Officer Philbrick was wearing was bent nearly to a 90 degree angle. The gun is mounted on a plaque at the police department as a memorial to Officer Philbrick.

On April 6, 1981, Auburn police lost another officer, this time to the Androscoggin River.

Officers Rodney “Rocky” Bonney and John Perrino responded to the trestle behind Florian’s on Main Street after a boy had fallen into the river. Both officers dove into the river in an attempt to save the boy but the current was too strong. Officer Perrino was able to swim back to safety. Officer Bonney and the boy both drowned. Today at this site, a park has been dedicated to Officer Rodney “Rocky” Bonney.

In honor of Law Enforcement Memorial Week, there will be a memorial service at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 13, honoring fallen officers. Police and others will gather at Bonney Park on Main Street for opening statements and a flag ceremony. A wreath will be placed in the river in remembrance of Officer Bonney. Police will then walk along the Riverwalk to Festival Plaza where they will pay tribute to Officer Philbrick and place a wreath at the intersection of Court and Main streets.

Mayor Norm Guay will read a proclamation and present new memorial plaques.

Organizers are inviting anyone who can attend. Anyone interested in learning more about Officer Bonney or Officer Philbrick and the events that ended their lives can read about it on the Web at www.auburnpd.com/memorial.html.


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