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Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert receives a departing handshake from LPD Capt. Mike Niethe, who will take the reins of the department effective Thursday. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert was honored this morning by colleagues and loved ones as he walked out of City Hall for one last time as chief of police.

Several members of the Lockport Fire Department were among the more than
100 who wished Eggert well.
A line of more than 100 well wishers shook hands and hugged the retiring chief as he made his way from Common Council chambers out the rear entrance of the building around 11 a.m.

Attendees comprised current and former Lockport Police officers and administration -- including former officer Steve Ritchie, who enjoyed a similar send-off when he retired in June of 2014. Eggert and Ritchie share the unfavorable experience of having been shot in February of 2003 -- and former police Chief Neil Merritt, who retired in late 2007 and now works private security. Also in attendance, Capt. Mike Niethe, who will be sworn in as Lockport's new chief of police on Friday at the Palace Theatre, although he actually starts the job tomorrow.

The line of well-wishers stretched outdoors, where Eggert was greeted by 
former LPD Officer Steve Ritchie. 
Local elected officials from Mayor Anne McCaffrey to the city's aldermen and Treasurer-elect Sue Mawhiney were also in attendance to see Eggert out, as were appointed officials and members of other local law enforcement units.

As some wished Eggert adieu, there were laughs. For others there were tears. He reminded one well-wisher early in the nearly 15-minute goodbye that today was a celebration, "not a funeral."

Like Merritt before him, Eggert, who has worked for LPD for 36 years, is also planning to go into private security in the new year.


Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour bids adieu to Eggert at Lockport City Hall this morning. 

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