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New Officer Honors Father Lost in the Line of Duty

(Source: Jason Weinstein)

29 new officers graduated from the Broome County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Academy today. But only one graduate brought the crowd at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Binghamton to it's feet - new Binghamton Police Officer Daniel J. Barta.

"Up to this point it's probably the happiest moment of my life and the second-most emotional besides August 3rd when my father was actually killed. This has been my dream since that day to be a Binghamton Police Officer," said Daniel Barta.

Barta is the son of Lee Barta, who was killed in 1995 when Daniel was six years old. Today Daniel was issued badge number 139 - the one his dad wore before it was retired after his death. The badge was presented by Daniel's grandfather ...., a retired Binghamton officer who also wore badge number 139.

"He was about six years old and they set Sundays aside. It was a day for father and son. And he really missed that and he just grew to worship his dad," said Daniel Barta's grandfather James Malane.

"I don't think anything could be any more meaningful than to have my grandfather present me with the badge. That was one of the best gestures," said Daniel Barta.

Lee Barta worked for current Binghamton Chief Joseph Zikuski, who authorized badge number 139 be un-retired for Daniel Barta. Ironically, 139 was also Zikuski's badge number when he was a patrolman. 

"I participated and practically led the investigation to capture the individual that shot him. It brings back a lot of memories. But we're all honored that he's here with us representing Lee and his family," said Binghamton/Johnson City Police Chief Joseph Zikuski.

"I have 28 of the best friends I could ever ask for over teh last seven months. And the Binghamton Police Department has always been my dream. They're a great bunch of guys and I can't wait to start working with them," said Daniel Barta.

****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD news****

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