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Banner honoring Phoenix officer who died in March added to ‘Hero Lane’

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PHOENIX – A banner honoring fallen Phoenix Police Officer Paul Rutherford, who was killed on duty earlier this year, was unveiled Monday as part of the city’s “Hero Lane” tribute.

Rutherford’s widow, Jocelyn, and City Council members Michael Nowakowski and Felicita Mendoza were among those on hand for the ceremony outside City Hall in downtown Phoenix.

“This Hero Lane is a chance for all of us to thank those firefighters, those police officers that serve and protect our community, the people we call when we need help,” Nowakowski said.

There are two Hero Lanes with a total of 51 banners honoring fallen police officers and firefighters.

They were hung on Washington Street between Seventh Street and Ninth Avenue and on Baseline Road between 35th and 51st avenues.

The banners are scheduled to remain on display until July 6.

Rutherford died on March 21 after being hit by a vehicle in west Phoenix. He was working at the scene of a separate accident at the time.

Rutherford was with the Phoenix Police Department for 23 years.

On Saturday, Nowakowski will continue paying tribute by hosting the Star Spangled Celebration, an annual free event to honor fallen police officers, firefighters and military veterans.

The event is scheduled for 3-9 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Park, which is bordered by the Baseline Road Hero Lane in Laveen.

It will feature a memorial candle ceremony, a fireworks display, live music, bounce houses and a water play area.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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