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J. Paul Leyden, retired Lockport police chief

Aug. 15, 1929 – Oct. 24, 2015

LOCKPORT – J. Paul Leyden, who was chief of police in the City of Lockport for almost 17 years, died Saturday in Niagara Hospice House, Lockport, after a brief illness. He was 86.

“He was kind of a groundbreaking guy. He brought us into the modern era of policing,” recalled the current chief, Lawrence M. Eggert, who served under Mr. Leyden for the first 11 years of his career.

He played a key role in founding Niagara County’s Law Enforcement Academy, as well as interdepartmental task forces on drugs, major crimes and sexual abuse.

Mr. Leyden, the first Lockport officer to graduate from the FBI National Academy, also upgraded the city’s police training. He consulted with his officers and compiled training manuals on how to respond to such calls as a bank robbery or a person barricaded in a building.

Mr. Leyden also standardized police equipment and pushed for upgrades.

Mr. Leyden, a lifelong Lockport resident, attended Lockport schools and served in the Army in Germany from 1951-53. He joined the Lockport police force in 1957 and retired in 1991.

His wife of 49 years, Martha, died in 2003.

Survivors include three daughters, Amy Jo Achtyl, Ann Vetter and Paula Miller; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his companion, Nancy Prendergast.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport.