WXXI AM News

Officer Denny Wright gets a hero's send-off from hospital

Oct 25, 2019

Scores of law enforcement officers gathered Friday morning in the parking lot outside the Golisano Neurology Rehabilitation Center at Unity Hospital in Greece.

Some were on horseback, some came on motorcycles, and dozens of them stood in precise formation, waiting to salute Officer Denny Wright.

The 23-year Rochester police veteran survived a violent knife attack after responding to a domestic call on Oct. 4.

When Wright finally walked out of the sliding glass doors of the hospital, he wore dark sunglasses and waved a cane in response to the cheers of hospital staff who helped him recover from his stab wounds over the past three weeks.

"He went through something incredible, and now he's going home to his family," said Rochester Police Officer Dakota VanBrederode from his patrol car following Wright’s ceremonial send-off.

"It's an amazing thing," added Officer Ethan Pasko.

Pasko and VanBrederode said when one of their fellow officers is attacked, it makes them think about the dangers they could possibly face.

In the days after Wright was stabbed throughout his body, especially on his face and head, the Rochester Police Department put two officers in every patrol car.

“It was more so for officer wellness," said Chief La'Ron Singletary. He said he wanted to make sure every officer had someone to talk to.

Now, it's back to one officer per car, unless it's a priority call. Singletary says a number of things go into that decision.

"The size of the city, population, calls for service, the number of officers in the department. We will do everything we can to mitigate those risks," he said. "If there was something that we could do that was 100 percent guaranteed to ensure the safety of officers, we'd be doing it."

The Rochester Police Locust Club, the police union, has long been critical of the one officer per car policy. 

On Friday morning, though, law enforcement officers from across Monroe County focused on their colleague Denny Wright and his survival.

"His tenacity, his will to fight, his will to not let this get him down, I think,” said Singletary, “has shown all of us why we do this job.”