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Recently Retired Chautauqua Institution Chief of Police Al Akin Lays Wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Alan Akin, who for more than 40 years served as chief of police at Chautauqua Institution until his retirement earlier this month, participated on Sunday, Oct. 20, in the ceremonial wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Akin was selected for this honor by members of the United States Army Field Band, which frequently performs free concerts at Chautauqua, in recognition of his decades of service to the Chautauqua community, ensuring the safety and security of residents, patrons and distinguished guests. Akin laid a wreath in memory of his cousin, Theodore W. Johnson, of Westfield, a U.S. Air Force first lieutenant who was killed in action in Vietnam.

“I was deeply humbled to be selected to participate in this most solemn of rituals, to honor the bravery of those who have served and protected our country, including members of my own family,” Akin said. “I’m profoundly grateful to the U.S. Army Field Band for providing me this opportunity, and for their continued commitment to share their gifts with our Chautauqua community and regional neighbors.”

Akin retired effective Oct. 16, following 41 years of service at Chautauqua. A descendent of Matthew Prendergast and Abigail Akin, he is a lifelong resident of the Chautauqua Lake region. He graduated from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Academy in 1978 and was subsequently hired as Chautauqua Institution’s chief of police, leading safety and security operations and guiding the Institution and its community through four decades of dramatic shifts in the nature of police and security work. As part of his activities in Washington, D.C., he also attended a White House ceremony and tour.