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Hero Down: Cheektowaga Police Chief Michael Sliwinski Suffers Fatal Heart Attack

Cheektowaga, NY – Cheektowaga Police Department (CPD) Chief Michael Sliwinski died on July 17 after suffering a heart attack at his home, according to his family.

The 55-year-old police chief called his brother, David Sliwinski, shortly before 9:30 a.m. and told him he wasn’t feeling well, The Buffalo News reported.

“I went over there and he said, ‘I think I’m having a heart attack,’ ” David Sliwinski told the paper.

He loaded his brother into the car and drove him over to Buffalo General Medical Center.

“They took him out of my car,” the chief’s brother told The Buffalo News. “Within 10 minutes, he was dead.”

The CPD announced Chief Sliwinski’s unexpected death in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“Chief Sliwinski became suddenly ill and passed away earlier today,” the department said. “Our heavy hearts go out to his family and loved ones during this time of grieving.”

Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski said the city is “devastated” over the loss of Chief Sliwinski, The Buffalo News reported.

“He was firm, but he was fair. You knew where you stood with him,” Benczkowski told the paper. “He was always very helpful toward me and the board.”

David Sliwinski said his brother loved being at the helm of the CPD.

“He loved his job. He loved helping people,” he told The Buffalo News.

Chief Sliwinski and his brother worked together at their family’s funeral home prior to the start of the chief’s law enforcement career.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, Chief Sliwinski joined the CPD in August of 1991, The Buffalo News reported.

He climbed through the ranks over the course of the next three decades and had been police chief since Jan. 28, 2020.

Chief Sliwinski was also among the heroes who responded to New York City during the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, CPD Assistant Chief Brian Gould told WKBW.

“He cared about the men and women in this police department,” Assistant Chief Gould said. “We were his family. He had a very small family but to us he had a very large family.”

Chief Sliwinski leaves behind his brothers, David and Melvin.

He will be laid to rest on Thursday, according to his obituary.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Cheektowaga Police Department Chief Michael Sliwinski, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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