Annual Police Officers’ Memorial Remembrance Ceremony Recognizes Fallen Officers
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today honored 26 police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to communities across New York State. The officers – from six local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – were remembered at New York State’s annual Police Officers’ Memorial Remembrance Ceremony. Their names joined others on the polished black granite memorial at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
“Every day, police officers across New York selflessly put their lives at risk to protect the citizens of our state,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe. I join with all New Yorkers in remembering their legacy and thanking their families for their service and bravery.”
The names of the 26 officers join 1,387 others chiseled into the memorial, bringing the total number of officers honored to 1,413. The memorial recognizes officers from 141 police agencies across the state and six federal agencies.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined more than 400 people gathered at the memorial, including local, state and federal law enforcement professionals; elected officials; and family members of the deceased officers. The solemn service also drew many friends and colleagues of the fallen officers.
“Our treasured way of life functions because of the underlying trust that we as civilians have in our law enforcement,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Today we honor the service and sacrifice of men and women who protect the freedoms that have made our nation and our State the shining beacon of Democracy envied by the world.”
The following officers’ were recognized at today’s ceremony:
2015 Line of Duty Deaths
- Trooper Donald R. Fredenburg Jr. of the New York State Police died after while participating in a morning physical training run at the University at Albany (March 13)
- Detective Randolph A. Holder of the New York City Police Department located a suspect who was the focus of a call for shots fired. He and his partner pursued the suspect, who fired at the officers, striking Detective Holder in the head (Oct. 20).
- Sergeant Eric O. Meier of the Crawford Police Department (Orange County) was investigating a marijuana growing operation in a wooded area. While traversing the rugged terrain, Sgt. Meier suffered a medical condition that led to his death (Sept. 17).
- Detective Brian R. Moore of the New York City Police Department approached a suspicious male adjusting his waistband. When he and his partner pulled alongside the suspect to investigate, the suspect pulled a gun and fired into the police cruiser, striking Detective Moore in the head. He died two days later (May 4).
Ground Zero-related Illness
The names of 19 officers who died from illnesses as a result of time spent doing search and recovery work in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center were also added to the memorial, bringing the total to 104. The names of officers who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses were first added to the memorial in 2008.
- Detective James J. Albanese, New York City Police Department (Aug. 13, 2014)
- Deputy Chief Steven J. Bonano, New York City Police Department (Jan. 17, 2015)
- Police Officer James M. Burke, New York City Police Department (Nov. 6, 2013)
- Police Officer Peter D. Ciaccio, New York City Police Department (Feb. 12, 2015)
- Detective Louis G. Fernandez, New York City Police Department (Oct. 16, 2014)
- Detective Stuart F. Fishkin, New York City Police Department (May 8, 2015)
- Inspector James Guida, New York City Police Department (Oct. 31, 2014)
- Police Officer Cheryl D. Johnson, New York City Police Department (Dec. 22, 2013)
- Police Officer Robert W. Kaminski, New York City Police Department (Dec. 4. 2014)
- Detective Shaun M. Mahoney, New York City Police Department (Dec. 10, 2014)
- Lieutenant Roy D. McLaughlin, Yonkers Police Department (Sept. 10, 2015)
- Senior Investigator Thomas G. Moran Jr., New York State Police (July 22, 2012)
- Sergeant Patrick P. Murphy, New York City Police Department (Aug. 20, 2014)
- Police Officer Peter O. Rodriguez, New York City Police Department (Feb. 12, 2012)
- Detective John A. Russo, New York City Police Department (July 22, 2014)
- Sergeant Stephen P. Scalza, New York City Police Department (Oct. 1, 2014)
- Captain Scott V. Stelmok, New York City Police Department (Dec. 29, 2014)
- Deputy U.S. Marshal Zacarias Toro, United States Marshals Service (June 14, 2015)
- Detective Richard Wentz, New York City Police Department (May 14, 2013)
The memorial also recognizes “historical” deaths, officers who died in service to their communities in prior years, but the agencies for which they worked had not previously submitted applications for their inclusion. Those officers are:
- Game Protector Harvey B. Cruikshank of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (June 8, 1926
- Game Protector Benning W. DeLaMater of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (June 24, 1961)
- Game Protector Paul J. DuCuennois of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Oct. 16, 1932)
The memorial’s complete Roll of Honor is posted to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services website: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/ops/docs/pomc/complete-roll-of-honor.pdf.
Dedicated in 1991, the memorial was based on a design concept suggested by Colleen Dillon Bergman, the daughter of Emerson J. Dillon Jr., a 16-year veteran of the New York State Police who was killed in the line of duty in 1974. Bergman also suggested the names of fallen law enforcement be placed on the memorial without regard to rank. In a letter to the committee established to oversee the memorial’s creation, she explained: “It doesn’t matter from which department they came, the feeling of loss is experienced the same.” Those words are engraved on the memorial.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Office of Public Safety coordinates the annual event and its commissioner serves as chair of the Police Officers’ Memorial Advisory Committee. To be included on the memorial, an individual must have been a police officer as defined in the state’s Criminal Procedure Law or employed as a federal law enforcement officer and performed the same or essentially similar duties as defined in that law. Applications for inclusion on the memorial must be made by the agency that employed the fallen officer.
In addition to Michael C. Green, executive deputy commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the following individuals serve on the Police Officers’ Memorial Advisory Committee: RoAnn M. Destito, Commissioner of the Office of General Services; Margaret E. Ryan, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police; Peter R. Kehoe, Executive Director of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association; Patrick J. Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York; Thomas H. Mungeer, President of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers; Michael J. Palladino, President of the New York State Association of Police Benevolent Associations; Andrew Rakowsky, Chapter President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; and Richard Wells, President of the Police Conference of New York.