Annual Police Officers' Memorial Remembrance Ceremony Recognizes Fallen Officers
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today honored 51 police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to communities across New York. The officers from nine local and state law enforcement agencies were recognized at the annual Police Officers' Memorial Remembrance Ceremony. The names of the 48 men and three women—the most added in a single year since 2002—join others chiseled into the polished black granite memorial at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The memorial includes 1,504 names of officers from 145 police agencies across the state and six federal agencies.
"This ceremony honors the law enforcement officers throughout New York who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," Governor Cuomo said. "These brave men and women sadly reached the end-of-watch while protecting their communities and upholding the law. Together, we remain eternally grateful for their service and ever mindful of the sacrifices their families have endured."
Coordinated annually by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the ceremony was attended by roughly 400 people, including local, state and federal law enforcement professionals; elected officials; and family members of the deceased officers, in addition to other friends and colleagues of the fallen. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul attended the solemn services and spoke of the sacrifices made by the fallen officers, as well as the gratitude that is owed to their families.
"The names on this wall stand testament to the selfless commitment these officers made to keep our communities safe and the gratitude we owe their families," Lieutenant Governor Hochul said. "We must never forget the legacy of these brave men and women who died in the line of duty or the peril countless other law enforcement officers face each time they wear their badge."
The following officers were recognized at today's ceremony:
Line of Duty Deaths
- Trooper Joel R. Davis of the New York State Police was struck in the chest with a rifle round while responding to a report of a man firing a weapon and persons screaming in the Jefferson County town of Theresa. Trooper Davis retreated toward his patrol vehicle, but died as a result of his wound soon after. (July 9, 2017)
- Detective Miosotis P. Familia of the New York City Police Department was sitting in the front passenger seat of a marked mobile command post, when a gunman fired a .38-caliber revolver at her, striking the left side of her head. She died a short time later. (July 5, 2017)
- Deputy Sheriff Kevin M. Haverly of the Greene County Sheriff's Office was nearing the end of his shift when his patrol vehicle left the roadway and struck a telephone pole in the town of Ashland. He died at the scene. (Feb. 28, 2017)
- Sgt. Robert J. Johnson of the Northville Village Police Department was on his way home after his shift and stopped to assist with a motor vehicle accident. He was fatally struck by a passing motorist. (July 4, 2017)
- Police Officer Craig E. Lehner of the Buffalo City Police Department was taking part in a routine diving training mission in the Niagara River when he failed to surface. His body was recovered up river following an intensive search and rescue effort. (Oct. 17, 2017)
- Detective Steven D. McDonald of the New York City Police Department was questioning a robbery suspect in Central Park on July 12, 1986, when he was shot three times. He survived the shooting, but was left a quadriplegic and dependent upon a ventilator. He died of complications from the shooting 31 years later. (Jan. 10, 2017)
Ground Zero-related Illness
The names of 24 officers who died from illnesses due to 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. The names of officers who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses were first added to the memorial in 2008 and now total 168 individuals. An additional 60 men and women who served with the NYPD and Port Authority Police Department died on the day of the attack.
- Police Officer Brian R. Abbondandelo, Nassau County Police Department (July 28, 2016)
- Police Officer Gerard A. Ahearn, New York City Police Department (Oct. 24, 2016)
- Sgt. Patrick J. Boyle, New York City Police Department (Sept. 15, 2016)
- Trooper Darryl J. Burroughs Sr., New York State Police (May 25, 2016)
- Sgt. Patrick T. Coyne, New York City Police Department (March 12, 2017)
- Trooper Brian S. Falb, New York State Police (March 13, 2017)
- Police Officer Judy A. Ghandy-Barounis, New York City Police Department (Sept.13, 2016)
- Detective James T. Giery, New York City Police Department (Sept. 20, 2016)
- Detective William D. Kinane, New York City Police Department (June 13, 2017)
- Police Officer William J. King, New York City Police Department (Oct. 25, 2016)
- Detective Stephen T. Kubinski, Yonkers Police Department (Jan. 6, 2017)
- Detective Christian R. Lindsay, New York City Police Department (Feb.12, 2017)
- Deputy Chief James G. Molloy, New York State Police (Jan. 30, 2017)
- Sgt. Terrence S. O'Hara, New York City Police Department (March 10, 2017)
- Police Officer Christine A. Reilly, New York City Police Department (Jan. 3, 2017)
- Detective George C. Remouns, New York City Police Department (April 21, 2017)
- Lt. John C. Rowland, New York City Police Department (Jan. 26, 2017)
- Police Officer Wayne J. Sblano, New York City Police Department (June 22, 2016)
- Police Officer Peter M. Sheridan, New York City Police Department (July 31, 2016)
- Police Officer Richard E. Taylor, New York City Police Department (March 6, 2016)
- Police Officer Reginald Umpthery, New York City Police Department (Sept. 19, 2015)
- Police Officer John F. Vierling Jr. New York City Police Department (Feb. 22, 2016)
- Sgt. Michael B. Wagner, New York City Police Department (April 27, 2007)
- Detective Thomas P. Ward, New York City Police Department (July 8, 2016)
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. The large number of historical deaths being added this year resulted from a New York City Police Department research project that identified additional officers who died in the line of duty from years' past who had not been previously recognized.
- Patrolman Gerard P. Apuzzi Jr., New York City Police Department (May 4, 1968)
- Patrolman Charles A. Berberich, New York City Police Department (Nov.15, 1908)
- Patrolman Gustave A. Boettger Jr., New York City Police Department (July 13, 1922)
- Patrolman John Branagan, New York City Police Department (Aug. 10, 1869)
- Detective Charles J. Cameron, New York City Police Department (July 17, 1904)
- Constable Anson J. Casler, Little Falls Police Department (Sept.17, 1865)
- Senior Criminal Investigator Stuart C. Cohen, Westchester County District Attorney's Office (April 8, 2007)
- Sgt. Donald S. Conniff, New York City Police Department (Dec. 12, 2015)
- Patrolman George Dapping, New York City Police Department (Sept. 24, 1915)
- Patrolman William H. Galbraith, New York City Police Department (Nov. 8, 1911)
- Patrolman Thomas F. Gallagher, New York City Police Department (Feb. 8, 1907)
- Patrolman John E. Hoey, New York City Police Department (Oct. 4, 1901)
- Patrolman Martin Maloney, New York City Police Department (Sept. 18, 1921)
- Police Officer William T. Martin, New York City Police Department (April 9, 2011)
- Patrolman John W. McCormick, New York City Police Department (July 9, 1910)
- Lt. Daniel C. O'Connor, New York City Police Department (March 14, 1974)
- Patrolman Bryan L. O'Donnell, New York City Police Department (June 11, 1916)
- Sgt. Thomas F.J. O'Grady, New York City Police Department (Aug. 24, 1916)
- Patrolman Dennis Shea, New York City Police Department (Nov. 4, 1902)
- Game Protector Clarence J. Webster, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Nov. 16, 1944)
- Patrolman George M. Yeager, New York City Police Department (July 3, 1905)
The memorial was expanded last year with 10 new panels and space for 630 additional names. Renovations continued this year, resulting in new landscaping, additional seating, new steps and a new walkway to bolster handicapped accessibility. Additional work, including a new reflecting pond, is planned before next year's ceremony. The total project will cost approximately $1 million and represents the second expansion of the memorial originally dedicated in 1991.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Michael Green said, "The names we add to the wall every year serve as a solemn reminder of the dangers New York law enforcement officers face every day. We must never forget the bravery and courage of these officers, and the sacrifices they and their families have made to keep our communities safe."
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "I am very proud of the role OGS has as caretaker of this memorial, which was created to ensure the sacrifices made by the courageous and dedicated police officers in New York State will always be remembered. In recent years we have expanded the memorial and spent time improving the landscaping, increasing the space available for seating, and enhancing accessibility to the site. These efforts will continue as we endeavor to improve the experience for the friends and families of the 1,504 police officers now memorialized at the Empire State Plaza."
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 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.
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.
The Police Officers' Memorial Advisory Committee is chaired by Michael Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and composed of the following members: Office of General Services Commissioner Destito; Chief Michael Lefancheck, President 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.
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