ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo honored 20 fallen police officers from law enforcement agencies across New York State, including five who died in 2013 as a result of line of duty injuries.
“Today we stand together as New Yorkers to honor fallen police officers lost this past year," Governor Cuomo said on Tuesday. "These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people of this state. I join with all New Yorkers in remembering their legacy and thanking their families for their sacrifice as well."
The names of these 20 officers join the 1,340 others who have been inscribed in the polished black granite walls of the Police Officers’ Memorial, which represents 140 police agencies statewide and five federal agencies. The officers’ names are placed randomly on the wall, without rank, to signify that every officer’s sacrifice is the same.
More than 400 people, including professionals representing local, state and federal law enforcement, elected officials and family members, colleagues and friends of the fallen officers, attended the remembrance ceremony, which was held at the memorial on the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
2013 Line of Duty Deaths
· Police Officer Patricia A. Parete of the Buffalo Police Department died of injuries from a gunshot wound originally received during a fight with an armed suspect in 2006 (Feb. 2).
· Trooper David W. Cunniff of the New York State Police (Troop G) died of injuries he sustained when his patrol vehicle was struck by a commercial vehicle during a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway in Amsterdam (Dec. 17).
· Trooper William P. Keane of the New York State Police (Troop A) Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit suffered a fatal heart attack while representing the division at a Commercial Vehicle Inspection championship event in Utah (Aug. 23).
· Trooper Winston I. Martindale Jr. of the New York State Police (Troop F) died of injuries sustained while performing rescue and extrication activities at the site of a 2011 plane crash in Wawayanda in Orange County. (July 24).
· Trooper Ross M. Riley of the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT) West in Erie County died of injuries sustained in a fall while performing Special Operations High Angle Rescue Training at Letchworth State Park in Wyoming County (Nov. 20).
Ground Zero-related Illness
The names of 13 officers who died from illnesses as a result of time spent doing search and recovery work in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center were also added to the memorial, bringing the total to 71. The names of officers who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses were first added to the memorial in 2008.
· Police Officer Karen E. Barnes, New York City Police Department (Aug. 4, 2011)
· Police Officer Ronald G. Becker Jr., New York City Police Department (Aug. 19, 2012)
· Lt. Steven L. Cioffi, New York City Police Department (Mar. 5, 2013)
· Detective Carmen M. Figueroa, New York City Police Department (May 26, 2013)
· Police Officer Richard G. Holland, New York City Police Department (Mar. 23, 2012)
· Detective John F. Kristoffersen, New York City Police Department (Aug. 25, 2012)
· Police Officer Frank G. Macri, New York City Police Department (Sept. 3, 2007)
· Sgt. Michael J. McHugh, New York Police City Department (July 3, 2012)
· Detective Tommy L. Merriweather, New York City Police Department (Jan. 21, 2013)
· Police Officer Francis T. Pitone, New York City Police Department (Aug. 11, 2013)
· Detective Traci L. Tack, New York Police City Department (Jan. 15, 2013)
· Detective Thomas Weiner, New York Police City Department (May 3, 2003)
· Detective Charles J. Wassil Jr., Peekskill Police Department (May 1, 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 Samuel S. Taylor of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (April 5, 1914).
· Deputy Sheriff William R. Leach of the Yates County Sheriff’s Office (Nov. 8, 1957).
Dedicated in 1991, the memorial was designed by the Office of General Services (OGS) Design and Construction Group. It is based on a design concept submitted by Colleen Dillon Bergman, daughter of State Trooper Emerson J. Dillon, Jr., who was killed in the line of duty in 1974 after more than 16 years of service with the New York State Police.
A quote from Mrs. Bergman’s letter is engraved on the nameplate wall: “It doesn’t matter from which department they came, the feeling of loss is experienced the same.” The memorial is divided into 12 panels lettered (A – L) at the base of the wall from right to left. Each panel is divided in half and identified as either top or bottom.
The memorial’s Roll of Honor is posted to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services website: www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/ops/docs/pomc/honorroll.pdf.