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Crowd gathers to remember fallen police officers in New York State

Submitted to the Albany Times Union

May 2018

Every year, memorial services are held across the United States and Canada honouring police and peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year.

This year, I made the trip to Albany from Toronto and was part of the crowd assembled at the State of New York Police Memorial in Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany to honour police officers in New York State who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.

I stood in the crowd in the memorial plaza, encircled by a stark cenotaph consisting of twenty-two polished black granite panels and bearing the names of 1, 453 municipal, state and federal officers from over 150 agencies.

Those of us who’ve served in uniform feel a great camaraderie with their brothers and sisters-in-blue, something that can explain the large turnout of officers each year at this and other memorials.  We all know that one day it could be our name being engraved on the memorial wall.

For the general public, it’s easy to blame the police for any injustice you feel, from that speeding ticket you got to a police-involved shooting that you feel shouldn’t have happened, even if the officer was legally justified.

Police become an easy target for public outrage for any injustice, perceived or not.  What’s not so easy, is seeing those who are left behind when an officer dies in the line of duty.  All those officers had spouses, children, parents or other family members whose lives have been forever changed.

There will always be that empty chair at the table; an empty feeling in their hearts.

At more than one memorial ceremony that I’ve attended over the past two decades, I’ve heard stories of children asking the surviving parent why Mommy or Daddy will never be coming home again.  Questions like, “Why can’t Daddy come to my birthday party for just a few minutes?” or from really young children, “Did I ever meet Mommy?” I noticed a few officers dabbing their eyes during that address.

So take a moment out of your day to attend the State of New York Police Memorial ceremony or any of the ceremonies held yearly across the country.

Bruce Forsyth has served as a police officer in Canada for 20 years, is a freelance writer and webmaster of www.militarybruce.com.

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Unedited version:

May 2018

Every year, memorial services are held across Canada and the United States honouring police and peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year.

On 8 May, a crowd assembled at the State of New York Police Memorial in Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany to honour police officers in New York State who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.

The ceremony is an annual event held the second week of May.

There are 1,453 names engraved on the Memorial Wall, a stark cenotaph consisting of twenty-two polished black granite panels and bearing the names of municipal, state and federal officers from over 150 agencies.

Serving officers, along with some retired officers, line up in parade formation and march in honour of their fallen comrades in a solemn ceremony.

A black granite monument, inscribed with the names of police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty across New York State, is located in the Empire State Plaza in the City of Albany. The memorial serves to remind visitors of the tremendous sacrifice made by these brave officers, and their families, for the safety of their communities.

In Albany alone, 13 police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1791.

Those who’ve served in uniform feel a great camaraderie with their brothers and sisters-in-blue, something that can explain the large turnout of officers each year at this and other memorials.  We all know that one day it could be our name being engraved on the memorial wall.

For the general public, it’s easy to blame the police for any injustice you feel, from that speeding ticket you got to a police-involved shooting that you feel shouldn’t have happened, even if the officer was legally justified.

Police become an easy target for public outrage for any injustice, perceived or not.  What’s not so easy, is seeing those who are left behind when an officer dies in the line of duty.

When police officers are purposely and brutally murdered, there is no explanation or justification.

Although still tragic, it is a different scenario if a police officer is killed accidentally, for example in a motor vehicle collision.  It doesn’t make their deaths any easier to take, but we all understand that accidents happen. 

At more than one memorial ceremony that I’ve attended over the past two decades, I’ve heard stories of children asking the surviving parent why Mommy or Daddy will never be coming home again.  Questions like, “Why can’t Daddy come to my birthday party for just a few minutes?” or from really young children, “Did I ever meet Mommy?” I noticed a few officers dabbing their eyes during that address.

This year’s ceremony honoured 51 officers, broken down as 6 on-duty deaths, 24 who died as a result of illnesses related to the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York City and 21 historical deaths.

Dignitaries from state and local government agencies spoke before the assembled crowd that featured uniformed officers and surviving family members of the fallen officers.

So take a moment out of your day to attend the State of New York Police Memorial ceremony or any of the ceremonies held yearly across the country.

 

Sources:  http://abc7ny.com/news/albany-police-memorial-adds-20-names;-13-9-11-related/47808, https://www.albanyny.gov/Government/…/PoliceDepartment/Memorials.aspx.

 

 

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

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)

Historical Deaths 

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)

Source:  http://www.wktv.com/content/news/51-names-being-added-to-Police-Officers-Memorial-in-Albany-482089611.html

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/crowd-gathers-to-remember-fallen-police-officers-in-new-york-state/

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