New York State Police Officers Memorial Remembrance Ceremony Held Today in Albany 

Memorial at the Empire State Plaza Now Includes the Names of 1,717 Police Officers Who Died in the Line of Duty

Governor Hochul Directs State Landmarks to be Illuminated Blue Tonight to Recognize the Officers’ Service and Sacrifice

Governor Kathy Hochul today honored the lives of 49 police officers from six police departments who were remembered at the New York State Police Officers Memorial Remembrance Ceremony in Albany. The officers’ names have been added to the Memorial’s black granite wall, which now includes the names of 1,717 men and women from 150 police departments across the state and six federal agencies who sacrificed their lives in service to New Yorkers. Governor Hochul also directed that state buildings and landmarks be illuminated blue tonight to honor the sacrifice of the officers whose names are included on the Memorial and recognize the service of all police officers across the state.

“Every day, law enforcement officers across the state selflessly put their lives on the line to protect the public, and today we honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep New Yorkers safe,” Governor Hochul said. “We remember their courage, bravery and dedication to public service, and we thank and honor their loved ones, who have endured tremendous loss. The legacies and family members of these fallen officers will never be forgotten.”

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez spoke on behalf of Governor Hochul, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating and working remotely. Nearly 500 people, including local, state and federal police officials, loved ones and colleagues of those honored, and elected officials, attended the afternoon ceremony at the Memorial on the Empire State Plaza.

“These individuals lived their lives with purpose, bravery, and selflessness—their loss leaves an unfillable hole in the lives of countless loved ones, friends, and partners in law enforcement,” Secretary Rodriguez said. “We are forever in their debt as the men and women of this caliber sacrificed their lives to protect us and we honor their families who provided the support for these fallen officers to serve.”

The Governor directed that the following state assets be illuminated tonight, Tuesday, May 10:

  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

The ceremony recognized the sacrifice of 44 men and five women who died from injuries they sustained on duty, or as the result of COVID-19 or Ground Zero-related illnesses.

Line of Duty Deaths

New York State Police

  • Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher was struck by a distracted driver while responding to a disabled vehicle on the Long Island Expressway on Dec. 18, 2017. He suffered severe brain injuries and died three years later. (March 26, 2021)
  • Sergeant James J. Monda was assigned to Troop G Marine Patrol when he entered the Great Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County and did not re-emerge until colleagues brought him ashore and began lifesaving efforts. He died later at the hospital. (August 22, 2021)

NYPD

  • Detective Anastasios Tsakos was struck and killed by a drunk driver while diverting vehicles off of the Long Island Expressway in response to a collision. (April 27, 2021)

The following officers died as a result of exposure to COVID-19. Officers who died due to COVID were first added to the memorial last year; the memorial now contains the names of 19 officers whose deaths were COVID-related:

NYPD

  • Officer Leonardo M. Chavez (September 18, 2021)
  • Officer Sony Clerge (August 20, 2021)
  • Detective Stanley Dash (May 29, 2021)
  • Officer Michael R. Mundy (April 28, 2021)
  • Officer Marze M. Murray (October 21, 2021)
  • Detective Shantay L. Neal-Baker (August 14, 2021)
  • Officer Angel M. Santiago (March 28, 2021)

Sands Point Police Department

  • Sergeant Joseph Spinosa (April 15, 2020)

Suffolk County Police Department

  • Lieutenant Robert VanZeyl (January 20, 2021)

Town of Wallkill Police Department

  • Sergeant Barry Weissman (January 23, 2021)

Yonkers Police Department

  • Detective William J. Sullivan Jr. (April 11, 2020)

Ground Zero-Related Illness Deaths

The following officers died from illnesses resulting from their work at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The names of officers who died from Ground Zero-related illnesses were first added to the Memorial in 2008 and now total 335.

NYPD

  • Detective Jennifer S. Abramowitz (September 25, 2020)
  • Sergeant Emanuele Alongi (June 27, 2020)
  • Sergeant James P. Bast (January 14, 2020)
  • Detective Gerald T. Brennan (July 14, 2020)
  • Sergeant Nathalie Brill (June 2, 2021)
  • Sergeant Thomas A. Byrne (March 31, 2021)
  • Detective Leonard D. Cocco (June 12, 2020)
  • Officer Terence P. Connelly (February 8, 2021)
  • Officer Reginald Cooley (January 9, 2021)
  • Officer George F. Darini (October 22, 2020)
  • Detective Harry O. D’Onofrio (April 14, 2021)
  • Officer Laurence J. Dougherty (May 26, 2020)
  • Detective Thomas J. Gallo (October 31, 2020)
  • Officer Pedro Garcia (March 17, 2020)
  • Detective Peter Gianfrancesco (September 2, 2020)
  • Detective Edward R. Gorczynski (August 26, 2020)
  • Detective Valerie K. Jacobs (April 8, 2019)
  • Detective Jewel Jenkins (May 24, 2020)
  • Detective Emilio Laboy (May 9, 2020)
  • Officer Raphael A. Lora (September 8, 2020)
  • Officer Carl R. Ludwig (January 20, 2021)
  • Detective Charlie W. Mackie (February 4, 2021)
  • Officer Patrick G. Monroe (April 13, 2020)
  • Detective Thomas L. Neal (May 18, 2020)
  • Inspector Michael O’Neil (October 28, 2020)
  • Officer Nicholas Purpero (February 20, 2021)
  • Detective Mark H. Rawdon (May 23, 2020)
  • Sergeant Mark Smith (October 2, 2020)
  • Detective William Soto (November 17, 2018)
  • Officer Andrew D. Stromfeld (March 29, 2021)
  • Sergeant Nemesio Vera (December 3, 2020)
  • Sergeant Peter C. Woods (January 9, 2021)
  • Sergeant David T. Yu (July 17, 2020)
  • Lieutenant John C. Zonneveld (July 10, 2020)

Yonkers Police Department

  • Officer Stanley J. Kasper (July 9, 2021)

The state Division of Criminal Justice Services coordinates the ceremony and the work of the Police Officers’ Memorial Advisory Committee.

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “As we remember these officers and honor their sacrifice, we also extend our deep gratitude and support to their loved ones, who have endured such extraordinary loss. These courageous officers put the safety of New Yorkers first. We at DCJS are honored to help ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten.”

Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “It is an honor to host the New York State Police Officers Memorial Remembrance Ceremony at the Empire State Plaza. OGS took great pride in our renovations to the memorial, which were completed in 2019. We hope that the families and loved ones of those lost will continue to find the site a peaceful location for honoring and reflecting on the courage and dedication of those officers who gave their lives in service to communities across New York State.”

The memorial is 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 that the names of police officers 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.

Memorial Inclusion Criteria

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 to DCJS for inclusion on the memorial must be made by agencies that employed the officers.

In addition to Commissioners Rosado and Moy, the following individuals serve on the Memorial Advisory Committee: New York State Troopers PBA President Thomas Mungeer, New York State Association of Police Benevolent Associations President Michael O’Meara, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Patrick Phelan, New York State Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter R. Kehoe, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York President Patrick J. Lynch, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Chapter President Andrew Rakowsky, and the Police Conference of New York President Richard Wells.

The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides critical support to all facets of the state’s criminal justice system, including, but not limited to: training law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals; overseeing a law enforcement accreditation program; ensuring Breathalyzer and speed enforcement equipment used by local law enforcement operate correctly; managing criminal justice grant funding; analyzing statewide crime and program data; providing research support; overseeing county probation departments and alternatives to incarceration programs; and coordinating youth justice policy. Follow DCJS on Facebook and Twitter.