New York 1 News

May 12, 2002

NYPD Officers Honored In National Police Week

   

Fallen members of the NYPD were among the officers honored Wednesday as part of National Police Week in Washington, D.C.

The annual event, which was first declared by President John F. Kennedy, honors the work of police officers and memorializes who lost their lives in the line of duty. More than 230 police officers across the nation were killed on duty last year, making it the deadliest year for the police since 1974.

All of their names, including the 23 NYPD officers who died in the World Trade Center attack, have been engraved on the “Walls of Remembrance" that form the national law enforcement memorial near Capitol Hill.

NY1's Andrew Siff filed the following report from Washington:


Never let them walk alone — that’s the motto of National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty.

Scores of families who came to Capitol Hill Wednesday realized the motto rings true. Those left behind are not alone.

Frank Dominguez, whose brother, an NYPD officer, was killed September 11, was touched by the huge turnout.

“It’s people from all over the country. It’s really amazing,” Dominguez said. “It’s really kind of overwhelming.”

Thousands of officers came from all over the world for the ceremony, including officers from the NYPD and the Port Authority, who got special mention from President George Bush.

Officer William Jimeno, the last officer pulled alive from the World Trade Center, recalled the experience.

“We were buried about 20 feet down in the rubble,” Jimeno said. “Thank God we had a lot of good people from the great city of New York and New Jersey come in and get us out of there. It was a miracle.”

The vast New York delegation made its presence felt at the ceremonial reading of the names, which took more than half an hour — double the time spent on any other state.

Of the 233 police officers killed last year, 71 of them were from New York, including 23 from the NYPD, 37 from the Port Authority and 11 federal agents from the New York area. All of them died September 11.

“If you can comprehend it then something’s not right,” said NYPD officer Alan Silverberg. “The fact that we’re still mystical about it and that we still hold it as dear as we do is a good sign.”

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who was on the stand with President Bush, said the numbers reveal the terrible toll.

“We've been hurt in so many ways,” Kelly said. “The trauma to the department, the Fire Department, the Port Authority Police Department — it’s just been tremendous.”

Many officers have been to countless memorials already but said the presence of so many families in Washington was uplifting and will help them re-energize and continue their crime-fighting efforts.

“They were more of a strength for us than we were for them,” said PBA Chief Pat Lynch. “It goes to show the extraordinary strength that families of police officers have.”

The ceremony at the Capitol ended as families added flowers to a ceremonial star representing the Fraternal Order of Police. The names of their loved ones have already been added to the National Police Memorial Wall.

— Andrew Siff