New York Times
December 16, 2010    

City Room - New York Times

1 Police Plaza


His Commissioner’s Badge

In New York City policing, fathers sometimes hand down their badge to a son, who hands it to a grandson or granddaughter.

The 1,200 recruits sworn into the Police Academy in July received their guns and badges Wednesday at Gun & Shield Day, a department ritual before graduation.

A department spokesman confirmed that young Conor McDonald, whose policeman father, Steven McDonald, was shot as he tried to stop a robbery in Central Park in 1986, requested the badge number of Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

As has been widely reported, the request was granted, a spokesman said.

The elder Mr. McDonald was 29 when he was shot in the neck and paralyzed by a 15-year-old, Shavod Jones. He remained on the force and was later promoted to detective. Mr. McDonald publicly forgave Mr. Jones, who was released from prison in 1995 and killed in a motorcycle accident three days later.

Conor McDonald’s maternal grandfather, James Conway, also served in the department. He was shot in the chest while on duty in the Bronx in the 1950s but recovered and continued working.

“We’re going to do what we can to protect and serve,” Conor McDonald told reporters when he was sworn into the academy in July.

Also receiving his weapon and “shield,” or badge, as it’s more commonly known, was Barry Driscoll, whose father, Stephen Patrick Driscoll, was a member of the Emergency Services Unit killed on Sept. 11, 2001. He will take his father’s number.

The incoming class will bring the department’s head count close to 36,000.

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said: “It is a long and time-honored tradition for many children of police officers to pick up the gun and shield and follow in the proud footsteps of a parent. Policing is a noble but difficult and dangerous job. It is particularly gratifying to see these young men whose fathers have made such tremendous sacrifices in the service of the city join New York’s Finest. We are proud and honored to have them in our ranks.”