Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today presided over a Police Memorial Day ceremony at One Police Plaza honoring 15 members of the New York City Police Department, 13 of whom died of illnesses developed after performing rescue, recovery and clean-up work following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Two others were killed while responding to criminal incidents: Detective Peter Figoski was shot Dec. 12, 2011 while responding to a home-invasion robbery in the 75th Precinct. The suspect was chased by Figoski’s partner and apprehended minutes after the shooting; four accomplices also were later apprehended and charged. Police Officer Alain Schaberger was killed while attempting to place a domestic violence assailant under arrest last March, in the 84th Precinct. Officer Schaberger was pushed by the perpetrator from a building stoop, causing him to fall nine feet.
“Today, we pay tribute to 15 members of the world’s greatest police department,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “When you hear the roll call of their names, you’ll recognize that they traced their origins to many different parts of the world, but wherever their roots ran back to, they all had this in common: they swore a sacred oath of service. Each never swerved from fulfilling it – whatever the risks they faced – and each gave their lives protecting the rest of us. Today, their names join hundreds of others on the wall of honor here at One Police Plaza. It’s a memorial to all those in the long and heroic blue line who have for more than 160 years kept us safe, and who have reduced crime today to levels not seen in decades.”
“It has been said that, ‘Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness.’ Today, we commemorate the lives of these 15 officers who, in service to the people of this city, have earned their rightful place in our hall of heroes,” said Commissioner Kelly.
The names of six police officers, five detectives, two sergeants, a lieutenant and captain were unveiled on plaques in the “Hall of Heroes” inside Police Headquarters. They are:
Detective Peter Figoski joined the Department in 1988 and worked on patrol in the 75th Precinct, where he helped to reduce crime in East New York by more than 70 percent over two decades. Detective Figoski was looked upon as a mentor and a model for young police officers. He was 47.
Police Officer Alain Schaberger was a member of the United States Navy who was awarded two service medals in the military. He joined the Department two months before 9/11 and was recruited along with his classmates in the Police Academy to direct traffic and provide security at Ground Zero. Officer Schaberger worked in Midtown South Precinct, Manhattan Court Section and then served in Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct. He was 42.
Captain Barry Galfano was a biology teacher before he joined the department in 1981. He served as Commanding Officer of Transit District 34, Patrol Borough Brooklyn North Anti-Crime and the Queens North Narcotics Division. Three weeks before 9/11, Captain Galfano was chosen to lead the Emergency Service Unit. He responded to the World Trade Center despite being on vacation and spent nine straight months at Ground Zero. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and passed away in June 2011, at age 57.
Lieutenant Jacqueline McCarthy served the Department for 25 years, including 10 years as commander of the Counseling Services Unit that provides assistance to police officers and civilian employees. Lieutenant McCarthy held a master’s degree in social work and was a credentialed substance abuse counselor who helped ensure that the Counseling Services Unit achieved state certification. After September 11th, Lt. McCarthy counseled the families of lost police officers at Ground Zero. She was 50.
Sergeant Charles Clarke spent 20 years serving in public housing Police Service Areas 7 and 8 in the Bronx. As Police Service Areas 8’s Crime Analysis Supervisor, he helped to identify trends in criminal activity. During his six years in that position, crime in the command fell by 44 percent. Sergeant Clarke responded directly to Ground Zero on September 11th and perished of lung cancer in 2009. He was 53.
Sergeant Harold Smith joined the NYPD in 1985 and was in charge of the construction workers who came from all over the country to assist first responders at Ground Zero. He served in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, where, in 2005, he helped to lead a team of narcotics officers in Staten Island, culminating in the arrest of 45 suspected drug dealers. Sergeant Smith was 47.
Detective Kevin Czartoryski was a former Police Cadet who served the Department for 20 years, in commands including the Organized Crime Control Bureau Narcotics Division, the Hate Crime Task Force, where he was a founding member. Detective Czartoryski was assigned to a makeshift morgue established at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11 and later to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information. While in that command, he also worked as liaison to the city’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. He was 46.
Detective John Goggin made 500 arrests in his 20-year career, most of them for felonies. He joined the Department in 1982 and served the Citywide Street Crime Unit and the Narcotics Division, earning promotion to detective in 1990. He worked in Detective Squads in the 88th, 83rd and 94th precincts, was widely admired for his skill, experience, and instincts. He was 53.
Detective Edwin Ortiz served 20 years in the Department, in Manhattan and the Bronx. After serving as an investigator in the Vice Enforcement Division and Bronx Narcotics, Detective Ortiz spent the last eight years of his career in the 40th Precinct Detective Squad. He made 600 arrests during his career. Detective Ortiz died one week before his 57th birthday.
Detective Joseph Seabrook began his career in 1995 in the 28th Precinct and spent five years in the Narcotics Division before serving in the 20th Precinct, where he was honored several times as “Cop of the Month.” In 2009, he helped to launch an investigation into drug sales in Manhattan’s Amsterdam Houses, enabling detectives to arrest 28 suspected drug dealers. Detective Seabrook was active in his church and coached the youth basketball team, having played himself and won a basketball scholarship to Queens College. He was 46.
Police Officer Bobby Ehmer spent most of his 20-year career in the 110th Precinct, assigned to a sector that included the Grand Central Parkway and other major roadways. His personnel folder contained multiple letters of gratitude from stranded motorists and accident victims whom he kept safe. On his days off, Officer Ehmer served as Emergency Medical Technician and ambulance driver for Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Queens. He spent countless hours at Ground Zero, both as an Emergency Medical Technician and as a Police Officer. He was 47.
Police Officer Edward Ferraro joined the Department in 1984 and served one decade of his career in the Queens Task Force where he was part of a unit that targeted drunk drivers. He also made several gun arrests, including one in which he wrestled a loaded firearm away from the suspect. Officer Ferraro later joined the Management Information Systems Division, where he is remembered as being indispensable. He was 49.
Police Officer David Mahmoud served 15 years in the 75th Precinct and was assigned to the Burglary Apprehension Team. Working in plain clothes and in uniform, he once chased a gunman who had just committed a murder. Officer Mahmoud earned 21 medals and two commendations, and is remembered as a caring colleague and mentor to many new officers who arrived at the 75th Precinct. He was 49.
Police Officer Martin Tom joined the department in 1990, inheriting his older brother’s police shield after his brother was promoted to detective. Officer Tom was first assigned to the 7th Precinct and was chosen for the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Task Force, later becoming a member of the Taxi Unit. He joined the department’s licensing division in 2008, where he investigated people seeking gun permits. Officer Tom was 49.
Police Officer George Wong spent 14 years of his 21-year career working the overnight tour in the 5th Precinct in Chinatown, where his ability to speak Cantonese and his interpersonal skills helped him to earn the trust of the public. In May of 2001, he joined the department’s Identification Section, analyzing fingerprints and conducting criminal background checks. Officer Wong helped to provide security at Ground Zero, and for the last two years of his career, was part of Headquarters Security. He was 48.
Twenty-three members of the service were killed Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, a total of 51 officers and one civilian now have been recognized as having died of illnesses developed after work they performed at the World Trade Center site and Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, where debris from the destruction was received and processed.
Police Memorial Day was established by Congress in 1962 and proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, designating May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day in honor of the Federal, State, and municipal officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.