NYC Mayor on Death of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski

Submitted by ub on Mon, 12/12/2011 - 11:37

The Mayor’s remarks at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, which he delivered prior to Officer Figoski’s death, follow.

“Good morning. I am here with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Chief of Department Joe Esposito, Chief of Patrol James Hall, Chief of Brooklyn North Gerald Nelson, Chief of Internal Affairs Charles Campisi and Dr. Eli Kleinman, the NYPD’s Chief Medical Officer.

“Onsite also are Rabbi Alvin Kass and Monsignor Robert Romano, two of the NYPD’s chaplains and also we’re joined by Pat Lynch the president of the PBA.

“We are here at Jamaica Medical Center because at about 2:15 this morning, 911 received a call about a robbery in progress at 25 Pine Street in East New York, Brooklyn, not far from the Brooklyn-Queens border. Officers responded, as two perpetrators were attacking the person who lives in the downstairs apartment, apparently looking for money.

“Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will brief you on the details, but the short version is that Officers Peter Figoski and Glenn Estrada responded as backup.

“Officer Estrada was treated for a sprain in his right shoulder.

“But Officer Figoski – a 22 year veteran of the NYPD – was shot in the face with an illegal, semiautomatic weapon by a career criminal.

“He is here in critical condition and getting extraordinary care at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, but the prognosis is grim.

“I met with his parents Maryanne and Frank. His brother Jimmy and his brother Robert – retired from the NYPD – and Robert’s wife Deborah. Brother-in-law Joe Reale, also a member of the department in the 20th Precinct.

“I also met with Officer Figoski’s former wife Paulette, and two of their daughters Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, here at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and thanked them on behalf of a deeply grateful New York City. There are two other daughters Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, both who are upstate at college.

“Four daughters. I’m the father of two myself – and having to tell kids of any age what happened to their father or mother is, without a doubt, the hardest thing any Mayor ever has to do.

“Here in the last days of the year 2011, it’s worth I think taking a look back at where we are as a City.

“In 1989, the year Officer Figoski joined the NYPD, the year ended with more than 1,900 murders in the Five Boroughs. The next year, 1990, the city saw its most homicides ever, more than 2,200.

“This year, barring any calamity in the next three weeks, we will close the year with less than 500 murders. These last four years have been the four safest in New York City’s history.

“I say this not to minimize officer Figoski’s sacrifice, but to elevate it. Because of him and because of the thousands of other men and women in the NYPD ranks, and among our partners in law enforcement, New York City has gone from one of the nation’s most dangerous large cities to the nation’s safest – year after year after year after year.

“As our population hit its highest levels in history and we keep growing year after year, murder, and overall crime, have headed in the other direction.

“As I often say, success doesn’t just happen. It requires the resolve and work of thousands of men and women whose names most of us have never learned except and until we have a horrible, depraved criminal attack like the one that started on Pine Street in Brooklyn this morning.

“You want a reminder of the danger that our men and women in law enforcement face every single day to keep us safe? Look no further than this shooting – and this hospital.

“But as we look at what’s gotten better in New York City over the decades, there’s one thing unfortunately that hasn’t changed – hasn’t changed at all in Washington – our nation’s threat from the weapons that end up as illegal guns on the streets of our communities – and the stunning indifference, or fear, or worse that prevent our elected officials across Washington from doing anything about it.

“That was the story when we gathered solemnly at one of our city’s great hospitals for Police Officer Russel Timoshenko, who was shot and died in a Brooklyn car stop in July of 2007. It was true when we gathered at the fatal shooting of Auxiliary Officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik in Greenwich Village in March 2007. For Dillon Stewart in Brooklyn in November of 2005. For Detectives Robert Parker and Patrick Rafferty in Brooklyn in September of 2004. For Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, who were executed in an undercover buy and bust operation on Staten Island in March of 2003.

“These are just some of the names since 9/11 who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It doesn’t include Officer Omar Edwards and all of those who died in other ways while responding to gun crimes. And it doesn’t include those who, thankfully, were injured but survived.

“The question – as it has long been – is this: as crime goes ever lower, when will our resolve finally go up enough to get serious about helping our police officers get illegal guns off our streets?"