Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today dedicated the
Visitor’s Entrance of One Police Plaza to retired Detectives Rocco Pascarella,
Salvatore Pastorella and Anthony Senft. The dedication of the Security Annex is
to honor the three members for their bravery and heroism on New Years Eve in
1982 when they were injured in a terrorist attack targeting Police Headquarters
and nearby government buildings.
“These three members of the New York City Police Department
took their sworn oath to protect the public to incredible, heroic lengths. They
put themselves directly in harm’s way to defeat a terrorist attack on the city,”
Commissioner Kelly said. “The memorial plaque that will be installed at this
site is a small, but tangible recognition of the tremendous debt we and all New
Yorkers owe them.”
From 1974 through 1982, a group known as the F.A.L.N was
one of several terrorist organizations who targeted New York City landmarks.
During this period, F.A.L.N. claimed responsibility for 134 explosions.
Those attacks include a multiple-device plot that occurred
twenty-five years ago today. On December 31, 1982, a bomb was detonated at 26
Federal Plaza, a neighboring building of One Police Plaza, as well as the New
York headquarters for the F.B.I. Detective Pascarella, Detective Pastorella and
Detective Senft were on duty in Lower Manhattan that night.
In response, then-Police Officer Pascarella conducted a
security sweep of Police Headquarters and observed a discarded fast-food
container on the ground by the North Entrance. As Officer Pascarella moved
closer to investigate the box, it exploded. The force left Officer Pascarella
blind in one eye and with permanent injuries to his left leg.
As part of the Department-wide response, two members of the
Bomb Squad, Detective Pastorella and Detective Senft, came to Officer
Pascarella’s aid. Despite his injuries and massive bleeding, Officer Pascarella
explained to the two detectives how the bomb was disguised.
At 10 p.m., a little more than a half-hour from the initial
explosion, a third device went off at the U.S. District Courthouse in Brooklyn
sending reverberations into Manhattan. Detective Pastorella and Detective Senft
received a call to investigate two additional suspicious packages in the
immediate vicinity of One Police Plaza: one by the main entrance and another in
St. Andrew’s Plaza.
Detective Pastorella and Detective Senft arrived at St.
Andrews Plaza and cleared the area of civilians. Following protocol, the two
detectives placed Kevlar blankets over the devices and put on their bomb suits.
Just as Detective Pastorella and Detective Senft knelt to dismantle the first
device, it exploded. Witnesses saw Detective Senft fly fifteen feet into the
air. He was blinded in his right eye and broke his hip. Detective Pastorella was
blinded in both eyes and lost the fingers of his right hand.
The three members received the Department’s highest honors
along with Detective Frank DeCicco and then-Sergeant Charles Wells, who safely
deactivated a fifth bomb.
The Visitor’s Entrance opened in September 2005. Previously,
visitors were checked for identification at the gatehouse and had their bags
screened inside One Police Plaza. Increased security protocols called for all
bags to be screened outside of Headquarters.