It’s a privilege to join you as we honor a cherished member of the Police Department and an exceptional human being, Traffic Enforcement Agent Donnette Sanz.
I want to thank Donnette’s family for being here, and Councilman Joel Rivera for introducing the legislation to make this street renaming possible.
I also want to acknowledge all the members of the department here today, who continue to bring credit to Donnette’s memory through their outstanding work.
In December 2006 Donnette joined the New York City Police Department as a traffic enforcement agent. Right away, she impressed her instructors by scoring a 95 on her first exam. She never came late, never missed a day of training, and was always well above the class average.
In her very first evaluation, she was recommended for an upgrade, and within two years she was promoted to a Traffic Enforcement Agent Level Two.
Donnette was particularly skilled at training new agents. She would answer their questions, correct their mistakes, and help them succeed in a very challenging job.
Not only do agents write summonses for the kind of dangerous infractions that impede the flow of traffic, double-parked cars, blocked traffic lanes, and bus stops; they interact with individuals who are often rushed, angry, and reluctant to cooperate.
The public doesn’t always hear about the fine work of our traffic enforcement agents, but they feel the effect of that work every day. It’s what enables 8.4 million people to travel through the city safely and peacefully.
The fact is: Donnette was part of an outstanding team that has driven traffic fatalities to their lowest levels since 1910 - an astounding, historic achievement. New York City could not be all the things we celebrate - safe, prosperous, and dynamic twenty-four hours a day - without the contributions of our traffic enforcement agents.
Donnette will always be remembered as a tremendously valued member of this team.
But most of all, she will be remembered for her humanity. Donnette was easy to get along with, full of warmth and concern for others - a perfect fit for a command where members refer to each other not as colleagues, not as fellow traffic enforcement agents, but as family.
If an agent radioed for help, Donnette was among the first at the scene. She took her work seriously. She wanted to grow on the job. She was devoted to her husband Rafael and, most of all, to the son they were expecting.
Nearly three years ago to the day, Donnette was struck by an out-of-control van while on duty. A crowd of new yorkers rushed to her aid and were able to lift the vehicle off her.
Donnette’s final act of goodness was to give all of us the chance to know the baby boy she had already named Sean Michael Justin Sanz.
Today, we pay tribute to them with the renaming of this street in their honor.
All who look up at this sign will recall the numerous acts by which Donnette made our world a safer, kinder place, and the decency she inspired in others. May god bless Donnette and her child.
And may God bless the police officers and traffic enforcement agents who carry on her work.