FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY HONOR 35 MEMBERS OF POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 2005 MEDAL DAY CEREMONY
6 Medals of Honor, 1 Purple Shield, 21 Police Combat Crosses, and 7 Medals of Valor Awarded
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today honored 35 members of the NYPD at the 2005 Medal Day ceremony by awarding six Medals of Honor, one Purple Shield, 21 Police Combat Crosses, and 7 Medals of Valor. The Mayor and Commissioner were joined by family members of the honorees at the ceremony at One Police Plaza.
“I am honored to stand today with members of the NYPD to honor those who have served New York City with extraordinary bravery and heroism.” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Those who we honor today have performed their duties with valor and professionalism and are one of the reasons why New York remains America’s safest big city. They are also the reason crime is at levels not seen since the 1960’s. I congratulate today’s honorees and thank them for putting their lives on the line day in and day out to protect their fellow New Yorkers.”
“There are acts of heroism every day in the Police Department,” said Commissioner Kelly. “The ones we recognize on Medal Day are among the more remarkable. The resolve and courage of the NYPD are documented in the lobby of One Police Plaza, where the walls are filled with the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The NYPD first awarded the Medal of Honor, the Police Department’s highest award, in 1871. Since then, the NYPD has also recognized the extraordinary performance of duty by presenting the Police Combat Cross, the NYPD’s second highest honor, and the Medal of Valor, the NYPD’s third highest honor. The Purple Shield was first awarded in 1995 to reflect meritorious service where serious injury or death was incurred in the performance of duty.
The Medal of Honor was posthumously awarded to Detectives Robert L. Parker and Patrick H. Rafferty, who were murdered on September 10, 2004 while attempting to arrest a career criminal on domestic violence charges. The Medal of Honor was also posthumously awarded to Police Officer William Rivera, who suffered fatal injuries after falling from a roof while pursuing a burglary suspect. Other recipients were Sergeant Winston Smith, who defended his fellow officers in the capture of a violent suspect while he was under fire, and then-Sergeant James Gentile and Police Officer William Kennedy, who courageously protected one another and persevered during a gun battle with robbery suspects despite Sergeant Gentile being shot several times.
A Purple Shield was posthumously awarded to Sergeant Keith Ferguson, who suffered a fatal heart attack on January 31, 2004, after coming to the aid of a fellow officer pursuing a suspect on foot.
This year, twenty-one officers received the Police Combat Cross, which recognizes courage and heroism during personal combat with an armed adversary, and 7 officers received the Medal of Valor, which recognizes personal bravery in the face of imminently dangerous or life-threatening situations. Unit Citations were awarded to seventeen commands.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Paul Browne (DCPI) (646) 610-6700