Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2001
Release #381-01


Matthew Higgins
Thomas Antenen (DCPI, NYPD)

(212) 788-2958


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik today honored members of the New York City Police Department for acts of valor at the Medal Day 2001 ceremonies held at Carnegie Hall. At the ceremony, 72 members of the Department received Departmental medals for acts of heroism, including the highest - the Medal of Honor - awarded to 30 members. The Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to 23 members of the Department who made the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to evacuate victims from the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001. Also honored at the ceremony were 14 commands that were recognized with Unit Citations for outstanding service during the previous year.

"Medal Day is always an important event in New York City, when we honor the police officers who have upheld the highest values of the New York City Police Department," the Mayor said. "But Medal Day takes on added significance this year, as we honor so many whom we will never see again. September 11th was the darkest day in the history of New York City, and it was the darkest day in the history of this Police Department. Twenty-three officers gave their lives in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center."

The Mayor continued, "This is an enormous loss for this Department and this City, but the officers who gave their lives at the Twin Towers did not die in vain. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank them and all of our honorees from the bottom of my heart for all that they have done to protect the people of this City."

Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik said, "Historically, Medal Day has always been one of the Police Department's proudest traditions. We join here today to honor the men and women of the NYPD who put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of our city. While the whole world is now aware of the heroism of September 11th, the truth is our officers risk their lives and perform exemplary acts of courage each and every day of the year. We must never forget their valiant acts nor the twenty-five honored today who did not return home to their families."

The New York City Police Department Medal of Honor is the highest award that may be bestowed upon a member of the service. The recipients are chosen from the distinguished departmental record of those already honorably mentioned for individual acts of bravery in the line of duty. The Medal of Honor is specifically awarded for acts of gallantry and valor performed with knowledge of the risk involved, above and beyond the call of duty.

In recognition of the heroic efforts of the members who gave their lives on September 11th, twenty three of the medals were awarded posthumously to Sergeants John G. Coughlin, Michael S. Curtin, Rodney C. Gillis, and Timothy A. Roy; Detectives Claude D. Richards and Joseph V. Vigiano; Police Officers John D'Allara, Vincent G. Danz, Jerome M. Dominques, Stephen P. Driscoll, Mark J. Ellis, Robert Fazio, Ronald P. Kloepfer, Thomas M. Langone, James P. Leahy, Brian G. McDonnell, John W. Perry, Glen K. Pettit, Moria A. Smith, Ramon Suarez, Paul Talty, Santos Valentin Jr., and Walter E. Weaver. The Medal of Honor was also awarded posthumously to Police Officer John M. Kelly, killed in the line of duty on July 17, 2000 when his vehicle careened off the road and struck a telephone pole while in pursuit of a stolen vehicle.

The six additional Medals of Honor were awarded to Police Officers William F. Fischer, Jose R. Guerra, Gregory N. John, William S. Madigan, James P. McGrath, and Joseph A. Ocasio.

Two Purple Shield Medals were awarded. One of the medals was awarded posthumously to Police Officer David A. Regan. Police Officer Regan and his partner Police Officer Kenneth Waszak were responding to an emergency call of shots fired when a delivery truck that was driven through a red light struck their patrol car. Officer Regan was killed in the line of duty on May 28, 2000. The other medal was awarded to Officer Waszak who survived the car accident.

The New York City Police Department Combat Cross is the second highest honor awarded by the Department. The Combat Cross is granted to members of the service who successfully and intelligently perform an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary under circumstances of imminent personal hazard to life. The Police Department awarded 26 Combat Crosses today.

The New York City Police Department Medal for Valor is conferred upon police officers for outstanding acts of personal bravery under imminent threat to life, or for outstanding community service. The Police Department awarded 14 Medals for Valor today.