Gov. Kathy Hochul presented a wreath Tuesday as she presided over a ceremony adding 101 new names of fallen officers to the New York State Police Officer’s Memorial in Albany.
The list of names swelled this year after officials paused last year’s ceremony and also added eight names of officers who died in 2020 in the line of duty from COVID-19.
"We don't just think about this one day a year. This is what we live with, the ability to sleep under the blanket of security that your loved one provided to all of us and those who serve still do," Hochul said at the ceremony, speaking to families and colleagues of the fallen.
The NYPD has lost at least 46 members of the department during the pandemic, officials said last year.
Names added included officers who died on duty or from illness in 2020 and earlier, such as 65 law enforcement members who died of 9/11-related illnesses from working at Ground Zero following attacks on the World Trade Center.
Those names include NYPD officers from Long Island like Deputy Chief Vincent DeMarino, 61, of Valley Stream, Scott Blackshaw, 52, of Huntington Station, and Det. Luis Alvarez, 53, of Oceanside.
Alvarez, who died in 2019, fought until his death for Congress to extend the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund for first responders.
The memorial also included Suffolk County Police Officer Craig Capolino who died in 2013 of cancer from working at Ground Zero. Capolino was an NYPD Brooklyn Detective on 9/11 who worked for three months at the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island sifting through the rubble and searching for remains.
Also added to the memorial this year is NYPD Det. Brian P. Simonsen, 42, of Calverton and Det. Brian Mulkeen, 33, of Monroe who both died in friendly fire shootings in separate confrontations.
"I can't erase the emptiness, the empty chairs at holiday events, the empty seat in the squad vehicle, for those of you, who've been out on the road with them, who served with them," said Hochul. "I can't erase the emptiness, but let's focus on the fullness, the fullness of their lives and the people they touched and perhaps inspired others to do exactly what those in uniform were doing today."
New names added also included officers from the ranks of several other New York police agencies, including other local departments, state police, Port Authority police, the state attorney general's office, and the department of Environmental Conservation.