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NYPD to honor fallen officers in Friday ceremony at headquarters

The name of late NYPD Det. Steven McDonald,

The name of late NYPD Det. Steven McDonald, above with his wife, Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald, in 2013, will be added on Friday, May 4, to a plaque honoring officers who died from line-of-duty injuries. Credit: Steve Pfost

Late NYPD detectives Steven McDonald and Miosotis Familia, as well as more than 20 other department officers who died from illnesses contracted at Ground Zero will be honored Friday at police headquarters in Manhattan.

The names of McDonald, Familia and Sgt. Donald Conniff will be added to one of several plaques containing line-of-duty deaths in the NYPD. A total of 836 names of officers killed in the line of duty are inscribed on plaques hanging on the walls of the department’s Hall of Heroes in the lobby of Police Plaza. The oldest entry goes back to 1849.

McDonald died in January 2017 at the age of 59 from injuries sustained when he was shot by a teenager in Central Park in 1986. The shooting left McDonald a quadriplegic but he managed to learn to speak again and inspired many with his message of forgiveness.

Familia, 48, was shot to death on July 5, 2017, in the Bronx while sitting in a police vehicle. Alexander Bond, 34, who police said killed Familia and fled, shot himself to death after turning his gun on pursuing officers.

Conniff, 32, was severely injured by a drunken driver while going to his post on the security detail for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s second inauguration in January 1998. Officials said he stayed alive in a rehabilitation facility but died in December 2015 at the age of 50 as a result of the impact of his injuries.

During the Friday ceremony, some 22 new names of officers who died as a result of illnesses believed to have been contracted during recovery and rescue work after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will join a list of 153 names already on a special plaque. Included among the names previously added to the plaque are 23 officers killed at the Twin Towers in the attacks.

With the illness deaths continuing to mount, the NYPD will install a new Sept. 11 memorial plaque to accommodate future entries. Two additional civilian names will also be added to the list of Sept. 11 deaths on Friday, officials said.

Privately, NYPD officials said they thought the deaths attributed to Sept. 11 illnesses would have peaked by now. But it became apparent that a new plaque was needed to handle the mounting toll. It will be placed on a different wall space in the lobby opposite the current plaque.

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