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William Allee dies at 76; was NYPD chief of detectives during 9/11

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an NYPD spokesman said Allee worked feverishly at Ground Zero, inhaling dust and debris.

Chief of Detectives William Allee during a 2001

Chief of Detectives William Allee during a 2001 news conference at One Police Plaza. Photo Credit: New York Daily News / James Keivom

William Allee, who served as the NYPD’s chief of detectives from 1997 to 2003, died Thursday morning from an illness related to his work at Ground Zero, officials said. He was 76.

Allee had been ailing from leukemia for a number of years and suddenly needed to be hospitalized on Wednesday, an NYPD spokesman said.

After Allee died, the NYPD ceremonially escorted his body out of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon, the spokesman said, adding that his coffin was covered with an NYPD flag and taken to a funeral home on Staten Island, where he lived.

Funeral plans were not complete as of late Thursday. Officials expected there to be a wake and funeral Mass next week.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Allee went to Ground Zero and worked feverishly, inhaling a great deal of dust and debris, the NYPD spokesman said. The experience left Allee with months of breathing problems, the official said.

When Allee retired in early 2003, he had served the NYPD for over 40 years.

A colorful man, Allee once told reporters that he credited his father with keeping him on a straight path as a teenager growing up in Queens. In one reported story, Allee said his father told him that if he ever got involved with drugs he would quit his job, take him to school by the hand every day and wait outside to bring him home.

“If that doesn’t work, I will break both your legs and keep you home until whatever devil controls you is gone,” Allee told one newspaper about his father’s edict to him. From those experiences, Allee said he had great contempt for drug use.

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