WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - As they commemorate National Police Week, the Westchester Department of Public Safety has found a touching way to celebrate the lives of several members of the force who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty.
County police officials have designed a memorial vehicle that “will serve as a rolling tribute” to the 18 members of the service that have given their lives while protecting the people of Westchester.
The special service vehicle contains the Department of Public Safety’s patch, as well as the historic patches of the former Sheriff’s Department and Parkway Police, two agencies that merged nearly four decades ago to form the modern Department of Public Safety. The rear window sports the phrase “Remember the Fallen/Honoring Those Who Serve,” and an emblem with the number 18 in commemoration of the 18 fallen officers.
Police said that the Ford Explorer SUV, which was assigned to the Patrol Services Division, was on full display outside of the Westchester County Center in White Plains on Thursday during the county’s annual Police Memorial Service and Honors Award Ceremony.
In a statement, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said that “it is our responsibility to never forget the 18 members of Westchester’s Department of Public Safety, Parkway Police and Sheriff’s Department, who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of our county. This memorial vehicle is another way that we keep that commitment.”
The 18 fallen officers are among 86 members of law enforcement who have died in Westchester in the line of duty. They include:
- Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith, 1792;
- Police Officer Raymond Tehan, 1925;
- Special Police Officer John Murphy, 1928;
- Police Officer George Segnit, 1929;
- Police Officer Clifton Cypher, 1930;
- Police Officer Michael Erdley, 1933;
- Police Officer Manuel Borgos, 1938;
- Police Officer Reuben Conklin, 1943;
- Police Officer Carlos Bishop, 1946;
- Police Officer John Chabala, 1948;
- Police Officer George Ruthven, 1954;
- Police Officer Francis Bradley, 1960;
- Police Officer James Groark, 1966;
- Deputy Sheriff William Fitzgerald, 1968;
- Police Officer John Gonda, 1969;
- Deputy Sheriff Kieran Grant, 1979;
- Police Officer Gary Stymiloski, 1985;
- Sgt. Charles Rice, Jr., 2009.
Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth said that the commemorative patrol vehicle will be rotated through various police patrol posts, and will be present on the parkways patrolled by county police, at county parks, the Westchester County Airport, Mount Kisco and Cortlandt.
“It is my hope that the vehicle will spark some conversations between our officers and members of the public about the dangers of police work and the sacrifice of our fallen heroes,” he said. “These 18 men gave their lives protecting Westchester County and the way of life we all cherish.”