NYPD remembers its oldest fallen heroes
by Grace Carmen
May 19, 2009 | 978 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Police and community members alike gathered Saturday, May 16, to honor their oldest fallen officers at the recently renovated Police Gardens burial plot located in Cypress Hills Cemetery on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.

The site holds the remains of officers who died both of natural causes and in the line of duty. The burial plot was established over 100 years ago, after the Draft Riots of 1863. One buried officer, James Hoadley, even rode with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

According to NYPD Traffic Squad Benevolent Association President Joseph Wolff, it is "the first time in North America that the police were recognized by the civilian population," and honored with a proper burial. The site had since been vandalized and forgotten.

Traffic Squad Vice President John Valles recalls what the memorial looked like only a few weeks ago.

"The police statue is gone, stolen 40 years ago I guess because of the bronze, and no one was really taking care of the plot," he said. It was not until recently that the Traffic Squad pushed for the site to be cleaned up. "Cypress Hills Cemetery pitched in and did a really nice job cleaning it up."

A memorial service and wreath laying ceremony took place at 11 a.m. to celebrate the rejuvenated plot. Five wreaths were placed at the memorial by several organizations: the NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the Long Island Shields and the NYPD Traffic Squad, New York State Fraternal Order of Police, 10-13 Association for Brooklyn and Staten Island, and the NYC Police Reserves Association.

The site is owned by the NYPD Honor Legion and is no longer used for burial.

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