Aviation Dedication Ceremony

New York City Police Department Commissioner, James O’Neill, presided over an Aviation Dedication ceremony at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn today. The ceremony, held at the Department’s Special Operations and Aviation headquarters, included the naming of seven of the NYPD’s helicopters. Each helicopter is named for a member of the NYPD who was killed in the line of duty. The event was attended by family members of many of the fallen officers, NYPD executives, police officers, as well as retired and current members of the Aviation Unit.


 “These helicopters will serve as lasting reminders of the service, courage and sacrifice that these men embodied during their careers and that their loved ones carry on every day,” said Commissioner O’Neill.

“These aircraft are now part of their legacies that we will never forget.”

The NYPD Aviation Unit was established in 1929 and included aircraft fitted with floats to carry out water rescue missions. Helicopters were first introduced to the unit in 1948 and became an all-helicopter unit in 1954.

The helicopters are used for tactical support, fast roping, firefighting operations, port security, radiation detection, and air/sea rescue operations.

The following aircraft and fallen officers names were part of today’s ceremony (see below the photos for more on each officer):

  • Aircraft # 7  – Police Officer Schaberger
  • Aircraft # 14 – Police Officer Rivera
  • Aircraft # 22 – Detective Edwards
  • Aircraft # 17 – Patrolman Arvanitis & Patrolman Bishop
  • Aircraft # 18 – Patrolman Harrington & Patrolman Mariconda
  • Aircraft # 19  – Police Officer Rowley and Police Officer Trojahn
  • Aircraft # 20 – Detective Figoski

(More photos below)

POLICE OFFICER WILLIAM RIVERA, 78 PCT

End of Watch: 11/24/04

Officer William Rivera died as a result of injuries he sustained when he and his partner responded to a report of a ringing burglar alarm at 200 3rd Street, Brooklyn. When they arrived, they observed an open door and a suspect fleeing to the roof. While chasing the suspect on the rooftop, Officer Rivera lost his footing on a fire escape and fell at least 20 feet to the ground. He suffered multiple injuries, including to his back and legs, and needed several surgeries. While recovering from one of those operations, Officer Rivera suffered a massive seizure and died. The burglary suspect escaped and has not been apprehended nor identified. Rivera was posthumously awarded the NYPD’s Medal of Honor, and had served with the NYPD for 12 years.

 

DETECTIVE OMAR EDWARDS, HOUSING BUREAU IRT

End of Watch: 5/28/09

Detective Omar Edwards was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity while attempting to arrest a man who he caught breaking into his car in the confines of the 25 PCT. Detective Edwards, who was in plainclothes, had just finished his tour and was returning to his personal vehicle when he observed a man going through the vehicle and attempted to arrest him. The man broke free and fled on foot as Officer Edward chased him with his gun drawn. Three officers driving by observed Officer Edwards chasing the suspect and made a U-turn to follow them. One of the officers exited the patrol car and opened fire, striking Officer Edwards. Detective Edwards had served with the NYPD for two years and was assigned to the Housing Bureau Impact Response Team. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Detective.

 

POLICE OFFICER ALAIN SCHABERGER, 84 PCT

End of Watch: 3/13/11

Police Officer Alain Schaberger and other officers responded to a call of a domestic dispute in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. When they arrived, they were met by a female victim who told them the suspect had threatened to kill her and that she had an order of protection against him. Three officers, including Officer Schaberger, responded to the suspect’s home, entered the house, located the suspect, and removed him from the house onto a stoop in front. There, the victim identified him and the officers began to place the suspect under arrest. They had a handcuff on one wrist when a violent struggle ensued, and the suspect pushed Officer Schaberger backwards over a 21-inch railing causing him to fall nine feet to the sidewalk below. Officer Schaberger struck his head and fractured his neck. The suspect was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 28-½ years to life in prison. Schaberger had served with the NYPD for 10 years and had previously served with the United States Navy.

 

DETECTIVE PETER FIGOSKI, 75 PCT

End of Watch: 12/12/11

Detective Figoski and his partner responded to the call of a home invasion robbery. When they arrived, two other officers were on the scene interviewing the victim and a witness. Unknown to the officers, the robbery suspects were still hiding inside the apartment. When the two suspects attempted to flee, one began struggling with Det. Figoski’s partner. The second suspect then appeared and shot Det. Figoski in the head. Upon hearing the shot and seeing the armed male fleeing, Det. Figoski’s partner broke from the first suspect and pursued the gunman on foot, apprehending him after a two-block foot chase without any further gunfire. A total of five subjects were arrested and charged in connection with Det. Figoski’s murder. The suspect who shot him was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 45-years-to-life. Another suspect who testified against the shooter was convicted of 2nd degree murder and robbery and sentenced to 18 years. Det. Figoski had served with the NYPD for 22 years, and was posthumously promoted to the rank of Detective. He is survived by his four daughters.

 

PTL. PLATO ARVANITIS & PTL. GEORGE BISHOP, AVIATION UNIT

End of Watch: 12/21/67

Patrolmen Arvanitis and Bishop were on a traffic surveillance flight above the East River near the Manhattan Bridge when their helicopter malfunctioned and crashed into the water. Arvanitis, 38, had been with the NYPD for 12 years. Bishop, 30, had been with the NYPD for 2 years.

 

PTL. PATRICK HARRINGTON & PTL. JOSEPH MARICONDA, AVIATION UNIT

End of Watch: 3/1/70

Patrolmen Harrington and Mariconda were conducting traffic patrol above Glen Oaks, Queens when their helicopter suddenly lost power and crashed. Harrington had served with the NYPD for six years; Mariconda had served for 18 months. Prior to joining the NYPD, Mariconda had served as a helicopter pilot in the US Army during the Vietnam War, and had been shot down twice during his tour of duty.

 

PO JAMES ROWLEY & PO CHARLES TROJAHN, AVIATION UNIT

End of Watch: 7/22/83

Officers Rowley and Trojahn were flying their helicopter over Brooklyn when a sea plane struck their rear rotor, causing both aircraft to crash. Both officers and two of the four passengers on the sea plane were killed. Rowley had been with the NYPD for 17 years and was survived by his wife and two children. Trojahn had been with the NYPD for two years.