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  NYPD      [ THOSE LOST ]    [ UNIFORMED]    [ PAPD]    [ SURVIVORS ]    [ FDNY ]
Remembering The Finest
As part of NY1's special 9/11 coverage, Andrew Siff takes a look at how the terrorist attack affected the New York Police Department.
Video clips can be viewed with the free Real Player.
In an instant, one number can become meaningful - a piercing summary of pain, shock and heroism wrapped into one. For the New York City Police Department, that number is 23. That's the number of cops who died in the smoldering collapse of the World Trade Center.

In one day, the NYPD lost more police officers then it ever had in any year before. The 23 cops who didn't make it out of the Twin Towers alive were among the first to arrive on September 11, and they died having helped save thousands of people.

Here are some of their stories, and the stories of some of their fellow officers who survive them.
 
FOLLOW THE VIDEO LINKS TO WATCH THE COMPLETE PROFILES
Jerome Dominguez

Jerome Dominguez was an officer with the Emergency Services Unit who never came back from the Trade Center on 9/11.

An avid scuba diver, Jerome had just returned from a camping trip, and September 11 was his first day back.

As his family grieves, his infectious laugh and spirit is just a memory for his fiance, fellow officer Jessica Ferenczy.

 
  WATCH VIDEO [7:21]
ESU Officers

Fourteen of the 23 police officers who died on September 11 were in the elite Emergency Services Unit - the cops that cops call when they need help.

NY1 sat down with four ESU members who survived that fateful day - Lt. John Murphy, Sgt. Billy Kennedy, Detective John Toscano, and officer John Busching - to talk about the reality of losing more than a dozen highly-trained colleagues in one morning.

 
  WATCH VID [10:35]
Rodney Gillis

Here's what Police Officer Curtis Garvey remembers with crystal clarity that morning: His sergeant and supervisor, Rodney Gillis, a cop's cop whom everyone respected, had finished his midnight to 8 a.m. shift, but was still at work in the Emergency Services Unit truck bay in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Gillis and Garvey were talking about the beautiful morning, and finishing tasks they had performed countless times before, when the towers were struck by two hijacked planes.

Gillis soon arrived at the South Tower. He was inside when it collapsed. In his final minutes, Rodney Gillis made a phone call to his grandmother.

Gillis was two weeks shy of his 34 birthday. A father of three he was an avid boater, a saxophone player, and a man who loved to listen to Frank Sinatra with his grandmother.

Gillis, like all ESU cops, was trained to talk jumpers off of ledges, to rescue drowning victims, and to save people from life-threatening situations. Colleagues say Gillis did it all. And yet even though he was known as the consummate professional, colleagues and family members say there is no doubt Gillis had a sense of humor.

Gillis' remains were identified by the Medical Examiner’s office only last month, an enormous comfort to his large and supportive family, as well as to his brothers in the Emergency Services Unit.

 
  WATCH VIDEO [9:21]
Ray Kelly

In addition to 14 members of the Emergency Services Unit, nine other officers lost their lives that day as well. They ranged from Glen Pettit of the Police Video Unit to 38-year-old John Perry, who had gone to headquarters the morning of the 9/11 to hand in his retirement papers, only to help his fellow cops during the disaster. They included Moira Smith, an officer from the 13th Precinct who was the only female NYPD officer who died, and Transit Officer Ramon Suarez, who was memorably photographed escorting an injured woman to safety from the Trade Center - and yet he still went back in to try and save more.

The one common thread? All 23 cops rushed to the Twin Towers with one job in mind - to get people out.

And while the NYPD grieves for its lost officers, the man whose job it is to rebuild that unit and lead the entire department is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

On September 9 of this year, Commissioner Kelly will give replica shields with the badge number of each of the 23 cops to the families in a special ceremony at the Police Memorial in Battery Park City. For the NYPD, it is a way to commemorating those officers who lost their lives rushing to save the lives of thousands of others.

The city's top cop touched on the efforts of those on the front lines, as well as the families of those who died, in an interview with NY1 News.

 
  WATCH VIDEO [8:14]
  NYPD      [ THOSE LOST ]    [ UNIFORMED]    [ PAPD]    [ SURVIVORS ]    [ FDNY ]
 
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