The Mayor’s remarks at LaGuardia Community College, where he delivered remarks at the Workforce 1 Healthcare Career Center, follow.
“Before we take any questions, let me just say that earlier this morning had a terrible reminder of the dangers that our men and women in law enforcement face every single day to keep us safe. Police Officer Peter Figoski – a 22-year veteran of the NYPD – was shot in the face after responding to a robbery in progress.
“He was taken to Jamaica Medical Center, where I’m very sorry to announce that he has died. Police Commissioner Kelly and I went there a few hours ago and met with some of his family. These conversations, as you might imagine, are the hardest that we have to do, and the worst part of being Mayor. It just does not get easier.
“So this holiday season, as we think about everything that we have to be thankful for, I’d just ask New Yorkers to keep Officer Figoski and his family, and the entire NYPD family, in their prayers and thoughts. Because of Officer Figoski and the thousands of other men and women in the NYPD ranks, New York is the nation’s safest big city year after year after year. The dedication of the NYPD has meant not only our streets are safer for our neighborhoods, it’s also meant more investments and more jobs, and that’s what we’re going to be here talking about today.
“We’re honored to have, as you will see in a little while, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius here with us to help announce a new program that will put more registered nurses to work, as well as a new fellowship position in our Department of Small Business Services which will help connect health care professionals to jobs. These new initiatives are part of our Administration’s effort to diversify our economy, create more good jobs in every community in all five boroughs, and that effort is a big reason why New York City has withstood the national economic downturn better than most other cities. But every day, we ask ourselves what more can we do? How else can we help those who are out of work connect with jobs?
“That’s why we’re here today. But it was a very sad call I got at four in the morning when I got woken up to be informed about the police officer’s death. I did meet with his parents when they came in and had to tell his mother and father how serious the condition was. At that point he had not yet passed away, but I think it’s fair to say nobody had any expectations that he would make it. It was a very serious wound.
“I met two of his daughters – 16, 18 years old, 14, 16, something like that. Reminded me of my two daughters. He had four daughters, the other two are upstate in college and will eventually get down here some time during the day today. He has a brother who is a retired NYPD police officer as well. So it’s a family that dedicated its lives to making this city safe, and it’s just such a tragedy. Barring any unforeseen consequences, this year we will have less than 500 murders or just about.
“If you go back to the year – I think it was the year after Officer Figoski joined the Police Department we had 2,200 murders in the city. The city is infinitely safer, but it’s not perfect, and I’m not sure what happened. It would appear that there was a robbery taking place, somebody called 911, this was the backup unit that Figoski was in. And one of the perps was in the apartment, came out and shot him once straight in the head.”