The number of NYPD officers who fatally succumbed from 9/11-related illnesses has now surpassed the number of officers killed in the attacks, according to the New York State Police Officers' Memorial in Albany.
The memorial, located in Albany's Empire State Plaza, lists the engraved names of all the police officers in New York State who lost their lives in the line of duty. Of those names, 60 belong to cops who were killed on 9/11. Yesterday, the names of 20 more deceased officers were added, including 12 NYPD officers and one member of the Peekskill Police Department who died "from illnesses as a result of time spent doing search and recovery work in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center," according to Governor Cuomo's office.
There are now a recorded total of 71 officers who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses, surpassing the 60 killed in the initial attacks. And though reports have claimed no proven connection between Ground Zero debris and cancer, the Associated Press reports all 13 of the officers whose names were added to the memorial yesterday died of cancers. "I live near the World Trade Center. I inhaled the toxic smoke that permeated every square inch of lower Manhattan,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said yesterday. “I know how nobly and heroically the NYPD carried out their duties on that tragic September day and the terrible days that followed."
NYPD officers, first responders and other survivors suffering from Ground Zero-related cancers can now get their medical care covered under the $4.3 billion Zadroga Act, which was signed into law in 2011. Coverage for cancer was included in 2012, after a lengthy debate over whether exposure to Ground Zero debris could cause those illnesses.