The family of late Detective Dillon Stewart was joined by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other city officials in the dedication of a Prospect Park playground in Stewart's honor. The Parade Ground Playground, at the corner of Caton Avenue and Parade Place, near East 16th, was renamed the Dillon Stewart Playground.
Stewart was killed on November 28, 2005, when he and his partner stopped a car for a traffic violation. Someone in the car shot at the police and a bullet just missed his bulletproof vest and pierced his heart. Stewart realized he was shot as he was chasing the suspect. The suspect, Allan Cameron, was found guilty of murder last month.
The playground recently underwent a $1.5 million reconstruction, using funds secured by former Brooklyn City Council member and now U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke. Parks Commissioner Benepe said, "As children play in this renovated facility, they can be inspired by the dedication and sacrifice embodied in the playground’s namesake." Police Commissioner Kelly added, "It is fitting that we dedicate this playground to him because we know he had a special place in his heart for children -- his own, whose photographs he kept under his uniform hat, and the ones he met in the course of his work. He will be remembered by all of us as a hero."
The Post has photographs of the ceremony; Stewart's mother said, "All my days will be spent here." And Stewart's widow Leslyn, who is raising their daughters, ages 3 and 8, after recounting hearing Stewart's final message to her, a voicemail he left after he was shot and on his way to the hospital, told the Daily News yesterday, "I want people to know that this is a story of love, of love's trials and love's triumphs, the love of life."
One of the first parks dedicated to a fallen police officer is located in SoHo and called Joseph Petrosino Park (aka Kenmare Square). Lt. Petrosino was an Italian immigrant who joined the force and eventually traveled to Palermo, Sicily to investigate and arrest members of the mafia, who were plaguing downtown Manhattan. He was assassinated in 1909 while on that foreign assignment.
Photographs from the NY Post