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Founder of National Law Enforcement Memorial Dies at 97

June 25, 2015  | 

One of the walls of names at the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial during National Police Week. The memorial was the dream of Congressman Mario Biaggi. (Photo: Lynn Cronquist Photography)
One of the walls of names at the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial during National Police Week. The memorial was the dream of Congressman Mario Biaggi. (Photo: Lynn Cronquist Photography)

Former U.S. Rep. Mario Biaggi, the New York City police legend who founded the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) in 1984, died at his Bronx home yesterday at the age of 97.

Biaggi joined the New York City Police Department in 1942 and went on to serve with great distinction for 23 years. At the time of his retirement and for many years later, he was the most decorated police officer in New York City history. In his 23 years on the police force, Biaggi was injured 10 times in the line of duty, and he received 28 heroism commendations, including the Police Medal of Honor for Valor—the department’s highest award, given for extreme acts of courage. He retired in 1965 as a detective lieutenant.

In 1968, Biaggi was elected to serve in the United States Congress, where for the next 20 years he was law enforcement’s most vocal and effective voice on Capitol Hill. In 1984, Biaggi formed the NLEOMF and his legislation to have a national monument built in honor of America’s law enforcement officers became law that same year. His dream became a reality when the memorial was dedicated in 1991. Today, the memorial stands proudly in historic Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C. and bears the names of 20,538 law enforcement officers who died in the performance of duty.

“Our nation has lost a man of great courage, compassion and achievement,” said NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd, who also served as Biaggi’s legislative assistant for 10 years. “Through a life devoted to public service, Congressman Biaggi touched countless lives in a very positive and meaningful way.”

In 1998, received NLEOMF's Distinguished Service Award. In accepting the organization’s top award, he said, “I am a recipient of an award that is extremely significant, probably the most significant award I’ve received in an entire lifetime of public service and law enforcement.”

Biaggi was once dubbed “New York’s best service congressman” by New York magazine and his legislative achievements on behalf of the elderly, children, law enforcement officers, and many others were remarkable. Yet, when asked later in life what would be his legacy, he said, “Your legacy is your family.” Biaggi is survived by his four children, Barbara, Jacqueline, Richard and Mario II, as well as 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is a private non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. NLEOMF maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., which contains the names of 20,538 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. NLEOMF is now working to create the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

David @ 6/25/2015 10:15 PM

REST IN PEACE SIR! We Shall Do Our Best To Represent & Honor You As You Have Honored Us & Our Profession.

westcoastleo @ 6/26/2015 12:29 AM

Bless this man. Rest in peace my friend you are in a place with 20,538 officers who will be with you forever.
Has OB made a statement yet? Will he send his regards? Attend the funeral?

Jon Retired LEO @ 6/26/2015 11:04 AM

westcoastleo, I wouldn't hold my breath on any of the things you just mentioned. To my knowledge he hasn't acknowledged the lady who turned in the killer from Charleston yet. Rest in Peace Sir! You stand as a retired officer who will be hard to follow. I Salute you.

Corporal James Barth @ 7/14/2015 6:21 PM

R.I.P. NYPD Lieutenant Biaggi, may God bless you and may God keep you in his loving care. Thank you from all of us in Law Enforcement for founding the NLEOMF and all that you've given our profession throughout your life. I'll always look up up to you and am proud to have known you. I pray that you'll continue to watch over all of us in Law Enforcement from above.

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