By JOSEPH SPECTOR
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY -- The state on Tuesday honored 27 police officers who died in the line of duty, including Poughkeepsie Det. John Falcone and Chemung County Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Alexander.
The police officers were honored at the state's annual Police Officers' Memorial Remembrance Ceremony at Empire State Plaza.
The ceremony honored nine officers who died in the line of duty in 2011, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Falcone, 44, was an 18-year veteran of the Poughkeepsie City Police Department. He died Feb. 18, 2011, after being shot by a suspect he was attempting to arrest.
The officer's father, John Falcone Sr., said he appreciated the recognition of his son's service.
"It was a great honor and to see my son's name on the wall was also very nice," he said.
The memorial honors 1,324 officers who have lost their lives in service in New York. The memorial also honors 138 police agencies in New York and five federal agencies.
The officers' names are placed randomly on the memorial without rank. It is done that way to signify that every officer's sacrifice is the same, state officials said.
Alexander, 26, of Elmira, was killed when his patrol vehicle collided with another vehicle while on duty in Ashland on June 12.
Pat Alexander, the officer's mother, said the event helps with the family's grieving. Hundreds of officers from around the state came to the ceremony, despite heavy rain during most of it.
"It's hard to go through it," Pat Alexander said, "and it's very humbling, and we so appreciate that people take time out of their day to come out in this weather and honor our son."
Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ronald Knapp said the memorial is a reminder of the dangers of law enforcement.
"It brings home the reality of police work," Knapp said.
Knapp said that, "We're glad that we're able to be here and support the family and honor the memory, not only of Detective Falcone, but of all these officers who have given their lives over the years."
The event honored 13 members of the New York City Police Department who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses.
The state also recognized five officers who died in previous years. Those included Kingston Officer John Boyd, who died in 1918, and Westchester County Sgt. Charles Rice Jr., who died in 2009.
Other officers who died in 2011 that were honored include:
-- State Police Trooper Kevin Dobson who died as a result of injuries he sustained after being struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop in Erie County on March 26.
-- Officer Michael Califano of the Nassau County Police Department who died Feb. 5 after injuries in a car accident.
-- Nassau County Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf who died in a shooting incident on March 12.
-- New York City Officer Alain Schaberger who died after being pushed over a railing on March 13.
-- Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman who was shot and killed by an individual who had barricaded himself in his garage in Knoxboro on June 7.
-- New York City Officer Peter Figoski was shot and killed by a burglary suspect on Dec. 12.
-- Senior Special Agent John Capano of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who was off-duty when he entered a pharmacy in Nassau County during a robbery and was shot and killed on Dec. 31.