Ret. ADW William Mendoza
In Memoriam

We mourn his passing and recall some Correction History images in his life.

ADW "Bill" Mendoza, circa 1982.

In 2007, retired NYC Correction Officer Jimmy Vann, who among other things used to do the illustrations and cartoons for DOC newsletters and other departmental publications, sent the New York Correction History web site an intriguing group photo.


This information-gaps picture, entitled DOC mystery photo: When female officers could wear skirts, led to the correction history web site establishing the DOC Mystery Photos series. Note "mystery photo" wasn't capitalized in the first photo's title. The term didn't get capitalized until the strong response prompted emergence of a series of Mystery Photos.
Vann believed that the site's visitors might find the image interesting and might even fill some gaps in the information he had about this picture (right). They did.

Because of those information gaps, the webmaster cast the picture as being a bit of a mystery. Thus was born the DOC Mystery Photo. Only at the time, the idea of doing such a photo series hadn't yet dawned on those involved. So the first in what eventually became the series wasn't given a number. Prominent in the unnumbered original "mystery photo" was ADW Bill Mendoza, up front and center with his ceremonial honor guard shoulder cord and his all-embracing smile.

Among those responding to the orginal "mystery photo" appearing on the correction history site was the retired ADW, ex-Bronx-ite living in the Orlando, Florida, area. He wrote:

"Good Day:

"My name is William (Bill) Mendoza, retired Assistant Deputy Warden.

"With regard to the mystery photo . . . I was privileged to be assigned to the Academy as an instructor and Commanding Officer of the Recruitment Unit. I worked with a group of people whom I regard to this day were dedicated professionals who represented the Department and the City of New York at its best.

"Commissioner Ramos ultimately became its director and was responsible for allowing me to lead one of the most, if not the most successful recruitment teams within any city uniformed forces.

"I do believe that this photo was one of many taken to be used for a poster and flyer campaign which were displayed in store fronts, city subway and bus system, with a phone number to call for career information.

"Perhaps Commissioner Ramos would be able to confirm this . . . . . . . . .


On December 30, 2009, Bill again contacted the correction history web site with an email offer of images:

Tom . . . I have found a bunch of photos that perhaps you might be interested in . . . Chief Tom Murray, Warden Vernon Bain, Members of the newly formed CERT Team, Puerto Rican Day Parade photos of Deputy Chief Hector Eugui, and Assistant Deputy Warden Ralph Mercado (Boot Camp Commanding Officer at the time). Let me know if you would be interested and I'll scan them and send them to you . . . . Best wishes


After receiving an affirmative response to his generous offer, Mendoza sent a series of four emails with image attachments on January 06, 2010:

  • XXX


    This photo was the first time members of the Departmental Recruitment Unit set up a recruitment push with a photographic display of the various assignments within the Department.

    This was at the Coliseum on 59th street and Columbus Circle.

    Officer David Melendez on the left - myself - and a female officer whose name I can not remember.

  • Tom:


    Members of the Departmental Ceremonial Unit based at the Academy.

    L to R,

    Officer Ed Zapatoki,
    Officer Ali Rahman,
    Officer (can't remember name),
    Officer Lenny Holmes,
    and myself.

  • Tom:


    Recognition of the Departmental Recruitment Unit by the Marine Corps representatives for assisting in recruitment of ex-Marine personnel for the position of Correction Officer.


    Marron Hopkins, myself, Marine Sgt (name unk) Jacquline McMikens, Marine Major (name unk) and Officer David Melendez.

  • Tom:


    An official photo of the Recruitment unit with Commissioner Ramos and Chief Tom Murray in front of HDM.

    Can't remember much as far as names and dates.

    This is what happens when you reach 50 years of age!!!

    Just kidding . . . . . . .

The images and caption notes which Bill transmitted in the separate emails were assembled into a correction history web site page entitled DOC mystery photos 13 - 16: From Ret. ADW William Mendoza's Scrapbook


The DOC mystery photos 13 - 16: From Ret. ADW William Mendoza's Scrapbook top-of-the-page banner headline and images spread.

On May 24th, 2012, C.O. Barry Raboy posted on the Facebook New York Correction History group page a Nov. 24th, 1975 photo he had come across on the Internet. He invited any other members of the NY Correction History FB group to help him identify the Rikers Island facility area in which the photo was taken during the period when inmate rioters held hostage five Correction Officers, all eventually released.

His invitation generated some interesting responses which this site's webmaster (who happens to double as the FB group admin) incorporated into a web page that included additional information and images.

That page's icon box on the site's home page refers to the Raboy-submitted image as a "Mystery Photo." (See enlarged version below right.)

Among the comments generated by the Facebook posting and the web site's page were two identifying Bill Mendoza as among those in the Mystery Photo.


Ira Finkelstein:
7 Block at HDM, Bill Mendoza siting on stool with helmet on his lap.

Evelyn A Mirabal
That could be Mendoza on the left.

At the start of March 2014, Jimmy Vann and Jacqueline Perry brought to the attention of their fellow Facebook New York Correction History group members the sad news of Bill's passing. Later, when more information became known, the following was reported:

"Memorial service for
"Saturday, 10 am, March 8, 2014,
"11513 South Orange Blossom Trail "Orlando, Fl 32837
"Church doors open at 9 AM

"Note* Ana, (Bill's wife) stated, it was Bill's wishes that instead of flowers, he preferred that any donations be made to:

"Alzheimer's Assoc


"The Orlando Union Rescue Mission
"1521 West Washington St.
"Orlando, Fl. 32805"

In her March 1st 2014 message reporting of Bill's passing, the words of Ms. Perry, though brief, serve well to convey the sentiments of many of his NY Correction colleagues:

I have just been informed that Retired ADW Billy Mendoza has passed away in Florida

He was a nice, kind, compassionate man who cared about his staff and the professional way we did our job.

Billy was an instructor at the Academy and well respected throughout the Department...

He will be missed.


WEBMASTER NOTE: Below are links to the correction history web site pages in which the Mendoza-connected DOC Mystery Photos appear: