NYS DOCS Memorial Monument Dedicated
at Training Academy in Albany


As bagpipes played, bugles echoed and rifle fire resounded, the New York State Department of Correctional Services on June 29, 2000, dedicated a permanent memorial in Albany to 32 civilian and uniformed employees who died as the result of inmate actions since 1861.

Names on 32 plaques in the DOCS Academy Memorial Room

Augustus T. Wright
Keeper, 1861

Edwin A. Craft
Keeper, 1869

George McKelvey
Principal Keeper, 1880

Archibald W. Benedict
Prison Guard, 1901

Nellie Wicks
Head Attendant, 1906

Daniel J. McCarthy
Officer, 1916

Dr. Charles H. North
Superintendent, 1917

Charles J. Gunther
Officer, 1919

Jesse Christian
Guard, 1923

James B. Durnin
Principal Keeper, 1927

George A. Durnford
Principal Keeper, 1929

Edwin B. Beckwith
Principal Keeper, 1930

Daniel J. Nickerson
Guard, 1934

James H. Donovan
Keeper, 1940

John Hartye
Guard, 1941

Edward T. Cunningham
Correction Sergeant, 1971

John J. D'Arcangelo Jr.
Correction Officer, 1971

Elmer G. Hardie
Industrial Training Supervisor, 1971

Herbert W. Jones Jr.
Industrial Account Clerk, 1971

Richard J. Lewis
Correction Officer, 1971

John G. Monteleone
Industrial Training Supervisor, 1971

William E. Quinn
Correction Officer, 1971

Carl W. Valone
Correction Officer, 1971

Elon F. Werner
Industrial Account Clerk, 1971

Ronald D. Werner
Correction Officer, 1971

Harrison W. Whalen
Correction Officer, 1971

Barry Sutherland
Parole Officer, 1976

Nancy Vial
Food Services Cook, 1977

Donna A. Payant
Correction Officer, 1981

Claude W. Cromie
Correction Officer, 1982

P. Michael Petrosino
Correction Officer, 1991

Frank J. Mydlarz
Correction Officer, 1999

For more detailed listing from ceremony brochure.
The ceremony took place in the recently-completed memorial park in front of the DOCS Training Academy's main entrance. The park's focal point is the Empire blue granite memorial [shown above with its insciption] that stands 12 feet high, six feet wide, 18 inches deep and weighs 19,711 pounds.

Thirty-two individual plaques adorn the walls of the Academy memorial room. Wording on the oak tableau is the same as that on the outdoor granite memorial.

Just inside the Academy's front entrance, a room off the main lobby has been set aside for the display of 32 individual plaques bearing the names of the agency's memorialize dead.

The deceased employees honored during the early afernoon ceremony at the memorial included 25 uniformed personnel and seven civilians. The list numbered 29 men and three women. Twelve names came from Attica, six from Auburn, five from Clinton, three from Sing Sing and one each from Elmira, Fishkill, Eastern, Green Haven and Great Meadow correctional facilities, plus one employee who worked in New York City in the parole division when it was part of Correctional Services until 1977. The 32 memorialized include

  • -11 who died in the 1971 riot at the Attica Correctional Facility.
  • -Three who held the title of Principal Keeper (now Deputy Superintendent for Security) at Auburn Correctional Facility when they were killed by inmates in 1927, 1929 and 1930.
  • -A Sing Sing Officer killed in 1916 by an escaping death row inmate, who was recaptured and executed eight days later.
  • -A hospital attendant killed by a criminally insane inmate at Matteawan State Hospital (now Fishkill Correctional Facility) only four days before the victim was to leave to attend nursing school.
  • -Green Haven Correction Officer Donna Payant murdered by an inmate in 1981. She is the sole female correctional officer in New York to die in the line of duty.

Among the more than 1,500 guests attending the ceremony were nearly 100 family members of some of the 32 employees who lost their lives as the result of inmate actions. They included 64 from Attica and 16 from Auburn. Also present to honor their colleagues were eight of the surviving hostages from the 1971 riot at Attica.

Katherine N. Lapp, the Governor's Director of Criminal Justice, represented him at the ceremonies and declared: "He is proud of the difficult and dangerous work performed every day by Correctional employees. That is why he has been at your side since he took office. He authorized the largest expansion in history of maximum-security beds, most of them disciplinary housing cells to control inmates who attack staff and disrupt operations. He has increased Correction Officer staffing alone by 17 percent since 1995, while the inmate population rose by 5 percent. He authorized the purchase of cell extraction vests for Officers in disciplinary housing units as well as tactical vests for CERT teams. He has signed a law that adds up to five years to the sentences of 'inmate throwers.'"

Senate Codes Committee Chairman Dale M. Volker, whose district includes Attica, said, "We honor Correctional employees today who paid the ultimate price for their devotion to duty, state and country. It is a tragedy that, until now, New York never acknowledged with a statewide memorial the incredible sacrifice of both Correction Officers and civilian employees. That was particularly true at Attica after 1971. We are trying to deal with at least some of that oversight today."

Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry, chairman of the Corrections Committee, said, "I am honored to be here today to pay homage to the Correctional employees who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties to the people of our state. I am proud to stand here today with their families and coworkers in the dedication of this memorial to them. It stands as a reminder to all of us of the difficult work that we expect every day from the Department and its employees."

Additional excerpts from
Commissioner Goord's remarks

I am especially thankful for the presence today of nearly 100 family members of the 32 employees who have died in the line of duty. You honor all of us by your presence here today. I want to welcome each of you to what will be an annual ceremony to remember your loved one.

I also want to commend the employees listed in the brochure that you received this afternoon. The planning and work committees who designed and built this memorial, as well as the memorial room inside the Academy. I think they did a great, great job in preparation for today's ceremony.

Today is an important day. It is a day that we officially recommit ourselves to our future by remembering our past.

Governor Pataki and the Legislature have made our streets safer by strengthening the laws against violent offenders. We have seen record decreases in crime all across our State. Tens of thousands of violent crimes will be avoided in the future - because these repeat felons and violent predators are behind prison walls. . . off our streets. . . out of our communities . . . forgotten by the general public . . . but not by you.

In his remarks, Commissioner Goord said, "No one should have to go to work each day and wonder if they will come home each night. No family should have to worry if their loved one is safe on the job. But that is what each and every one of our employees and their families face each day. That is not what going to work is supposed to be about. It should not take courage just to go to work."

Commissioner Goord said it was that courage and ultimate sacrifice paid by employees that were being honored today: "It is like the courage shown every day by the employees present here."

Commissioner Goord noted that, with increased sentences for violent offenders and the elimination of discretionary parole, the percentage of violent offenders is on the rise. He noted that employees are given the tools to deal with that population: "The training provided at the Academy. The experience and judgment of our employees in the field. The dedication of our work force. The professionalism of our employees. These tools will guide us in the new millennium.

More on DOCS memorial:
NYCHS site pages -- NYS DOCS site pages --

"We also have the tools provided by Governor Pataki," Commissioner Goord said. "He has been a strong supporter of this system since the day he took office. He has given us the cells we need to house violent offenders. He has increased staffing. He has enriched programs that provide inmates with positive direction for their energies."

The ceremony, which will become an annual event, took place in the recently-completed permanent memorial park at the Department's 50-acre Training Academy campus at 1134 New Scotland Road in Albany.

Aerial view shows entire DOCS Training Academy campus in Albany.

The memorial park includes landscaping and assorted flowers, trees and shrubberies; an outer two-foot-high circular concrete retaining wall; park benches; lighting and 40 ballards with approximately 130 feet of decorative chains. A "memorial mall" of stone, highlighted by three flag poles (displaying the national, state and MIA flags), connects the monument site to the entrance of the Academy.

Memorial dedication guests had opportunity to visit the Training Academy's
Planning for the site began in 1998 while actual construction got underway in October of 1999.

The Academy was originally constructed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1952 as the Mater Christi Seminary. The Department leased the facility and grounds in 1973 and purchased the complex in 1987. Approximately 1,000 Correction Officer recruits train at the facility each year, with an equal number of higher-level staff receiving specialized training there annually. The Academy has a staff of approximately 45.

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