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New York State Courts 20th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11

September 14, 2021 By Kimberly Castro-Oliver, Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
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The New York State Court System hosted its annual commemoration of September 11, 2001, at The Brooklyn based Court Academy, named after Captain William Thompson, Sergeant Thomas Jurgens, and Sergeant Mitchel. Among the attendees were families of the fallen court officers, Hon. Janet, Hon. Lawrence K. Marks, Joseph Baccellieri Jr, Lieutenant Vincent Sinclair, Sergeant Peter Robinson, and CO Leticia Lynch.

Chief Joseph Baccellieri Jr. welcomed the families, court officers, and judges in attendance to commemorate the 20-Year Anniversary of 9/11. Chief Baccellieri led the ceremony by honoring and remembering their three fallen court officers after which the academy was named. Captain William H. Thompson, Sergeant Thomas Jurgens, Sergeant Mitchel Wallace, and all the New Yorkers we lost on such a tragic day were memorialized in the debut of a short film titled Reflections of 9/11. The video documented the interviews of eight courageous court officers who were awarded the Medal of Valor in 2002 by Chief Judge Kaye after displaying such heroic action at the World Trade Center.

Court Officer Lethisha Lynch, NY Supreme Court, Criminal Term sings “God Bless America” at the New York State Courts 20th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at the Academy in Brooklyn, NY.
Photo by David Handschuh/UCS

“Let this serve as a reminder of our commitment to never forget. Their actions epitomize the true spirit of America, and their bravery reflects the values that first responders dedicate themselves to helping others no matter the cost,” Chief Baccellieri said.

Following the Posting of the Colors, Lieutenant Vincent Sinclair proudly led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Shortly after, Sergeant Peter Robinson sang the “Star-Spangled Banner”, and court officer Leticia Lynch concluded the ceremony with a rendition of “God Bless America”.

As an exemplary court officer, Lt. Sinclair shares his journey through the state’s court system.

Lt. Sinclair

“I started my career/entered the Academy in January 2006. After graduating, I was assigned to Night Court in New York County Criminal Court. Shortly thereafter, I transferred to Queens County Criminal Court. During my time in Queens, I joined the NYS Courts Ceremonial Unit and the NYS Courts Special Response Team.

In late 2009, after applying and interviewing, I was offered a position by the Chief of Training, Joseph Baccellieri, as an Academy Instructor at the NYS Court Officers Academy. As full-time Instructors, we are certified by the Division of Criminal Justice Services as Police Firearms Instructors, Defensive Tactics, General Topics, Police Mental Health, and now Procedural Justice Instructors.

Over the course of the year, we conduct a number of various training classes. The training ranges from Basic Recruit training to a diverse list of In-Service and other Specialized training classes for the over four thousand Court Officers employed throughout the state.

In addition to being a full-time Instructor, I am currently the Statewide Coordinator for the NYS Courts Ceremonial Unit and also work on other training development projects”.

The Chief Justice of New York State and Chief Judge of New York, Hon. Janet DiFiore, stated, “The events of September 11th are seared and etched forever in our hearts and in our minds. On that day, we witnessed the very worst but most importantly the very best of human nature. Within minutes, scores of our New York State court officers reflexively and instinctively joined the thousands of first responders who were. . .rushing to a scene to help, to assist, and to render aid in what at that very moment, not a single one of them could have comprehended.”

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