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Veteran Police Officer In Westchester Dies From 9/11 Related Illness

Kathleen O’Connor Photo Credit: New Rochelle PBA
The New Rochelle Police Department headquarters. Photo Credit: File

A longtime police officer in Westchester County has died as a result of a 9/11 related illness.

New Rochelle Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Gazzola announced that on Thursday, Aug. 16, Police Officer Kathleen O’Connor, a 20-year veteran of the force, died following a “long and courageous battle."

O’Connor began her career in New Rochelle in January 1998 and was most recently assigned as a Warrant Officer in the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, O’Connor was active at Ground Zero, assisting with rescue and recovery efforts, where she volunteered to help first responders sifting through piles of debris.

Gazzola called O’Connor “an exemplary police officer, (who) will be sorely missed by those who knew her.”

O'Connor is survived by her husband, Anthony Funigiello.

"The Police Association of New Rochelle lost a great friend and colleague yesterday and the people of New Rochelle lost a true hero. After a long battle with illness contracted while participating in search and rescue at Ground Zero on 9-11 Police Officer Kathleen O'Connor," Det. Chris Greco, the President of the New Rochelle PBA said in a statement. Funigiello passed away with dignity and grace. Officer O'Connor will be missed but never forgotten. The City of New Rochelle and it's Police Department will honor Kathy accordingly in the coming days, and forever thereafter."

Arrangements have not yet been announced.

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