Putnam County had never seen anything like it. Ten thousand police officers standing eight deep lined Gleneida Avenue last Thursday from the intersection of Route 6 to Route 301. They were there to pay their respects to Poughkeepsie Police Detective John Falcone, shot and killed by a deranged man, who also murdered his wife before committing suicide.
Officers from as far away as Chicago, Canada, Atlanta, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts joined their counterparts from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area outside St. James Church.
Falcone, 44, who grew up in Carmel, served for a time with the Carmel and Kent Police Departments, finally landing a position in Poughkeepsie. There he was admired and respected by his peers and those he protected on a daily basis. Falcone was called a “cop’s cop” over and over again by those who knew him.
State Senator Greg Ball called the outpouring of love for the officer and his family “heart-wrenching. We are all saddened by the untimely death and pray for John’s family, who will live with this nightmare for the rest of their lives.”
James O’Neill, President of the Putnam Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, named in memory of 9-11 hero Stephen Driscoll, said law enforcement was a “brotherhood. We come from all over to show support. Cops are family.”
NYPD Sergeant Michael Hengel of Kent remembered serving with Falcone in the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department Cadet Corps. “John was the nicest and most unassuming person you would ever want to meet,” Hengel said. “His loss will be felt for years in Carmel—the community where he grew up as well as in Poughkeepsie, where he served for 18 years and was truly admired.”
Deputy Chief Mike Corrigan, a former member of the Putnam Sheriff’s Department who now serves with the New Fairfield Police Department in Connecticut, remembered Falcone as the “most sincere cop I’ve ever known. He was the type of man who you would want to assist your loved ones if an officer was needed. John always wanted to be a cop. He died doing it.”
Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson said Falcone’s “senseless and untimely death was a real tragedy. We will always remember John Falcone for the man he was and for his heroism that saved a child’s life.”
Congresswoman Nan Hayworth also again attended the funeral, telling the Courier the day was her “saddest since taking office. Each day great men and women like Officer Falcone make sacrifices by protecting all of us from harm. This brave man has made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Inside St. James Church, Archbishop Timothy Dolan presided over the funeral Mass. He told the parents of the slain officer—Margaret and John Falcone, “Pope Paul VI once thanked his mother for giving her son to the church. I say thanks for giving John to the community.”
The Rev. Anthony Sorgie, pastor of St. James Church, also offered comfort to Falcone’s parents and his sister telling them and hundreds of mourners, “No sacrifice is ever in vain. Greater love hath no one than to lay down his life for his brother.”