Street co-naming advanced for 49th Precinct 9/11 victim

A movement is underway to name a street in front of the 49th Precinct in honor of Police Officer Pat “Paddy” McGovern, who spent 19 years at the precinct before passing in May from cancer related to his exposure to toxins following 9/11.
Photo courtesy of Mickey Boyle

A cop who dedicated his life to serving his community and who recently passed away from 9/11 related ailments will be remembered in a special way.

Community Board 11 approved a street co-naming on Eastchester Road and Rhinelander Avenue, in front of the 49th Precinct, in honor of Police Officer Pat ‘Paddy’ McGovern, a 19-year NYPD veteran who passed away on Thursday, May 2.

McGovern, who spent his entire NYPD career in 49th Precinct, and who also patrolled in a seasonal detail at the Bronx Zoo, spent between 200 to 300 hours working ‘on the pile’ immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks, said retired 49th Precinct cop Mickey Boyle.

“His attitude was amazing,” said Boyle. “He had a lot of faith in God and that is what he went with. He was one of a kind. They don’t make too many Pat McGoverns.”

Boyle collected letters of support, including from previous commanding officers of McGovern and community leaders, for the co-naming, which supporters hope will be put before the NYC City Council in December, when it votes on street co-namings.

CB 11 voted to support the idea at its full board meeting on Thursday, June 27, said Al D’Angelo, CB 11 chairman.

Retired Detective Victor DiPierro, a longtime 49th Precinct Community Affairs cop, said that if approved, McGovern’s street sign would be placed alongside that of Police Officer Manny Vargas, right outside the precinct.

Vargas also passed away from a 9/11-related disease.

A rare type of brain cancer that has been linked to exposure to toxins from working near the original World Trade Center site after the attacks was the cause of his death, said DiPierro.

Officer McGovern’s brother, Jimmy McGovern, said that his brother developed colon, liver and lymph node cancers that were determined to be related to 9/11 chemical exposure.

“We are fine with the street co-naming,” said Jimmy McGovern. “The guys who worked with him who are retired are really pushing for it.”

He said his brother was a fun-loving guy who was a wonderful uncle, and whose life was cut short when he passed at the age of 43.

DiPierro, who worked on the street co-naming for Vargas, and helped steer it through the necessary approvals, said he was approached by McGovern’s former co-workers.

“Pat was a genuine guy who had a hard time saying no to people,” said DiPierro. “He would do the best to help a person out if he could do it. He was a ‘cop’s cop’ and he was out policing on the streets a lot.”

DiPierro said he recalls that Paddy McGovern was well liked in the 49th Precinct, and was selected to be a Police Benevolent Association delegate.

“He is another victim of 9/11 after the fact,” said DiPierro. “All of the first responders that are coming down with illnesses and dying years later are part of that unbearable tally.

He added: “I felt he should be forever recognized and that having a street co-naming is good tribute to Pat and the person he was.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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