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Police Commissioner's remarks at street dedication honoring Det. Steven McDonald

October 4, 2017

Transcribed remarks of NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill at the street co-naming ceremony honoring Det. Steven McDonald, on October 4, 2017, in front of the Central Park Precinct.

Good morning, everyone. And welcome to Detective Steven D. McDonald Way. I'm assuming the other transverses will be very jealous.

Thank you, Mayor [Bill] de Blasio, Speaker [Melissa] Mark-Viverito, [Council Member] Vanessa [Gibson], [Council Member] Helen [Rosenthal]. Thank you for all the hard work to get this done. It's important that we got it done. Members of the Central Park Precinct and, of course, Patti, Conor, Katie, the rest of the McDonald family — thank you all for coming here to honor Steven and to celebrate his incredible life and career.

I call Steven's life incredible, and it certainly was. It was also so much more than that. In the three decades since he was shot, Steven affected countless people, including myself. The first time I met him was a few short yards from here, back in 1998.

He affected people in countless ways, all around the world. And for everything he did for this police department and the city, alone, we could dedicate hundreds of streets to him — from the Bronx, to Staten Island, to Long Island — in his honor.

But today it's important that we're here. We're here at the precinct where Steven worked, where the course of his life changed in an instant. This is where Steven first transformed that senseless act of violence more than 31 years ago into an overpowering message of hope, forgiveness, and love.

His life was truly remarkable and his death left us all with an emptiness that no memorial could ever fill. Today's street dedication, or other ceremonies like it, will never ease the pain of his passing. But that's not the point of it, is it?

No, instead, this is an opportunity to celebrate how Steven chose to live, and to fully appreciate how he made every one of our lives better, and how every person who traverses this most beautiful part of our city — and it is, I got to work here and see all 843 acres for two years — will see Steven's name.

For generations to come, people from all over the world will read his name — see Steven McDonald Way. And each time that happens, it'll be another opportunity for the people who work in this place to tell Steven's story, to continue his work, and to spread further his amazing message of compassion, empathy, and self-sacrifice.

This city will never be able to repay the debt it owes Steven and his family because he wasn't just called to serve us, he was called to serve all people — in word, in deed, and in spirit.

The best we can do, and all he ever asked of us, was to honor Steven's legacy by trying to emulate his example.

So, when we face adversity, when life seems so unfair, so unjust, and unreasonable — we'll remember Steven.

When we endure hardship and suffer pain that makes us want to lash out and just give up — we'll remember Steven.

It won't be easy, but if we can think of him, we just might see that miracle happen. We might find the strength that Steven saw in all of us, and we might face each day with his optimism, his understanding, and determination.

That would do more than any plaque, memorial wall, or street dedication ever could. And although there will never be another Steven McDonald, we are so fortunate that his inspirational life continues to motivate us forward, no matter the obstacles, toward the best version of ourselves.

Finally, I want to thank all the men and women of the New York City Police Department who put on that uniform each and every day and fulfill the oath they took to the people of our great city.

They do so in the footsteps of giants like Steven McDonald and all the other heroes we've lost over the years. We'll never forget them. We'll never forget Steven McDonald.

Patti Ann, Conor: Thank you for everything that you do. You embody Steven's creed and you live up to his example every day. He loved you both dearly and thought the world of you, and so do we.

And you know that the NYPD will be here for you always. Steven McDonald was a New York City cop, a husband, father, son, and brother. He was a hero to millions around the globe.

Thank you all for coming to Detective Steven D. McDonald Way today, and every day, to celebrate and honor this extraordinary man.

I just have one final ask of Steven — I think tomorrow night is the opening night for the Rangers. I think Adam [Graves] is here. So, Steven, a little help would be appreciated. Go Rangers.

Thank you, everybody.


Street dedication honoring Det. Steven McDonald
Street dedication honoring Det. Steven McDonald