Baldwinsville, NY – New York State Police (NYSP) Commander Jeffrey Cicora died in the line of duty on Aug. 10, following a lengthy battle with an illness that developed following his service at the World Trade Center attacks on Sep. 11, 2001, according to his department.
Although the exact nature of the 54-year-old retired commander’s illness was not disclosed, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his leg in December of 2015, The Post-Standard reported the following year.
The stage 4 cancer soon spread to his lungs, and Commander Cicora was told it was incurable.
“I started asking, ‘Why me? I’ve lived a good clean life,’” he told The Post-Standard at the time.
But instead of focusing on the negative, Commander Cicora turned his attention towards the medical battles that children at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital were facing instead.
“I thought, ‘If these little guys up there can fight it, so can I,’” he told the paper.
Commander Cicora and 20 of his fellow troopers soon organized a celebration for the kids at the hospital, and brought along 100 teddy bears dressed as troopers to hand out to the little warriors.
NYSP K9s also joined in the fun, and the children loved having the opportunity to interact with them, he said.
“It was nice to see the smiles on their faces,” Commander Cicora told The Post-Standard. “It was a good distraction.”
Commander Cicora joined the NYSP on Oct. 12, 1992, the agency said in a Facebook post.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “he worked at Ground Zero [and] was deployed to John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports,” according to his obituary.
“Jeff and his K9 partner, Devitt, searched planes, luggage, motorcades and airplane terminals for explosives for nearly six months,” his obituary read.
He rose through the ranks during his 24 years of service, and was ultimately promoted as sergeant and commander of the NYSP Troop D barracks in Lysander.
In 2013, Commander Cicora and his K9 partner were the first units to arrive to a 911 call of a stabbing, The Post-Standard reported.
He arrived to find that the suspect, David Renz, had raped a 10-year-old little girl and murdered the woman who tried to save her.
Commander Cicora and his partner successfully tracked Renz down in the woods, where he was arrested.
The veteran trooper received a Superintendent’s Commendation Award in 2014 for his work in that case, The Post-Standard reported.
In 2017, Commander Cicora’s 9/11-related illness forced him to retire from the NYSP, the department said in the Facebook post.
Commander Cicora leaves behind his wife of 21 years, Valerie, and his son, Jack, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his siblings, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Commander Cicora’s memorial service has been scheduled for Friday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York State Police Commander Jeffrey Cicora, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.