Levittown, NY – Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer William J. Leahy died in the line of duty on June 6, when he succumbed to cancer that developed following his service at the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001.
The 49-year-old officer passed away at his parents’ home just one month after a surgery that he and his loved ones had hoped would save his life, the New York Daily News reported.
“[Officer Leahy was] tough as nails and always got the job done,” Port Authority Police Lieutenant Daniel Rhein told the paper. “At the same time, he would call his mother every day.”
Lt. Rhein described his longtime colleague and friend as a “John Wayne-type personality” who was always a “straight shooter.”
Officer Leahy, a 27-year veteran-of-the-force, spent weeks conducting rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sep. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
He was assigned to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he made over 500 arrests while working as a plainclothes officer.
He also served with the department’s Cargo Unit, Marine Unit, and Heavy Weapons Unit.
“Officer Leahy served the Port Authority Police Department with pride and distinction," Port Authority Superintendent Ed Cetnar told the New York Daily News. “His commitment to serving the public never wavered and his determination held steady as he battled his illness.”
Officer Leahy was awarded the Excellent Police Duty Unit Citation and the World Trade Center medal during his service with the department.
He leaves behind his parents, William and Kathleen, as well as his sister, Theresa, and his nephews, Sean and Connor, according to his obituary.
Officer Leahy was laid to rest on Monday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer William J. Leahy, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.