Retired Emergency Man’s Association


From The Staten Island Advance

Jerome J. “Jerry” Cottone

1933 - 2004

Jerome J. “Jerry” Cottone, a retired, highly decorated NYPD Emergency Services Officer of Eltingville, passed away on Tuesday, August 10 after a spirited seven year battle with a rare form of cancer. He was 70 years old.

Jerry Cottone was born in South Brooklyn, N.Y., on November 8, 1933. He moved to Borough Park, Brooklyn at age 9 and graduated from New Utrecht High School in January, 1952. He was noted as “Our Future Politician”. After graduation, he joined the US Air Force during the Korean Campaign. He served at several USAF facilities including those at Wichita Falls, Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, and Niagara Falls Air Force Base, N.Y. During this time, his awards and commendations included the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) and Good Conduct Medal. He achieved certifications in the areas of aircraft mechanics, equipment operations, aircraft electronics, and radar operations.

He continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves through 1960.

He married Margaret Murray on February 7, 1959 and they were happily married for over 45 years. They moved to Eatonville, Staten Island in 1967 and have resided there since.

While in the Air Force Reserves, he graduated from the Academy of Aeronautics with an associate’s certificate and certifications in Air Frame and Power-plant systems. He worked as a licensed aircraft mechanic for American Airlines from 1958-65 at LaGuardia Airport.

In December 1965 he joined the NYPD and graduated from the Police Academy in May 1966. Over the next 27 years, he served in the former 80th Precinct and continued with service with the Police Aviation Unit, Emergency Service Units 1, 6, and 8, and served his last 16 years at Emergency Service Unit 5 on Staten Island. He attended night school and achieved a Bachelor of Science Degree, Cum Laude in Criminal Justice from the New York Institute of Technology, Westbury, Long Island, N.Y.

During his service with the NYPD Emergency Services Unit on Staten Island, he received several commendations including Police Officer of the Month in July of 1985, for the skillful use of the new Taser Gun during a dangerous situation. This was reported to be the first use of this new tool in action on the NYPD. As a Senior Emergency Services Officer, he was consulted for his expertise during many dangerous and complex police operations.

The Staten Island Advance has featured Officer Cottone in many photographs over the years. Sometimes these were unusual stories like the one of extracting a mischievous child’s stuck hand from a gumball machine or rescuing a stunt parachutist who bounced off the top of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and into the water. Many times though, these stories have involved much more serious, unfortunate and sometimes tragic sides of life as his Emergency Services Unit responded to a broad range of rescue situations. One interesting rescue involved a six-year-old girl who got her head stuck between two rails on a stairway at home. Officer Cottone responded and gently removed her from the railing. The girl grew up to remember the officer who rescued her and remembers the joy of sitting in the rescue truck’s driver seat and beeping the horn. It’s truly a small world on Staten Island as seventeen years later; she was part of his daughter’s wedding party. Officer Cottone and daughter Ava Marie Heath, also now serving on the NYPD, were co-featured by the Staten Island Advance in a 1993 article on fathers and daughters sharing the same career. Upon his retirement, the NYPD transferred his NYPD Police shield to his daughter, a rare honor.

He retired from the NYPD in July 1993. He enjoyed activities relating to gourmet cooking, interior design and home improvement, landscaping and real estate. He was active in the Republican Party. He was a dedicated parishioner of St. Clare’s Church in Great Kills. Jerry Cottone’s outstanding service to Staten Island during the last half of his career earned him the proclamation June 3, 1993 as “Jerry Cottone Day” on Staten Island by then Borough President Guy Molinari in addition to several other City Council of N.Y. proclamations.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Margaret, and sons Jerome of Virginia and Stephen, Sean, and daughter Ava Marie Heath of Staten Island. Their second son, Joseph, passed away in 1965. Jerry and Margaret have 10 grandchildren.

After a service at St. Clare’s RC Church in Great Kills, he will be interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.