The New York State Senate today announced that a bill honoring heroic NYPD Detective Steven McDonald has been signed into law. Detective McDonald, who died in January after a long battle with complications from being shot in the line of duty, will be recognized for his meritorious service and brave life by naming a section of the Southern State Parkway on Long Island the “Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway.”
The law (S6549) is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan and the entire Long Island Senate delegation, including Senators Elaine Phillips, Kemp Hannon, Carl L. Marcellino, Phil Boyle, Kenneth LaValle, and Thomas Croci, and former New York City police officer Senator Martin Golden. It ceremonially names the section of the Southern State Parkway that runs from the Belt to the Meadowbrook as the “Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway” and directs the state Department of Transportation to erect signage specifying the designation.
Senator Flanagan said, “Detective Steven McDonald embodied strength, resiliency, and forgiveness in the face of adversity as he led an extraordinary life serving others. Today we once again thank this community hero and his family, and we celebrate the inspiration he will continue to provide to current and future Long Islanders now that this tribute will be put into place.”
Senator Phillips said, “Detective Steven McDonald is a true hero who went above and beyond to serve his community. This highway designation will serve as a powerful reminder of Detective McDonald’s life as a public servant to his community, and will forever honor the humility he possessed and his power to forgive.”
Senator Hannon said, “Steven McDonald's dedication to his job, family, and community will never be forgotten, and it is a fitting tribute that this section of the Southern State Parkway be renamed in his memory. Even after tragically becoming paralyzed following being shot, Detective McDonald never allowed his paralysis to define him: indeed, it strengthened him and those around him, allowing him to bring lessons of strength and forgiveness to all.”
Senator Marcellino said, “Detective McDonald is a hero. He is the very definition of courage. He lived his life defending our safety, inspiring everyone he came in contact with and showing us all the power of family and forgiveness. Renaming the Southern State Parkway will serve as a powerful reminder of his sacrifice, bravery and enduring spirit. It is a well deserved tribute.”
Senator Boyle said, “NYPD Detective Steven McDonald is a true hero and this is a beautiful tribute that will allow his legacy to live on forever.”
Senator Croci said, “The definition of a hero is one who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. Detective Steven McDonald personified all three of these characteristics. His courage and mettle are for a chosen few who consistently put themselves before others. The renaming of the Southern State Parkway is testament to that. I applaud and proudly stand beside Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and my Long Island colleagues on sponsoring this noble act on Detective McDonald’s behalf.”
Senator Golden said, “Steven McDonald led an extraordinary life and was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Bullets aimed to kill him but did not end his life. A wheelchair meant to confine him but did nothing to deter him from his mission. His was a shining example not only to police officers but to anyone facing adversity. McDonald was living representation of tenacity, selflessness, charity, hope and forgiveness. I want to thank his loving wife, Patricia Ann Norris-McDonald and his son Police Officer Conor McDonald for sharing Steven with the rest of the world. Naming a section of the Southern State Parkway on Long Island the ‘Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway’ is a small gesture to acknowledge his admirable service, his extraordinary life and his indomitable spirit.”
The highway naming celebrates Detective McDonald’s many years of community service as a Navy veteran, police officer, and an inspiration to all New Yorkers. While on duty in 1986, he was shot three times by a 15-year-old assailant, paralyzing Detective McDonald from the neck down. A long recovery followed, but in 1987 as he was still struggling, he made a statement about his assailant through his wife that defined the rest of his life: “I forgive him and hope he can find peace and purpose in his life.”
With the help of his loving family, he continued to bring that message of forgiveness to leaders across the world for three decades until passing away on January 10, 2017. Thousands of mourners gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for his funeral to celebrate his achievements and legacy.