POUGHKEEPSIE – The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 333 (FOP) in Dutchess County paid tribute to the lives lost on 9/11 and two members that died this year – Paul Hansut and James Sweeney. The somber event was held under the twisted steel of the 9/11 memorial at the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Center.
Lodge President Frank Ortiz, a retired Westchester police officer, spoke briefly about the eternal need for the annual service. “This is our cross that we have to carry – and pass it on. Unfortunately we will likely have to add memorial bricks each year as our officers pass away.”
Two memorial bricks were unveiled in front of a gathering of FOP members, families of the departed, and a contingent of City of Poughkeepsie police officers.
Sweeney died in March of 2021 at the age of 68. The former zone sergeant with the State Police Troop K battled illnesses related to his 2001 Ground Zero assignment. He first became ill in 2016. His widow Noreen and one of his brothers attended the ceremony. “It’s sad that this happened. I loved my brother Jim – we had a lot of fun,” the brother said before thanking the FOP and those gathered for honoring Sweeney.
Paul Hansut died in July after a vigorous fight against pancreatic cancer. The 56-year-old Hansut had a storied career in law enforcement, having served with the Town of Lloyd before going to the City of Poughkeepsie where he became a very successful detective. Hansut had also served as an Ulster County legislator as well as Town of Lloyd supervisor, before his passing. Hansut’s widow Gina attended the ceremony with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. They were escorted by Lloyd Police Chief Jim Janso.
When Hansut passed away in July, Janso said, “My heart is broken. The past 30 years he was like a brother to me. Paul was the best partner a cop could ask for but most important, he was my friend.”
Hansut’s daughter Megan Primo, took a moment to speak on Saturday. “My father died a few months ago and they say it was related to his work at Ground Zero,” she said before thanking everyone for the memorial.