A crowd of residents, officers, and family packed the front of the 5th Precinct in Patchogue village for Fadi Rafeh Day, on Jan. 11. The day honors the fallen police officer who died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2019. The village commissioned a street sign to rename West 2nd Street, where the precinct is, Fadi Rafeh Way.
Fifth precinct inspector William Silva said the honor was the ideal way to remember Rafeh, as officers would be able to pass the sign and think of him every day. Rafeh was sworn into the academy in June 2010 and worked at the Fifth Precinct his entire career, first in patrol, primarily in Patchogue and Bellport, and then as an investigator in Crime Section as of October 2017.
“The untimely death of [Rafeh] hit this command with a force so great, it cannot be put into words,” Silva said. “I am often asked what it was about Fadi that was so exceptional. My answer has always been the same: everything.”
Silva told the story of a time he received a letter passed down from the former police commissioner about Rafeh. He had pulled someone over for a traffic stop and handed the person a ticket. The person was so impressed by Rafeh’s attitude and demeanor that they wrote a letter commending him.
Rafeh is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two sons, Nicholas, 6, and Benjamin, 4.
“Every one of the men and women in blue here, I’m sure, are going to make sure that they are here for Jen and her boys, so that they always have what they need, and that they always have a shoulder to lean on when they need it,” said Suffolk Legis. Rob Calarco.
According to a statement by the SCPD, Rafeh, a 1999 graduate of Longwood High School, was never without a smile on his face and was always looking for ways to build camaraderie among the officers. Several recounted his efforts organizing group trips to baseball and football games.
Police Officer Patrick Ryan said Rafeh was so well-regarded by his friends and colleagues, that in November, when a group from the precinct planned a football trip to Charlotte, North Carolina and they found out Rafeh could not go, they all instantly changed their trip to another weekend so he could attend.
“We changed our plans because he is the type of guy that can walk into a room and just bring the energy,” Ryan said. “He was a great guy all around. I have only known him here but I already feel like he was a little brother to me—He was just a very intelligent guy.”