By Igor Kossov with Robert Brodsky New York Newsday
Glen Pettit, an NYPD officer and journalist from Long Island who died in the south tower on 9/11, will soon be known to anyone walking near the corner of East 20th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, because of a new street sign bearing his name.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the street-sign dedication during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday that was attended by police, city officials and the Pettit family. The sign is steps away from the police academy, where Pettit often worked making instructional videos for recruits.
“He would only sit still when he was editing video. He loved being part of the action. He always had a camera on his shoulder,” said Kelly as Pettit family members teared up.
Pettit, 30, of Oakdale, a former videographer for News 12 Long Island and freelance photographer for Newsday, was assigned to the NYPD’s video production unit at the time of the terrorist attacks.
On September 11, 2001, he was filming a video that the NYPD planned to use to show recruits how officers handle crises. He was last seen running into the south tower minutes before it collapsed, according to Kelly.
“Glen always wanted the best shot and I’m sure he got it on 9/11,” said his mother, Jane Wixted, at the dedication.
Born in Ronkonkoma in 1971, Pettit graduated in 1990 from Connetquot High School in Bohemia. He later attended BOCES Technical Center in Riverhead, where he first developed an appreciation for photography, according to his sister Deirdre Pettit-Kroupa, of Islip Terrace.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1995 from the New York Institute of Technology’s Main Campus in Old Westbury, Pettit joined News 12 as a videographer. He had been a freelance photographer for Newsday and The New York Times after high school.
In 1997, Pettit was offered a job with the Technical Assistance Response Unit of the NYPD, videotaping rescue efforts at crime scenes for new recruits to watch. He was also a member of the West Sayville Volunteer Fire Department.
James O’Keefe, deputy commissioner of training, said Pettit came into the job with a wealth of experience and a smile that lit up the room, making him an instant standout.
“He looked like a New York City police officer. So I thought to myself, ‘It’s good to have someone like that walking around this command,'” O’Keefe said.
The street-sign dedication expands on his legacy, Pettit-Kroupa said.
“It used to be that you had to go inside to know that he lived, to know that he was here,” she said, referring to a plaque honoring him in the lobby. “But now, any tourist, anybody that comes from anywhere in the world is going to see his name, they can Google him, find out what his life was about. As a family, that’s all we want.”