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Department Mourns Nassau Highway Patrol Officer

Officer Joseph P. Olivieri, 43, a Nassau Police veteran since 1998, was struck and killed on LIE. Credit Nassau County Police Department
Officer Joseph P. Olivieri, 43, a Nassau Police veteran since 1998, was struck and killed on LIE. Credit Nassau County Police Department
This story was written by Geoffrey Walter.

Nassau County Highway Patrolman Joseph P. Olivieri was remembered by Police Benevolent Association President James Carver as being a “cheerful guy, loved by everybody, going to be missed by all.”

The 43-year-old Ronkonkoma native and 19-year veteran of law enforcement was killed early Thursday morning while responding to an accident on the Long Island Expressway when he was struck by an oncoming car.

“It just underscores the dangers or working in highway patrol and how dangerous it is to assist disabled motorists and investigate accidents on the highway,” Chief of Department Steve Skryneckie said, tearing up after a press conference at Nassau County Police headquarters in Mineola. “He is an officer who was loved by all of his officers, he was a friendly person, bit of a private person.”

Olivieri spent five years with the NYPD before joining the Nassau County Police Department in 1998 and becoming a member of the highway patrol in 2005.

“A cop’s cop, a guy that was out there always patrolling, very active, taking DWI’s off the streets,” Carver said while holding up a photo of the fallen officer. “He was one of those officers who came to work every day, did his job, was a very quiet guy. He always had a smile on his face, was always willing to help out and he was always one of those guys who was the first guy there if you needed help.”

In April 2000, it was Olivieri who was in need of assistance. Coming back to the Seventh Precinct to be relieved from his night of patrol, his car skidded on a patch of black ice and overturned on Carmen’s Road in Massapequa just north of the Sunrise Mall, breaking his arms and legs. A number of sanitation workers came to Olivieri’s rescue, extracting him from the vehicle.

“That’s the type of police officer, a number of years later through rehabilitation, he came back to work, full duty,” said PBA vice-President Kevin Tobin, who worked with Olivieri.

“He was an exemplary police officer,” said Mangano, who is ordering all county flags to be at half-staff for the next 30 days. “It’s a tragic day for our great county.”

He is survived by his two children, Amanda, 21, and Daniel, 18, as well as his wife, Mary-Ann, and father, Joseph Sr., and two brothers, Paul and Michael.

“When anybody gets the phone call, whether it’s a family member or a colleague, being in a serious auto accident, it doesn’t get any easier. What makes this tragedy worse is that three of these police officers – all of them together – are coming onto this great police department at the same time, in December of 1998,” Carver said. “They went through the academy together. This is a family here; we’ve lost another family member.”

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