Police Officer James J. Godbee

Police Officer James J. Godbee

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Thursday, December 30, 2004

James J. Godbee

Police Officer James Godbee died of an illness that he contracted as a direct result of his participation in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Officer Godbee worked hundreds of hours as part of the rescue and recovery effort around Ground Zero. He contracted Sarcoidosis after his exposure and inhalation of toxic materials present at the World Trade Center site. That condition later lead to a fatal heart attack.

Officer Godbee had served with the New York City Police Department for 18 years and was assigned to the 28th Precinct. He is survived by his wife and two children.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge 12752

Incident Details

  • Cause 9/11 related illness
  • Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
  • Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
  • Offender 19 suicide attackers

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest easy my brother. God has taken you away too soon from all if us. Your memory lives on by those who knew and worked with you at the 28th precinct. Always watch over them and your family.

Lieutenant Ray Flores
NYPD (retired)

December 30, 2017

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