Edelson, who was 34, grew up in Hewlett Harbor and attended Hewlett High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Arizona, then graduated from the New York State Police Academy in 1998 and was assigned to Troop F of the State Police in Liberty.
He was moving up the ladder in law enforcement, having recently passed the sergeant's exam, and he was promoted to sergeant posthumously.
Jeffrey's parents, Steven and Ellen Edelson, moved away from Hewlett Harbor only months ago, settling in Brookville, N.Y. Other survivors include Jeffrey's sister, Lynda. His father was mayor of Hewlett Harbor from 2002 to 2003 before stepping down in April 2003, when the family decided to move. Steven Edelson was also a member of the Village of Hewlett Harbor's Board of Trustees for more than 20 years.
Edelson's funeral, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, drew hundreds of state troopers to Gutterman's funeral home in Woodbury, where he was given a final tribute. He was described as a fun-loving and bright man with a terrific sense of humor.
Gov. George Pataki was one of those on hand at the funeral. Trooper Edelson's dry humor is silenced forever, and no one will be lifted again by his ever-present good mood and positive attitude, the governor said.
Trooper Edelson died on duty, and he died serving New Yorkers, Pataki added. It is tragic that New Yorkers will no longer have the comfort of Trooper Edelson standing watch. His career was still in the beginning stages, and New Yorkers would have felt the safety of his shield for years.
Pataki said that Edelson chose law enforcement as a career path because he wanted to help make the world a better place. To serve the public is a grand calling, and Trooper Edelson felt that calling and answered it, he said. We have lost someone who chose this life and chose to protect and to serve his family, friends and neighbors.
Ellen Edelson said her son always wanted to go into law enforcement. In the sixth grade at Woodmere Middle School, she said, he wrote a paper on gun control. He wanted to be a trooper as soon as he graduated from college, she recalled. He excelled at it and he was happy doing it.
She added that her son touched a lot of people.
Steven Edelson said his son wanted only to be a state trooper. He wanted to be in that uniform, he said. He absolutely loved what he was doing. And we supported him from day one.
Stanley Weintraub, of Barnum Island, a longtime family friend and a business associate of Steven Edelson's, said Jeffrey was committed to a career in public service. He constantly tried to get onto different police forces when they were cutting back, said Weintraub.
Before he became a state trooper, Edelson worked in his father's plumbing-supply business in Manhattan, Weintraub said. I remember Jeffrey as a fun-loving, jovial, bright man with a terrific sense of humor, he said.
He said the Edelson family is struggling to cope with the tragedy. There's been a lot of tears shed over this, Weintraub said.
Edelson, son of former Village of Hewlett Harbor mayor Steven Edelson, was killed in the line of duty in Liberty, about 90 miles northwest of New York City, on Sunday, Nov. 23. He was answering a criminal mischief complaint that afternoon when he passed a black extended-cab pickup truck speeding in the opposite direction, officials said. Edelson made a U-turn and tried to catch up to the vehicle, but his 2000 Crown Victoria swerved out of control and struck a tree. Edelson was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are attempting to locate the driver of the truck, and anyone with information about the accident is urged to call (845) 292-6600. All calls will be kept confidential, police said.