Photo credit: © Joe McNally
Accession Number: C.2020.36.1
Dimensions: 109 in X 44 in X 0.08 in
Dimensions (Metric): 276.86 cm X 111.76 cm X 0.2032 cm
Credit Line: Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum. © Joe McNally.
Daniel McKenna, Joseph Blozis, Kurtis Harris, Detectives and Detective Sergeant (Blozis), NYPD Crime Scene Unit
Life-sized Polaroid photograph taken by Joe McNally depicting NYPD Crime Scene Unit detectives Daniel McKenna, Joseph Blozis (Sergeant), and Kurtis Harris. All three of the men wear their NYPD uniforms and hard hats. Each has a respirator and site credentials hanging around their necks. The men hold upright a shovel, a pick-ax, and a large sifting mesh. McKenna and Blozis have visible dust on their clothes.
The unanticipated, successive collapses of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, created a vast and treacherous debris field stretching beyond the World Trade Center. Federal terrorism investigators and aviation experts converged on the lower Manhattan crime scene almost immediately to search for forensic evidence tied to the perpetrators and for the black boxes from the two hijacked planes. The New York City Police Department assumed responsibility for the sensitive task of attempting to salvage personal effects from the wreckage pile and, upon identification, return these items to victim families and survivors of the attacks. After the NYPD’s property clerk vouchered and bagged the recovered objects, notification was sent to their owners or next-of-kin along with claiming instructions.
Using pickaxes, small hand tools, shovels, and sifters, officers from the NYPD’s Crime Scene Unit tried their best to search the rubble methodically for any physical traces of the thousands of building occupants caught in the catastrophe that morning. As Detective Sergeant Blozis explained during the photoshoot with Joe McNally, "We’re trying to provide some sense of closure to families; for some, it means the world to them to have a wedding band or a piece of a wallet from their loved one."