One Dream Realized
Mark J. Ellis always dreamed of becoming a police officer. At age 5, he played cops and robbers with a set of plastic handcuffs and a notepad that he used to write speeding tickets.
As he grew older, it became apparent that he had developed an affinity for the straight and narrow path. As a teenager, he lectured his older sister about getting speeding tickets, rarely went to parties and never drank alcohol, because he liked to stay in control.
By the time he joined the New York Police Department and became an officer in Transit District 4, his character was legendary.
"You couldn't get him to do anything wrong," said Officer Eric Semler, Officer Ellis's partner for three years. "He might bend a rule, but he would never break a rule. It was almost to the point where it was annoying."
But Officer Ellis, 26, who lived with his parents in Huntington Station, N.Y., did take risks. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed activities like boating, mountain biking and snowboarding.
Having realized his dream of becoming a police officer, Officer Ellis set new goals. He wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend, Stephanie Porzio. And he applied for jobs with the Secret Service and the F.B.I. After Officer Ellis's death, his parents received acceptance letters from both agencies.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on March 3, 2002.