The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
Fermin "Sonny" Archer, Jr.
Rank: Detective First Grade
Shield Number: 4705
Command: Warrant Division
Date of Death: 07/13/2011
Cause of Death: Torn aorta and strokes
At 6-foot-three-inches and 240 pounds, Det. First Grade Fermin Archer, Jr., better known as Sonny, was a formidable opponent for any felon, but had, as the New York Daily News expressed it, “a big heart to match and a smile that turned him into the City’s largest teddy bear.” His serious demeanor and often dour expression — which prompted his colleagues to dub him affectionately “Mr. Happy” — belied that he was a deeply-loving and devoted father, son, and husband, and a caring, world-class colleague. On July 13, 2011, during his 26th year on the force, he was felled by a torn aorta in his heart. While in the hospital, he suffered a series of strokes that led to his passing on July 13, 2011, at the age of 48. His death was declared combat and in the line-of-duty by the NYPD on March 14, 2012.
With family roots from Costa Rica, Det. Archer grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Brownsville, Brooklyn. He spent five years in the New York Military Academy and graduated Amityville High School on Long Island in June 1980. He began his career as a School Safety Officer. In July 1985, Archer was appointed to the New York Transit Police Department, assigned to District #2. In 1988, he was re-assigned to the Transit Police Task Force as a decoy. From 1990 to 1994, Archer worked in the Transit Police Central Robbery Unit, the Warrant Squad, and the Police Commissioner’s Investigation Squad. After the 1995 merger into the NYPD, Archer was promoted to Detective April 1, 1995, and assigned to the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, where he earned second grade on December 20, 1995.
In 1997, Archer was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Operations where he earned first grade on December 20, 2000. After one look at his large size, the Police Commissioner personally re-assigned him to his own office; and in 2002, Archer was assigned to the hard-charging Warrant Section. As a member of the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force, Archer specialized in tracking down and apprehending the most violent fugitives, including the killers of Det. Russel Timoshenko.
During his distinguished career, Archer won numerous medals and commendations, including the NYPD Police Combat Cross, the Transit Police Distinguished Duty Medal, and the Police Reserve Association Medal of Valor. In July of 2023, an NYPD K-9 was named “Sonny” in his honor.
Detective Archer was survived by his father, his wife (a DA Investigator), and his four children.
Click on the pdf file link below to read a bio of Det. First Grade Fermin Archer, Jr. from The Gold Shield magazine, Winter 2013 issue.
Click on the pdf file link below to read Michael Daly’s eulogy, “Bigger-than-big man” from the New York Daily News, July 21, 2011
Click on the pdf file link below to read the Spring 3100 Medal Day 2013 article, Volume 76, issue 3.