Being a police officer was not just a career for me- for better or worse it defined me. Period.
Both my grandfathers were New York City cops; my late father was a Lt. in the New York City Fire Department; my uncle was a New York City cop for three years before he made the right move and switched over to the New York City Fire Department where he retired as a Battalion Chief. One of my cousins is a cop in the New York City suburbs. Another cousin is a former New York State correction officer and yet another one is a firefighter in upstate New York. All have worked in some of the toughest neighborhoods and assignments in this country.
I had the fortune and honor of working in what was then, per capita, the most violent precinct in the city. It was one of the city’s smallest precincts covering less than one square mile. And I knew this was a place of courage and honor on my first tour there when I swung open those heavy brass doors to enter the 32nd Precinct, Harlem. The precinct had its own nickname: “The Tomb of Gloom.” After opening those doors and never having done one minute on patrol how did I know the 32nd Precinct was hallowed ground and such a place of courage and honor? As I stepped inside the precinct my attention was immediately drawn to a memorial for those 32nd Precinct officers who made the supreme sacrifice and were killed in the line of duty. There are 26 plaques on that wall. There were, by far, more names on that memorial wall than in any other of the city’s 77 precincts. In a precinct that covers less than one square mile.
Battlefield America: T…
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While working my way up from patrolling a beat on foot to…