PTL. - Member's of the Force on Patrol - page 22

I mourn . . .

Sgt. Christopher J. Porcu
NYPD Retired, author

previously unknown
submitted by Tony Pinnisi, NYPD, retired

I mourn for the NYPD of my youth. In the mid-eighties, many of the seasoned veterans that I came in contact with told me about “The Good Old Days”. They told me how great it was to be a New York City cop in 1966 and for some real old-timers with thirty years on the job, what it was like in 1956. They would often comment on how the job had changed over the years. They were happy that they were retiring, and couldn’t stand to think what the job would be like when I would be the old-timer. Nevertheless, I went to work everyday. I sat on D.O.A.’s, hospitalized prisoners, and E.D.P.’s., I flew to details, and felt fortunate when I stayed in the command, and walked a foot post, or rode in an R.M.P. for the tour. All in all, I think back at that time and find myself referring to “it” as “The Good Old Days” (And they truly were)..

We were fortunate enough to be allowed to be “Cops”, and we were taught how to handle almost any situation without getting the boss involved. The Sgt.’s were “king” and together with the Lt.’s (when they were available) were allowed to run the command as they saw fit. I remember driving the boss one day, and him telling me that unless we were responding to a 10-13 or other heavy job in progress, to make sure that we always arrived to the job after the assigned M.O.S. could “handle things” as they saw fit. The Captain’s all worked M-F from 9-5, and very rarely came out of their office, except to attend a community meeting or address roll call occasionally, and Compstat wasn’t even born yet..

Collars were made, and summonses were written “when appropriate”. October Collars brought Christmas Dollars, and many of us made collars for dollars. The 9 squad chart allowed everybody to get to work with each other, and we “policed” ourselves, ensuring that each sector (or foot post) handled their respective assignments. Those that goofed off, soon found subtle reminders from the others on how to properly handle their jobs. They didn’t goof off often, and certainly not repeatedly. The job was definitely tighter back then as well. We came to work to be with our friends, and all too often didn’t take a day off, because we didn’t want to miss anything that happened at work (or when we went out afterwards). 4x12’s were 4x4’s. Sundays were considered “a cops day”, and we all understood the meaning of what is was like to work in a “paramilitary organization”. We all wore one uniform too! There were not different variations of dress, everywhere we turned. I am not talking about issues like cargo pants, and boots that make sense depending upon your assignment. I am talking about cops not never being caught dead wearing skull caps or knit hats like I see many of today’s cops wearing. “Out of uniform”, usually meant that a guy was wearing a short sleeve shirt before the weather warmed up prior to them being authorized, not the guy that chose to wear whatever he felt like on that particular day.

Recruitment & retention problems did not exist either. Granted we didn’t make a fortune, but we were higher paid than Nassau, Suffolk, Port Authority and the New York State Troopers, all of whom surpassed us over the years. You took the test because your friends and family who were already on the job, told you that it was a job worth taking. Similarly, you passed that information on to your friends and family as well, and were happy for them when they too were sworn in. Now, nobody in their right minds would refer this job to a friend or family member.

All in all, as I sit here in the twilight of my career, I am glad that I will be retiring soon. I could not bare to think about being a rookie in today’s police force, and I wonder if the cops retiring in 2026 will think back upon 2006 as “The Good Old Days”, and how they will describe “The Job” to those rookies at that time.

I can honestly say that I don’t hate this job. I actually love this job, unfortunately, it is the department that has ruined things for me over the years. It is the department that I have mixed feelings for. It is “The City of New York”, not New York City that treats us with disdain.

All that being said, I mourn for the NYPD of my youth!

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