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Title Slate: The Eleventh Hour #226, Cops, Rec: 9/25/89, Dir: Andrew Wilk
Host Robert Lipsyte opens show - before he announces himself he talks about tonight's subject: Cops - do we need more cops? Or better ones?
Same story 30 years later!!!
Funding for program by charitable organizations by announcer and overlay The Eleventh Hour graphic.
The Eleventh Hour graphics and show opener.
Host Robert Lipsyte wearing a brightly colored yellow striped tie, welcomes audience to the show and introduces himself.
Lipsyte, with negative newspaper headlines about NY police flashing behind him ie., cops indicted for false arrests, suspect in custody, police brutality, lack of restraint, drunken driving, he poses the questions and topic of tonight's program - "Is New York's Finest Really the Finest???"; How do we monitor and support an honest, effective police Force?; What makes a good cop?
Lipsyte announces guests coming up and cuts away to a short film of the police training grounds, the academy and the streets.
B7W footage - a policeman on pay telephone, a room with policemen on telephone switchboard, two police officers standing in the street talking as peds walking by; tall white police officer directing traffic in the City, vintage car pulling up to curb as police officer is seen restraining perp on the ground
Police car, shot from rear, driving down street night time, bright red lights on top of car.
Driver behind the wheel of car, shot from behind, driving down street at night.
Police officer holding the collar of perp's sweatshirt.
Female police officer in training, white t'shirt bearing her name, Jan Cook 89-15, in gymnasium with other recruits
The Police Academy Manhattan gymnasium - men and women police trainees exercising, jogging
Lipsyte narrates. Police officer recruits exercising in gym.
Police recruits jogging indoors at Manhattan Police Academy
Police recruits lined up at shooting range pointing handguns, squat and aim
Police recruit pointing gun, trainer adjusts his arms and aim.
Police trainee pointing gun. Lipsyte narrates average age of recruit is 31 and NY has least educated police force in the country.
Police recruits, mostly male in classroom, police officer walking into room and all recruits stand up at their desks at attention.
Hand holding pen writing on piece of paper.
Female wearing white shirt and dark tie writing
Police officer trainer, writing on blackboard
Pan out from large emblem on wall, Police Department City of New York Police Academy, Enter to Learn Go Forth to Serve, pan out to a female and male police officer behind large wooden desk.
Scene in Tompkins Square in New York, night time, perp on ground next to car, police officer is seen beating him with club as other officers running toward the scene and joining in.
Exterior brick building with 73rd Precinct and Police Department City of New York signage on wall and parked NY police car.
Talking head young African American woman holding umbrella talking with unseen reporter. She states, cops have jobs to do but their jobs are not to beat up on people, beating them up while they're handcuffed till they're unconscious.
Exterior 73rd Precinct NYC, parked police car and large black dog walks quickly by.
Exterior 73rd Precinct, as Lipsyte narrates about an incident with claimed police brutality. Bullet points overlay 73rd precinct building as he narrates about the perpetrator: - cocaine; loaded weapon; PBA states: "No Excessive Force" "Demonstrated Restraint"
Talking head young African American male with other young African Americans, speaking with unseen reporter stating that the kids are going to hate cops.
Small young African American kid about 8 years old wearing a Denver Broncos sweatshirt states to unseen reporter that the police like to beat up Black people a lot, and they like to do it for fun. child talks about police brutality.
Back to the Manhattan Police Academy. A male Black trainee practicing practicing putting handcuffs on another trainee.
Large gymnasium with police recruits, female trainee applying cuffs on another trainee.
In the studio, Host Robert Lipsyte introduces his guests, Detective Roger Abel, 22 year NYPD police officer and President of the Guardian Society; and Detective Walter Alicea, President The Hispanic Society NYPD and on the force for 10 years.
what makes a good cop?
Det. Roger Abel 6:32
An individual that is willing to learn and be taught different ways to society. Also an individual that's dedicated and willing to work with his or her partners, no matter who he or she is, and education. And education is twofold that the individual officer learns what the job is all about. And have good supervisors, supervisors to take the brunt of a situation to make a decision. That's not only good for the individual officer, but the department and any individual family.
Robert Lipsyte 7:07
Walter, would you add anything to that?
Det. Walter Alicea 7:08
I think, for me, it boils down to two elements. One is common sense. The other one is compassion, especially in a city like New York.
Robert Lipsyte 7:17
Now, you talked about supervisors. So I mean, you can't be a good cop, unless you have good cops over you.
Det. Roger Abel 7:25
That's in in part two, supervisors have a major role because they are the first line bosses on the street. They should know what to do what not to do, and give the officers a sense of direction. A lot of the officers don't have a sense of direction, because they're new and sometimes the things they encounter is the first time
Robert Lipsyte 7:48
Are these cops being trained properly?
Det. Roger Abel 7:50
Robert Lipsyte 7:51
In what way?
Det. Roger Abel 7:53
Well, you have officers just going to special assignments, undercover officers, they get training per se, but I don't think it's sufficient. offices don't know how to handle the emergency circumstances on the street. A lot of book work is learned, which is evident because you have to learn that you know, to follow through with the laws. But it's not enough hands on education. individuals don't know the different mores of society that they're dealing with. They come into the apartment, and for the first time they go into an abandoned building, they see junkies in there, they see prostitutes, or whatever. And it's like shellshock. What do I do next? These things have to be taught, and they are not taught you learn it on the job.
Robert Lipsyte 8:37
I mean, one has a sense that that that cops have grown up in neighborhoods where they they know the the vocabulary of the streets.
Det. Walter Alicea 8:46
Well, that's the problem. I think that we're facing now that the majority of our officers that we're recruiting and who are actually becoming police officers are not from the city, you have a large number of them for from the outer boroughs from the suburbs, who have no life experience in, in dealing with the elements and the different dynamics that are involved in a city like New York, or like in years past, where a good percentage of your officers did live here. They lived shoulder shoulder side by side with many of the problems we have in our community today. This shell shocked nature of a new cop which Roger speaks about, I think comes more not because they're not trained in what to expect out there. But because they've never experienced what's what's going on in this city at all period. You have to get back somehow to giving an enticement to the young men and women who are here in the city who were numerous who would want to become part of this police force. You have to sort of entice them in a way to become part of it
Robert Lipsyte 9:47
why wouldn't they want to become police officers?
Det. Walter Alicea 9:48
Well, there are variety reasons for that. I think some of the for example, have to do with the attitude that was shown by that young man who was on a film clip before about what police officers are all about that certainly Part of it. The other one has to do with the fact that police officers in the city, the way they act, the way they react to certain things. A potential candidate who sees this on a daily basis says, Do I want to be a part of this? Do I want to be a part of this type of training? Or this type of attitude that's endemic in these police officers?
Robert Lipsyte 10:22
Well ou guys said yes. Let's start at the beginning. 22 years ago, why did you want to be a police officer
Det. Roger Abel 10:27
Robert Lipsyte 10:28
You did it for for security and a good paying job.
Det. Roger Abel 10:31
Sure, at that particular time, I felt
Robert Lipsyte 10:34
you weren't going to make the city safe. You weren't filled with idealism?
Det. Roger Abel 10:37
No, I was not. I wanted to go into the job because it was economically sound at the time. And as I go into the job, then it became you know, I want to do what I can to help the minority specifically in the community because of the brutality that they were facing, amongst other things.
Robert Lipsyte 10:54
Do you think of yourself as a minority cop? as a black copy for a blue cop
Det. Roger Abel 10:58
Yes, I do.
Robert Lipsyte 10:59
You do?Do you think this is appropriate? And do you think this is what a way to get people in and to train them in that sense?
Det. Roger Abel 11:07
No, they get people in, you have to get away from the stereotype the TV, knock them down, shoot them up. That's the Amplified situation as far as the press is concerned. So everybody sees that. They don't realize that almost 90% of the work that you do is not police work, per se, but services. And those are the things that we have to take in teach and educate our individuals as to what the police department is all about.
Robert Lipsyte 11:31
Why did you become a cop water?
Det. Walter Alicea 11:32
Well, I just thought it would be interesting, something different. I was a student at a at an Ivy League college at the time, I was a Columbia University. And I felt that this was so different from anything else I had ever experienced. I grew up in the city, but I had never really had any contact with police officers. It just seemed to be a terribly interesting thing, something that was exciting dynamic. And it certainly proved to be all that
Robert Lipsyte 11:55
you've been satisfied,
Det. Walter Alicea 11:56
no doubt about it.
Robert Lipsyte 11:58
Now, do you think do you think being a college student? made you a better cop?
Det. Walter Alicea 12:03
I don't think so. I don't think so I think there's no doubt about the fact that if you do have college behind you, perhaps you can better assimilate a lot of the information that's given to you, you have a more open and receptive mind. There's an argument for that. But I think what we basically need is people with common sense, sense enough to know what things are right and what things are wrong. Oh, one of the clips here mentioned about the cop who beat somebody up with handcuffs on simple common sense tells you that that's not the thing to do. And you have to separate your emotions at the time that you're doing a certain action. And let that common sense kick into play
Robert Lipsyte 12:42
by in terms of common says it's something else too. And in terms of what you're talking about reaching into the community. The statistics are askew in terms of the black and Hispanic population of the city and the black and Hispanic population of the department. There's an element of racism. In that clip, we saw all those guys coming out of the 73rd precinct were white. What, what is what is how does this cut?
Det. Roger Abel 13:08
Well, I think at this particular point, we have 11 is 11%, Hispanic and 11%. Black in the department. That's nowhere near the ratio of minorities in the city in its entirety. There are many elements in the system that precludes black and Hispanics from becoming police officers. We have the psychological exam, for example, where a great minority of majority of Hispanics and blacks get wiped out of the system, where they miss you the psychological for character
Robert Lipsyte 13:38
that's manipulating the system to keep blacks and Hispanics out. But do you think it's possible for a white cop to be a good cop in a black or Hispanic neighborhood?
Det. Roger Abel 13:49
Sure, we have white cops that are good and in, in the excellence in every area as far as the departments concerned, and a lot of them come from the city as well as some company suburbs. But these individuals have a demeanor about themselves and about people.
Robert Lipsyte 14:03
Caused by racism or fear or what?
Det. Roger Abel 14:07
Well, not necessarily. It could be they only demeanor about themselves, how they feel about people in general, not to say to this racism otherwise
Robert Lipsyte 14:15
Just lousy people, and they become lousy cops. Walter, I mean, in terms of understanding neighborhoods, you were an Ivy League college student, you weren't exactly a street kid.
Det. Walter Alicea 14:26
No, butI grew up in the city, and you can't help but know about your surroundings and know about what's going on by being a part of the cities just do something you can't escape. I think one interesting communist should be made to what Roger said about the 11% blacks and Latinos around the job. Now, that has to be thought of also that that didn't happen just because it happened in the department that didn't just do that. If it's all good free will. We both the guardians and the Latinos on this job litigated with the Department for many years to even get those numbers So it's not a show of good faith on the part of the department, which has traditionally been mostly white, which alludes to what you were talking about, with the white officers in the minority neighborhoods.
Robert Lipsyte 15:11
Detective Walter Alicea, detective, Roger Abel, thank you so very much for being with us.
Host Lipsyte thanks Detectives Abel and Alicea. He announces guests coming up and cuts away to a film clip from "Prince of the City".
Clip from the movie, Prince of the City. A courtroom scene where the prosecutor is trying to figure out whether the police officer is a good cop or a bad cop.
Film clip ends and Host Lipsyte introduces next guests, Bob DiMartini, retired NYPD Lieutenant; Bob Leuci, Retired NYPD officer and Author
Is that true?
Robert Leuci 17:07
Yeah, I think so.
Robert Lipsyte 17:08
Robert Leuci 17:08
I think, you know, we, as a people, we need to, we entrust the police with very, very special powers. And I they are the most powerful force in this nation. You know, the president can't make an arrest, really. And the President doesn't carry a gun and walk around in the street. So we need to know that our police are maybe a step above what we would expect from the rest of the public. We we need to expect that but the reality is that they're not and
Robert Lipsyte 17:33
Well, I mean, we we see I mean, that you know, your situation, it was almost kind of subtle, compared to what we see now. The brutality, the the the Medgar Evers society is saying that 30 people have died in police custody. That's an amazing figure. So, so where is this higher standard?
Robert Leuci 17:54
Well, you know, this whole business about 30 people dying in police custody, as I'm sure if you were to go back, you know, historically, and traditionally, you know, and look back over the history of police departments and see how many people have died within while they were in police custody, the number would have been astronomical 30 40 50 years ago. It's not an unusual phenomenon.
Robert Lipsyte 18:11
I think cops are better now.
Robert Leuci 18:12
Yes, I think they're much better.
Robert Lipsyte 18:13
Bob, do you think cops are better now? And
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 18:15
well, I think they're more intelligent. But as far as training, I think training could be better. I don't think the training that young men get you take a 20 year old youngster, you put them into a police academy for six months, you give them book learning, and you give them a gun and say these are the laws This is when you can fire your gun. This is when you can't. The problem comes in. Did we train him to the people that he's going to be dealing with the cultural background? what they're used to what type of lives they lead? Can he does he come from the same background? Is he a city kid? Is he a kid coming from upstate or Long Island? Is he going to be able to handle what he comes up against out there in the streets? Are they trained that well? I don't believe so.
Robert Lipsyte 19:03
Well, I mean, this figure of 30 dying in police custody, that sounds like training, doesn't it?
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 19:10
Well, how many actually died because they had taken crack and they died of a crack overdose. Actually, we can say it was brutality but it really wasn't. The incident on Southern Boulevard. I think it was last week for cops chasing an individual who was high on crack. He had just mugged two elderly women, okay? They chased him. He's running, he's running. He's got this cocaine in his system. They tackle the guy he starts to have some kind of epileptic fit or a fit, probably induced by the cocaine. They hold them down on the ground, okay? According to eyewitnesses, they beat them with nightsticks. They did this they did that. A woman upstairs who lives upstairs saw them just holding them down on the ground. Okay, they he was handcuffed at that point. The ME says there are no bruises on the body. There is cocaine in the system again. What do we Look at was he beat to death by police? Or did he die of a crack overdose?
Robert Lipsyte 20:04
But do you? Do you feel that in in this this search for the better cop, that it's training or it's finding that city kid that that person, you know, comes out of the community? And can respond to the community?
Robert Leuci 20:16
Absolutely, absolutely. It's an absolute necessity that police reflect the communities that they police. I mean, that's always been the case. The fact of the matter is that you must recruit your policemen from the from the area that they're going to be policing. On the one hand, on the other hand, you can't lower a standard simply to, you know, fill up a certain proportion of Hispanic or black or minority numbers within police departments. Same same is true of women, if they're able to pass the tests. And we have this, this whole business of what the where the way we go about recruiting people, and we constantly thinking about recruiting people from, from areas away from colleges, I believe strongly that we have huge members of minority groups, and big Criminal Justice Programs, various universities and colleges around the city, as well as in other parts of the country. And we should recruit from those areas and not simply recruit from inner city areas simply because they're members of minority. So that's a mistake.
Robert Lipsyte 21:05
What do you think those kids are? They're the black kids, the Hispanic kids, the Asian kids, we absolutely Asians, and the new mayor is going to be able to find them. And
Robert Leuci 21:14
listen, I think that the responsibility of the new mayor and the new mayor of changing things and making things different, we've had problems in the city, they go back, you know, not 10 12 15 to 20 years, they go back even longer than that. And we are, you know, a racist city. But we are reflective of our you know, the rest of the country. We were a racist country in many ways.
Robert Lipsyte 21:31
Yeah. Well, the the premise is that we're not getting as good a cop as we should.
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 21:36
Well, the problem comes in. If you go back 20 years ago, when I came on the force, I would think we were a little more mature, we had did time in the armed forces, we will use the military regimentation, we had learned to take orders and do what we were supposed to do. We then became cops. And the training was not that difficult for us after the military in the armed forces. What happens today is you got 20 year old kids had no military berming no training, they're either right out of school or just out of college. They're coming into a police department again, we get back to let's say they come from east cupcake, New York or Nassau or Suffolk or something. They don't know what it is to work in a big city to deal with people of different nationalities of different cultures.
Robert Lipsyte 22:24
And why can't this be overcome by good training?
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 22:27
It can, it can be overcome by good training, I think. And I think it can be overcome by supervisors or a screening program where we can find out who is going to be a brutal person. There are certain psychological ways of finding that out. I'm not saying each and every case, but a good psychologist can tell you, is this person going to be brutal? Is this person not? Okay. I don't think the NYPD or any PD delves that deeply into the question of brutality or the person's demeanor, whether they're going to be a good cop or not. I mean, I've seen it during my 20 years in the force. There was a cop up in the four four precinct he got arrested eventually, when a prisoner was killed in the four four precinct station house. I won't get into the guy's name, but his nickname was Nazi. His nickname probated him. It was there, it was there for a lot of years, were with the supervisors, this guy had to have a nickname of Nazi for a reason. Where would the supervisors to do something about
Robert Lipsyte 23:31
it, but you know, there are Nazis out there now, and we seem to be hearing more about them. I mean, the headlines that we saw in the beginning of the show, some of those must have been, you know, Nazis, sons and daughters.
Robert Leuci 23:43
You know, so much of that's a matter of perspective and point of view, you know, police work is in fact, the contact sport. And we can't be can't be thinking about, we're gonna have people out there doing this job is very contact sort of job. And this sort of hands off policy, but it
Robert Lipsyte 23:55
seems like we're having, you know, more hands on, and it's harsh
Robert Leuci 23:58
We're not having more now, I
Robert Lipsyte 23:59
you don't think so.
Robert Leuci 23:59
Robert Lipsyte 24:00
it's just reported.
Robert Leuci 24:01
I don't know if that reporting is better. But it's certainly being more reported about, you know, these various conflicts between police and people in the street. Do you know, and it's all about training. I think training is very important, but the best training always comes from the street itself. The problem with the New York City Police Department is that there aren't people experienced enough to train young people once they get out into the street. Do you know, I remember when I graduated from police academy, which was a long, long time ago, they told me Look, throw away everything you've learned here, throw away the books, also the business people in the various precincts, you're going to go to work and we'll teach you how to be a cop. And that was true,
Robert Lipsyte 24:31
They are not there now
Robert Leuci 24:32
they're not there now.
Robert Lipsyte 24:34
Then forget about this generation of, of rookie in the academy, the the generation before them is untrained
Robert Leuci 24:42
generation that's coming soon. I mean, a huge number of policemen are gonna be retiring over the next couple of years and then you're gonna have people sergeants and lieutenants with three and four and five years experience in police work. That's ridiculous.
Robert Lipsyte 24:52
So I mean, what we what we talked about earlier was that part of making a good cop is a good supervisor. So Besides them being inexperienced, and not from the street and very young and not out of the community, they will also be listening to people just like themselves only three years older.
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 25:11
To give you an example of what happened when I came on. In 1969. I went into the 401 precinct, I was trained by a man with 13 years experience in the police department, who worked the South Bronx, a better trainer, you couldn't find. If the two three years down there, I was an experienced police officer. Okay. The kids coming out of the academy today. The there was a gap in hiring between 1973 and I believe 1980 or 81. All the experience guys, which in 67 68 and 69, were roughly 15,000 cops were hired. Okay. A lot of them are gone already. But the majority are going to retire after this last contract expired in July, the end of 69. That whole group goes
Robert Lipsyte 25:56
well now. We heard those numbers in the beginning. Dinkins promised 1300 more cops, Giuliani 5000. Is that going to make the city safer?
Robert Leuci 26:05
Yeah, I think in some ways, I mean, even though there are people that say that, you know, we have X amount of policemen on patrol at any given time. We need more policemen, clearly. We need more foot patrols. We need a different attitude. We need to change, we need something different.
Robert Lipsyte 26:19
Do you think those numbers are going to help
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 26:21
a cop in uniform standing on a corner is going to be a deterrent, whether he is experienced or not. The more people you have out there, the more you're going to have
Robert Lipsyte 26:31
Would you join the police force today the way it is?
Bob DiMartini NYPD Sargeant 26:33
It's a good question. That's a very good question. I'd have to do a lot of thinking. A lot of soul searching.
Robert Leuci 26:38
I love police work. I will join Sure. I think it's a great career. And I think that's one of the problems that we have is selling young people on the idea of it not being a job like the fellow that was here earlier talks about the idea that I can make earn a decent living, it's a career.
Robert Lipsyte 26:51
Bob Leuci Bob demartini Thank you very much.
Interview concludes. Host Lipsyte thanks guests and asks audience to send letters with comments.
Envelope with The Eleventh Hour "Talkback" address.
Host Lipsyte announces topic for tomorrow night's program. Show ends and Lipsyte announces the show and introduces himself.
Show credits overlay City of New York City patch on police officer's shirt.
Funding for show by announcer and overlay the Eleventh Hour graphic.
Description: The Eleventh Hour - Show #226 Title: Cops Guests: Detective Roger Abel, President Guardian Society NYPD; Detective Walter Alicea, President Hispanic Society NYPD; Robert Leuci Original Broadcast Date: 9-26-89 Description: Totally relevant program about police brutality and other negative headlines about police in the late 1980's - Host Robert Lipsyte poses the questions: Is New York's Finest Really the Finest? and, How Do We Monitor and Support an Honest Effective Police Force? What Makes a GOOD COP?
Keywords: police brutality
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