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“Talk to Me:” The NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team

By Edward Conlon

When Monsignor Robert Romano attended a lunch in Howard Beach, on a gray, damp afternoon in early May, he was unusually brief in his benediction. The crowd was eager to get to the clams oreganate and asiago rice balls that awaited them in the expansive room of white marble and mirrors at Russo’s on the Bay, but that didn’t account for his reticence. Romano was there for the forty-fifth anniversary of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, and he’d let others do the talking. “Bless these conversations,” he said.

Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, the team’s commanding officer—there have been seven, all of whom were in attendance—was concise in his remarks as well, pointing out that every single negotiator through the years had volunteered for the assignment, for no additional pay. “And no one ever says no when we call.”

Any number of men and women in the room might have mounted the podium and held the crowd spellbound for hours. Harvey Schlossberg might have explained that the team, which was the first of its kind in the world, was formed in response to a series of events in the early 1970s—the Attica prison riots, the terrorist attack on the Munich Olympics, and the botched Brooklyn bank robbery that inspired the Al Pacino movie, Dog Day Afternoon—in which the police response had been improvised at the scene, often disastrously. Schlossberg, a clinical psychologist as well as a police officer, laid out the behavioral, emotional, and cognitive framework for the unit, and Frank Bolz, a lieutenant in the Emergency Services Unit, added his tactical experience and became its first commanding officer. The first class of negotiators, all of them detectives, graduated in April, 1973.

Harvey Schlossberg, clinical psychologist and retired police officer. (Paul Yuen/NYPD)

Bolz could have told any number of stories. There was the time in the Bronx, seven hours into a standoff with a distraught man holding his family captive, when he heard footsteps racing toward him from a darkened hallway. Bolz shouted “Stop! Stop!” as two ESU cops raised their shotguns. The footsteps kept coming, but ESU, fortunately, held their fire: it was an eight-year-old deaf girl, the daughter of the hostage-taker. Bolz led the unit until his retirement in 1982, responding to some 285 incidents and seeing to the release of 850 hostages.

Some of the stories were funny enough, after the fact: Lt. Hugh McGowan might have recalled the man who took four people hostage for ten hours in the World Trade Center in 1978, brandishing a purportedly explosive metal canister. The man spoke Polish, and he was so incensed that a Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking detective attempted to communicate with him that he threw the phone away. The canister was eventually revealed to contain four loaves of bread. Others ended in gut-wrenching tragedy. Lt. Jack Cambria was at the scene when a mentally ill Taiwanese man took his two children hostage with a shotgun in a high-rise building near the South Street Seaport in 1988. Highway units closed the FDR Drive for a time, and the Coast Guard blockaded the East River. The man shot fourteen cops that day, Cambria among them, before turning the gun on his children and himself.

“The HNT operates on the premise that there is always a chance of a connection with someone in extremis, no matter the circumstance.”

Not everyone can be reached. But the HNT operates on the premise that there is always a chance of a connection with someone in extremis, no matter the circumstance—the three types of hostage-takers, in sharply decreasing order of frequency, are emotionally disturbed people, robbers on jobs that went sideways, and terrorists—and every chance to forge some rapport or at least lower the level of volatility is worth taking. Time is on the negotiator’s side, mostly; when violence occurs in a standoff, it tends to happen within the first hour. In the 1970s, especially, the idea that the police should not react immediately with a show of force to a threat of violence was considered radical, even unnatural, and the notion of heroic inaction is not familiar to most cops, then or now. The approach is equally unexpected among hostage-takers, who are often confused and surprised by the first words they might hear from the negotiator: “What’s going on? What can I do to help? What’s your name?”

Among the two hundred-odd detectives gathered in Russo’s on the Bay that afternoon, there were many who could have made a rich living as talkers, as corporate deal-makers or car salesmen. But Zimmerman isn’t in the market for champion debaters when he selects candidates for HNT. He’s more interested in those whose lives have taught them how to shut up and listen.

*

Osvaldo Rosado is a tall, burly man with a placid demeanor and a measured, unrushed manner of speech. He’s been on the team for a year, but hasn’t yet been called out on any job that required a sustained engagement. He sounded somewhat chagrined when he mentioned that he was off-duty when negotiators were recently called out for a jumper on the Verrazano Bridge, adding that the conversation was brief: “ESU snatched him before he went over.”

 

Det. Osvaldo Rosado (Paul Yuen/NYPD)

Though Rosado has had a long and varied career with the NYPD—he was been with Special Victims in Staten Island for the last five years, following nine years in Brooklyn Narcotics, and three on patrol in Bushwick—it was not his police experience that recommended him to HNT. Lt. Zimmerman told him during the interview, “I need people like you. You live in crisis.”

“I negotiate every day,” Rosado said. He has three children: Thalia, twenty; Evan, seventeen; and Sofia, thirteen. Evan is on the autism spectrum, a range of conditions that affect communication and social interaction, and is often characterized by repetitive behaviors and involuntary movements. About a third of people on the spectrum also have an intellectual disability, and a third remain non-verbal. For a long time, it was assumed that autistic people were extremely limited in both their intelligence and in the complexity of their emotional lives. Though neither assumption is true, for parents of children on the spectrum, the realization that their kids are “in there, somewhere,” thinking with great focus and feeling with great passion, can be exquisitely painful when a word or gesture of affection is met with silence, or worse.

”He’s verbal,” Rosado said of Evan. “And he can’t control his aggression. When he gets mad, he’ll attack anybody. When he’s not happy, when he doesn’t get the answer he wants, he hits his sisters. He’s also a lovable kid.

“I’ve been married twenty years. Still married, which is a surprise in itself. Our marriage rate is not good,” he said, referring to parents of autistic children. “He’s got his things—videos—that aren’t appropriate for his age. Wiggles, Blues Clues. He’s got over a thousand of them. He’s got his own YouTube channel.

“The struggle is getting Evan to do something I want him to do without getting physical. He’s big, like me—5’10”, 250 lbs. Every day is a struggle. To get him up in the morning, to get him dressed, to get him to go to bed. We give him melatonin, to help him sleep. Our break is when he’s at school. My break is when I’m at work.”

The trials of Rosado’s home life have proven to be apt preparation for his assignment at Special Victims. “I’m good at talking to kids, at building a rapport. You have to get kids to disclose things, and sometimes they’ve been groomed to be victims for years by their own family members. You have to be empathetic. I’ve interviewed kids on the spectrum as well. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

What has often worked is Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) training, a technique designed to aid in understanding the jumbled impressions and gaps in memory than can arise when trauma victims tell their stories. Detectives who might have been inclined to dismiss an inconsistent or contradictory account of an assault now have the means to consider whether the problems with the story are symptoms of the injury rather than signs of dishonesty. FETI training was first introduced to the NYPD at Special Victims, and Zimmerman has since made it part of the curriculum at Hostage Negotiation.

Rosado recently had a case with an autistic adult who had been sexually assaulted. “She was high-functioning,” he said. “But I noticed little things that reminded me of my son. When he’s had enough, his voice starts rising, and he talks quicker. With her, when I heard her doing that, I knew to change topics, maybe to talk a while about other things that interest her. She’d break eye contact, and I’d move to maintain it. With my son, I sometimes hold his cheeks and say, ‘Look at me!’”

That was not an option with the assault victim, of course. The case pained Rosado. Issues of autonomy and consent might be difficult to negotiate with the prosecutor in the case, as the victim was legally competent, but Rosado viewed what had occurred as criminally predatory. His mouth tightened. “He took money from her, and he took advantage. It upset me. That could be my son.”

“With autistic kids, they’re not all alike,” he said. “All of their stories are unique.”

*

Matt Hickey retired in 2010, but he still talks to every incoming class of negotiators. Lt. Zimmerman described him as an intimidating figure, more or less refrigerator-like in size and shape, and called him, with evident affection, “A monster!” As it happened, Hickey wasn’t able to make the lunch, but he phoned in his story—you can do that, as a negotiator. His voice is a low growl, like the sound of an A-train just outside the station, and even the off-hand details of his stories have an edge of menace. Before joining the NYPD, he was an elevator mechanic, until a friend from work convinced him to become a cop. The friend was the brother of Mickey Featherstone, a hit man with the Westies credited with nine homicides.

Det. Matt Hickey (retired)

But deceptive appearances were Hickey’s stock in trade. He came on the Job in 1990, and, after six years on patrol—on the Upper East Side and in Crown Heights—he was ready to make a move. As an Irish guy from Long Island who stood 5’8” and carried 240 lbs of gym-built muscle on his frame, the likeliest next step would have been ESU, or Street Crime, or Warrants, an assignment where his athletic mass would be an advantage, and his pale complexion would not be an impediment. Instead, he became an undercover in Narcotics. In the Bronx.

“I went in as a construction worker, having a meltdown,” he said. “If you had a gift of gab, you could get away with it. Most times, though, if you had money, they didn’t give a s—. One guy I go to cop from, he says, ‘You’re diesel!’ I say, ‘So are you!’ He was built, too, and he was using.”

Hickey made the buy, and many others. He worked on a midnight team, mostly in the 46th Precinct, a rough neighborhood that saw its share of suburban traffic due to its proximity to the George Washington Bridge. It says something about the state of the city back then that a man like Matt Hickey could make street buys. And it says something about the judgment of the average dealer that, on more than one occasion, they didn’t just fail to make him as a cop—they also took him as an easy mark. He was in two shootings, less than six weeks apart.

“One was at the end of the night, 4:30 in the morning,” he recalled. “It was up on Grand and Evelyn. I was walking with the ghost”—a second undercover, in this case a woman, ordinarily detailed to keep watch over the first—“And we hooked up with some guys up in Aqueduct Park there. They wanted me to front the money. I’m like, ‘I’m not giving them money to leave.’ She says, ‘I’ll go with them.’ So she walks away with one. A police car comes into the park and chases us out. So I’m walking out with the guy who did the okay for the sale, and she comes back—the guy took off on her. So I’m arguing with the guy who okayed the sale, expecting her to put it over the radio, ‘Move in!’ We can still take this guy. And the guy reaches in his pocket, I’m grabbing him—‘Get your hands out of your pocket! Get your hands out of your pocket!’ And I get my gun out, he grabs my gun. The gun went off, right next to his head.”

The dealer was shocked but unhurt. In telling the story, Hickey’s voice quickened only for effect—Get your hand out of my pocket!—and he was similarly unruffled when he related his account of his next shooting.

“The second time was a weed buy, 186th and Webster,” he said. “The ghost lost me. I was out in the street, middle of the night.”

Hickey made contact with a dealer who, he later learned, belonged to a gang that was infamous at the time.

“The Park Avenue Boys, the ones who shot Kevin Gillespie,” he said.

“Nobody wants to have a shooting. I had two in a month. The Bronx was happening then.”

Police Officer Kevin Gillespie was killed by three members of the gang, all violent felons on parole, following a pursuit for a carjacking. Hickey had gone to Gillespie’s funeral, in March, 1996, and his run-in with the Park Avenue Boys came nine months later.

“This guy was one of them,” Hickey went on. “Same thing, he was trying to rob me, he pulled out a straight-edged razor. I’m backing up, trying to get my gun out of my pocket. Shot him from the hip, hit him in the elbow.

“The field team came in, they cuff him, throw him in the van. I go back to the undercover car. My boss calls me over the air, ‘Yo, Hickey, did you let a round go?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Do you think you hit him?’ ‘Yeah.’ They go to him in the van. ‘Are you shot?’ ‘Yeah, I been telling you I been shot!’ ‘Yeah, yeah, sorry man!’ They take him out of the car, to the hospital.

“Later, he gives a forty-five minute statement to the DA, IAB, he gives up everything, how he tried rob me, how he pulled a razor out because I was bigger than him. Still, at the end, he says, ‘Why’d you have to shoot me?’”

Hickey laughed. “It was pretty funny, actually. I was a little scared then. There are things you can look back at and laugh. At the time, it was not fun. Being an undercover in the Bronx, it was a s—y time. It was not fun then.”

Asked if the shootings affected him, Hickey hesitated before replying, “Not really.” One of the would-be thieves hadn’t been hit; the other hadn’t been badly hurt. He hastened to clarify, “I don’t think I had PTSD from them. Nobody wants to have a shooting. I had two in a month. The Bronx was happening then.”

But the stress of undercover work, particularly at that time—six NYPD officers would be killed in the line of duty in 1996—was acute. The Narcotics Division had expanded dramatically through borough-based “Initiatives,” and buy-and-bust operations were conducted all over the city, at all hours. In the 46th Precinct, in the hilly western edge of Bronx, there were steep and narrow step-streets, unlit and isolated walkways that might descend seven stories connecting one block to another. A ghost couldn’t follow an undercover when he or she met a dealer there. The undercovers called them “terror domes.”

“It was a heavy time, back then,” Hickey said. “There were undercovers getting jumped, robbed all the time. Getting in shootings. One female undercover, a guy tried to rape her in the hallway. She shot him.”

Hickey was transferred to Manhattan after the shootings, but he stayed in touch with another Bronx undercover, Detective Sean Carrington. In January, 1998, Carrington made an undercover buy at 1660 Andrews Avenue when the dealer became suspicious of him and opened fire with a Mac-11 machine pistol. A shootout ensued, and both Carrington and the dealer, who was on parole for manslaughter, were killed.

“Sean was a great guy,” Hickey said. “Left behind a little baby. It makes you think, I’m risking my life for this?”

Work was taking its toll on Hickey, but he didn’t let it show. “If you talked to guys who knew me back then, I kinda had the reputation as a fun guy, drinking all the time, always laughing, smiling. I work out, I used to do some heavy lifting, back in the day. Physically, I was a strong guy. I put myself in a lot of tough, dangerous situations. I got myself out of ‘em. Guts-and-glory-wise, I had no fear.

“What happened to me in Narco was I started partying, drinking a lot. I was getting a little out of control,” he said. He didn’t drink every day, and drinking wasn’t an issue at work.

“But when I drank, I drank,” he said. Everybody has a bad day. Everybody has a couple of bad days. The problem is when you start putting a lot of bad days together, your body chemistry changes, your mental chemistry changes. That’s when you become full-blown depressed.

“I tell guys I’ve been burnt, I’ve been cut. At this point in my life, I’ve had ten surgeries, had a herniated neck and back, busted up all kinds of ways. The worst pain I’ve ever gone through is emotional, with depression. And it never went away. You wake up with it and you go to bed with it. You wake up, say, ‘F—, I gotta go through another day.’ You go to bed, you say, ‘I don’t want to wake up tomorrow.’ I wanted to end it.

“When you get to that point in life, your heart and your head are fighting. It’s hard to explain. My heart knows it’s wrong, but my head’s saying it’s the only answer. The disease was taking over my head. Not my body, but my head.

“Everybody has a bad day. Everybody has a couple of bad days. The problem is when you start putting a lot of bad days together…”

“I used to sit there with a gun in my hand, at home on my day off. And then my dog, he’d come over and put his head in my lap. And I’d think, ‘Who’s gonna take care of you?’ And that would stop me. Not my mother, my father, my brother, my friends. I was worried about my dog. That’s how sick you get, how depressed you get. In my head, I was going through ways to kill myself so it didn’t look like I killed myself… I didn’t want to make people feel bad. I didn’t want to embarrass my family.”

In 2001, Hickey tried to kill himself by taking an overdose of pills. It was an impulsive act: he was drunk, and forced down a fistful of ibuprofen and sleeping pills, which he threw up. He was afraid to get help. “I was afraid to lose my job. I liked being a cop,” he said.

Later that year, on the day after a wedding, Hickey was sitting at home. He’d enjoyed himself the night before. “It was a good wedding, a good time. Chateaubriand, shots of Bacardi. As much drinking as I did, it was my clearest night.”

The sense of resolution continued through the next day, a Sunday. Hickey took stock of his life and decided that he didn’t want any more of it. Thinking about the future was more than he could bear; reflecting on the past brought little consolation.

“I used to do a lot of crazy s— in high school. I was the class clown, pulled a lot of stunts. So my best friend growing up, he had a brother, a couple of years younger. He hung out with us, looked up to us. I was a stupid role model. The night of his birthday, my best friend, me and him were out with some girls. His brother was out with some friends. He climbed up a telephone pole, got blown out, killed instantly. I always felt a guilt that he did that because he was acting like me,” he said.

Hickey called his high school friend’s father. “Just to tell him, ‘Listen, I’m sorry for what I did. I didn’t mean for that to happen to you…I’m sorry Dennis died, it was my fault, I feel bad about it.’

“He wound up catching me on it. He was a Nassau County sergeant, a detective sergeant. Turns out, he happened to be on the hostage team in Nassau County. He called me out. He said, ‘Are you gonna hurt yourself?’ I said, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to live anymore.’ He came and got me.”

Hickey was put in touch with POPPA, a volunteer police support group. Though he had taken his last drink at the wedding, he is hazy on the details of what followed. “POPPA came and met me in Long Island. They talked to me for a while. They took me to a place in Syosset to get me tested. I talked to a counselor up there. I don’t remember the place, I was in such a fog. Then I called my command and said I’m gonna be out sick, a couple of guys are gonna be coming in, going to my locker. They kept it secret—‘Blue Line sick’—they didn’t tell anybody.

“This was Monday, September 10th. On September 11th, they were gonna get me into the city, into the office, and then probably send me to ‘the Farm.’”

Needless to say, the plan changed. It was more than Hickey could process at the time, given his emotional state. “It was 9/11. I wanted to come in. They said, ‘You can’t do it.’ I was in such a fog. I was such a piece of garbage. Not a piece of garbage. I was at my lowest point. I wasn’t at work. I wasn’t there to help. It was rough.

”If it wasn’t for the people around me, I don’t think I’d be here talking to you on the phone today. They wound up hooking me up with a retired lieutenant who was sober, very involved with AA, a long time of sobriety. He started taking me to a lot of AA meetings, right away.

“I was living in the basement of a friend of mine’s house, a very good friend. He was a Suffolk cop, but we were cops together in Brooklyn. I told him what was going on. He stepped up, big time. Every day, he made sure I got out of bed and went to the gym with him, made sure I kept busy.”

Hickey left Narcotics for the Detective Bureau in 2004. He was in Brooklyn North Night Watch in 2007 when a friend recommended that he look into the Hostage Negotiation Team. “The guy told me, ‘You been through s—, through a lot of s—. You’re the guy they’re looking for.’”

When Lt. Jack Cambria, the commanding officer at the time, brought Hickey in for an interview, a highly-regarded and well-loved member of HNT had just committed suicide, stunning her friends. Hickey told the lieutenant, “The woman who killed herself is not the woman you knew.” Cambria brought Hickey on the team.

“I know what it’s like to be a guy who loses control of his life,” Hickey said. “I can talk to suicidal guys, especially suicidal cops. We have an easier ability to do ourselves in. The problem is, we don’t like to talk to other guys. We’re all supposed to be tough. We’re supposed to be these strong, hero guys who can take it all.

“Before I got help, I thought the Job wanted to get rid of me. I try to explain to guys that the Job doesn’t want you to go. I know there was an old stipulation—you go to Psych Services, you’re out of a job, you’re done. It turns out, the Job really doesn’t want to lose you. They have a lot invested in you. They want you to get better, you know?

“I wasn’t the Job’s favorite guy, either. I’ve been to the Trial Room a couple of times. I’ve had my charges, my civilian complaints. But I did learn that the Job does care about you.“

“My first HNT job, I was in Brooklyn North Night Watch at the time. We get a call-out of a guy on a rooftop in the 7th Precinct. I was driving, and Jack was on the phone, ‘Get up there! Get to the top of the stairs, he’s on the roof!’

Once Hickey arrived and made his way through the crowd of cops at the roof, the man threw a bottle at him. “Here’s a guy, his girlfriend and him are fighting, he’s drinking all the time. He was living my story! We just started talking. Jack came, and he said, ‘Keep talking.’

“As a hostage negotiator, you want to slow down everything and have them think more about other options. ‘You have young kids, your family loves you, you’d devastate your family. Do you understand what you’re leaving behind? You’re leaving behind unanswered questions. You’re leaving behind the fact that people are always gonna think, ‘What could I have done to stop it? What could I have done to help him? Why’d I do this to him? Why’d I let him down?’

“If you can stop somebody for a minute, get them to slow down and think, it might be enough to get them off that ledge, to come back and get the help they need.”

Hickey said all of that and more on his first job, on the rooftop. At last, he seemed to break through to the man: “The guy had a knife. He said, ‘I’ll throw the knife down.’ I said, ‘No! Don’t throw it! Just lay it down.’ And then finally, he sat down and started crying.”

Hickey reflected, “It’s a different kind of satisfaction. When you get a good call-out, when you get somebody off the roof. When you get someone to let the kids out, the homicide perp to surrender. When you get the EDP come out unharmed, and ESU didn’t have to take the door, or shoot somebody, you feel good.

“I know what it’s like to be a guy who loses control of his life. I can talk to suicidal guys, especially suicidal cops.”

“We did have a cop once, Jack and I. He left a note, a suicide note, with his ex-wife. He was on his way down south to kill himself. We got him on the phone. We got him to come back. Last I heard, he’s doing very well. He’s remarried, he has kids. We were lucky that time.

“It made a difference how I handled perps too. I’ve met bikers, guys who did time in prison. You know what? Clean and sober, they’re the nicest guys in the world. Not everybody has the same opportunity. Not everybody wants to be a bad guy.”

Since retirement, Hickey has worked security at St. Francis Hospital, in Roslyn, Long Island. His skills have not atrophied. “You get people who are going through hard times. Older people, people with dementia, people who are having reactions to medications. People at the end of their lives, in hospice. I go to their rooms when they’re getting violent, try to talk ‘em down. After one time, a nurse asks me, ‘How the hell did you do that?’ I said, ‘Because I was a hostage negotiator.’

“Whenever I do the classes, I tell everybody, ‘Take my number. Call me, if anyone’s having a problem, for any reason.’

“Hopefully, you never need to use it, but if you do, my phone is forever on, 24/7. You never know who’s going through what in life. And you never know who can help you.”

On September 9, it will be seventeen years since Matt Hickey had a drink, at his friend’s wedding. He will observe the occasion by getting married to a woman he’s known since high school. “Like they told me in the program,” he said, “As long as I don’t pick up a drink, as long as I keep my head on tight, I’m gonna live a life beyond my wildest dreams.”

*

There was nothing in Mike Ahearne’s background that prepared him to be a negotiator. His childhood was ordinary and wholesome, his marriage has been loving and stable, and his children are healthy and well-adjusted. He’s been a cop for thirty years. He doesn’t look like one especially—he’s tall, with a clean-shaven head and a pair of half-frame glasses, and a sturdy build that betrays no undue devotion either to the weight room or the dessert table. Mostly, the cop-time doesn’t tell on him in his amiability, his open manner and easy smile. Every functioning office has someone like Ahearne, whether they sell bonds on Wall Street or bang out dents on cars on Jerome Avenue: a hard worker who’s not out to beat the world, or the guy next to him; someone who’s disinclined to involvement in-house drama, but a sympathetic ear for the disgruntled at nearby desks. He hasn’t moved around much in the course of his career: he went from the 19th Precinct, on the Upper East Side, to the 19th Precinct Detective Squad, and then to Manhattan South Night Watch. His training in hostage negotiations was strictly on-the-job.

Det. Mike Ahearne (Paul Yuen/NYPD)  

Ahearne was a natural at it, he found. At his first call-out, he was with Lt. Cambria and another detective, Sammy Miller, from the 9th Squad. “It was at a hairy one,” he said. “A guy had doused himself and his eighteen-month-old daughter with gasoline, and his apartment was full of propane tanks. The fire department had filled the basement with water, so it was like a swimming pool.” After Ahearne persuaded the man to surrender without hurting anyone, a reporter approached him and told him, “If I ever get taken hostage, I want you to negotiate.”

Ahearne’s introduction to the subject matter was far from academic, however. In January, 2002, a woman walked into the 19th Precinct to make a complaint against her child’s father regarding his recent attempt to gain visitation rights.

“I’m the furthest away from the door,” Ahearne sighed, remembering. “Eight detectives are between me and her. But they send her to me.”

He read the situation the same way every other cop in the room did: This one’s red-hot and sloppy, and no matter how it ends, they’re both gonna hate me. The legal issues in play would likely be technical and tenuous, the emotions operatically broad and intense. Still, Ahearne was a team player, and he met with the complainant to talk things over.

The woman had abundant cause to feel aggrieved. She’d raised her six-year-old without the father’s support, financial or otherwise, and his periodic reappearances seemed calculated to disrupt her life rather than any sincere attempt to bond with their child. Ahearne was sympathetic, but it seemed to be a matter for family court, and no crime had been so far alleged. They spoke at some length before she mentioned that on one of his sporadic visits, several years before, he’d held her and child hostage at gunpoint.

In journalism, that’s called “burying the lede,” and its belated report tends not to bolster the credibility of an accuser in a contentious relationship. Still, when Ahearne ran a background check on the man, Adrian Leibovici, he saw that he’d been arrested for having a gun in Manhattan, in 1984. The account of the arrest was uselessly succinct: “At the time and place of occurrence, defendant did possess a loaded and operable firearm.”

Still, it was enough to prompt Ahearne to take a closer look, and he asked another detective to accompany him to the address the woman provided, in Rego Park, Queens. It was an unprepossessing place, an apartment that had been divided into rental rooms, and Leibovici made no particular impression, either. He was husky but not imposing, in his early forties, with a salt-and-pepper beard, and appeared somewhat nervous but eager to cooperate. Ahearne was as sympathetic with him as he had been with his ex in the squad room.

“Let’s talk about it,” he said. “You’re not under arrest, I promise! Can you come back to the precinct with me? If you’re right, I’ll serve the papers on her myself.”

When Leibovici asked to go to his room to get his legal paperwork, Ahearne delayed him for a moment. “No offense, but I ran your record. It said you took a gun charge, twenty years ago.”

Leibovici had no objection to a quick pat-down. In his room, he retrieved his stack of papers, and then he walked to the bed, where his jacket was. He picked it up and pulled the chain on the light. Ahearne now believes that was the moment when he picked up the gun.

In the car, his partner offered to sit next to Leibovici in the back seat. He was uncuffed—Ahearne had been sincere in assuring him that he wasn’t in custody—and they made small talk on the ride back to the Upper East Side. Leibovici had been born in Romania, raised in Israel, and had served in the military.

But as soon as Ahearne brought him up to the interview room in the 19th Squad, he noticed the difference in him. “His body language changed. He sat there with his arms crossed, a glass of water beside him. I told him to take his jacket off, and when he handed it to me, I felt the weight in the pockets. Three loaded magazines. I look up, and he pulls a gun out of his crotch.”

Ahearne grew animated as he told the story, acting out the blow-by-blow, but the smile never left his face. The lunacy and terror of the moment was displaced; he could have been at a bar, talking about the craziest thing that once happened to his cousin.

“I reach across the table, grab the gun, and we’re fighting. Boom, boom! I tried to get out, bumped into the desk, fell back. He’s pulling on my tie, using me as cover. The door shuts, and it’s stuck. Not locked, but it’s as good as locked, jammed shut. Guys are pounding at the door.

“He hits me in the head with the gun. ‘Hands up!’ I raise my hands. He’s yelling, ‘Now you’re gonna die! I’m gonna blow your head off!

“He says, ‘I want your gun.’

“I say, ‘You can’t have it.’

“He tries to take it, but I push him away. I was wondering if his gun wasn’t loaded, or if it didn’t work, but I didn’t want to bet…”

“There was no way out aside from talking.”

Ahearne was on his knees with a gun pointed at his head when inspiration struck. After reassuring Leibovici as best he could, over and over—“You wanted this fight, not me! You wanted this fight!”—he offered a kind of compromise: Ahearne is left-handed, and he offered to lie down on his left side, pinning his gun beneath him so he wouldn’t be able to draw it. Leibovici thought for a moment before he agreed. “I don’t feel comfortable, Mike, but I respect you.”

Ahearne shared the discomfort, if not the respect, as he would remain frozen in that position for the next several hours. Leibovici crouched by the door, so he couldn’t be seen through the square of glass above him. He held the gun “maybe a foot, maybe eighteen inches” from Ahearne’s head. He wouldn’t have missed if he pulled the trigger.

There was no way out aside from talking. The 19th Precinct had been built in 1887, and Ahearne didn’t want to guess the last time the door had been replaced or reframed. It wouldn’t budge when the other detectives tried to get in, or when ESU deployed, creating additional defensive barricades of sandbags inside the squad room.

A few hours before, twenty feet away, Ahearne had been sitting at his battered old metal desk, clacking away on his typewriter, updating his reports on carbon-paper triplicates. Aggravated harassment cases, credit card theft, bar fights. The other detectives might have been grumbling about overtime, or who hadn’t paid their dues for the coffee club. It had been such a dull day in the office. Why couldn’t it have stayed that way?

When Ahearne wasn’t convinced that he’d be shot in the head, he was beset by a lesser but still needling fear: I’m gonna get in such big trouble for this! What would the bosses say? Not all of them, not even most, but the big shots who had been career benchwarmers when it came to street work. He knew they’d ask, “Why didn’t you search him? Why didn’t you cuff him?” Ahearne wanted to survive for many reasons—for every reason—but there were moments when he wanted to live just so he’d have a chance to explain that he wasn’t to blame.      

At one point, Leibovici asked, “You have kids?”

Ahearne replied that he did, and Leibovici dug a hand into his pocket to check his wallet for pictures. He didn’t always carry pictures of his children with him, but he did that day, and he has ever since. Leibovici told him, “If this all works out, you’ll see them again.”

Soon after, two negotiators arrived—Sammy Miller and Jack Cambria, as it happened—along with Michael O’Looney, a former reporter who was the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. When the negotiators drew Leibovici out on his grievances, Ahearne was…puzzled. The object of his captor’s anger was not him, or the NYPD, or the police in Romania or Israel. It wasn’t even his ex. It was the CIA. Leibovici claimed to have been a contractor, a hit man who had traveled to various countries on the agency’s behalf. He had not been treated fairly, and he wanted the world to know. “I’m a true American patriot, and they forgot about me.”

At one point, Leibovici pulled up his shirt to reveal an American flag tattoo on the left side of his chest. “Touch it, Mike. Touch it,” he insisted.

“All right,” Ahearne replied. “But that’s all I’m touching.”

When he recalled that moment—sixteen years later, beer in hand, a wry smile on his face—it was hard to gauge his level of irony. “I’m thinking, ‘If this starts getting weird…”

Detectives from Queens were dispatched to the rented room to retrieve a trove of documents. Several garbage bags were needed to haul them back to Manhattan. Once they were perused by Miller and Cambria—the more relevant ones had been laminated—Leibovici wanted to talk to a reporter. O’Looney, who still carried his press credentials, was deemed satisfactory. Leibovici began to make an extended statement, coughing once in the middle, and he was impressed when O’Looney’s readback included the cough.

As the hours passed, veering between crisis and stasis, the relationship between the two men in the room shifted. Though Leibovici remained in a state of high agitation, sweating profusely as he ranted, he softened somewhat in his attitude toward Ahearne, whom he relied on to clarify or confirm what the negotiators told him. At one point, Ahearne felt confident enough to make a request.

“Hey, Adrian, do me a favor? Don’t point that gun at my head. I don’t want it to go off if you sneeze.”

Leibovici shrugged and lowered the gun. “Oh, okay.”

When the manifesto had finally been recited and recorded to Leibovici’s satisfaction, Ahearne was tempted to hope he might live through the night. But then there was another demand: Leibovici wanted his magnum opus translated into Hebrew.

The response from the negotiators was equally unexpected. Sammy Miller flatly refused to accommodate him, saying, “No. You said you’re a man of honor. You gave your word. Honor your agreement.”

“Ahearne wanted to survive for many reasons—for every reason—but there were moments when he wanted to live just so he’d have a chance to explain that he wasn’t to blame.”    

Ahearne watched as Leibovici sat and thought, staring at the gun in his hands. He seemed to have made a decision; he racked the slide. And then he disassembled the gun with a practiced dexterity: “It was as if he worked at the range.” He gave Ahearne the parts and asked, “What do you want me to do now?”

Ahearne’s body was cramped and numb, his mind a shocked near-blank, but he reacted immediately. He struggled to his feet and aimed his gun at Leibovici, ordering him to face the wall with his hands up. It was over, and he was alive.

Ahearne shouted to the negotiators that he was free, that he had Leibovici’s gun. It took two staggering blows from the battering ram to force the door open. ESU officers are trained as paramedics, and one of them checked his vital statistics. Afterwards, he looked at Ahearne quizzically. “You’re the guy who got taken hostage, right? Your blood pressure’s normal.”

Though Ahearne showed extraordinary composure throughout the ordeal, it has had a deep and lasting effect on him. Small things continue to rankle him: the next time he met Leibovici’s ex, she was bitter and snappish, aggrieved that she was kept up at all hours by police during the hostage situation. Leibovici’s gun arrest from 1984 wasn’t for routine possession, but the result of a barricade standoff in a hotel room. That would have been helpful to know. At the lunch, Ahearne’s account of his night of torture was jarringly lighthearted, jokey and full of ironic asides, but when he finished, he pulled his jacket lapels back and plucked at his damp shirt. “I still sweat like a pig when I tell that story.”

After he became a negotiator, he made use of his experience. “I’ve said, ‘Listen, I’ve been there, I know what it feels like. Believe me, it’s worse as a police officer, when you’re completely powerless.’ I think it touched people, it’s gotten through to them.”

Becoming a part of HNT may have aided him in coming to terms with what had happened to him; he’d lived through it, and he could help others survive as well. Jack Cambria might have sensed that it would, or he might have simply admired his unwavering grace under unimaginable pressure. Still, Ahearne felt that the job offer, when it came, was slightly premature.

“I was walking out the door when Jack says, ‘I liked the way you handled yourself in there. Did you ever think about coming on the team?”

“I said, ‘Thanks… Can I get back to you on that?”

Commanding officers of the Hostage Negotiations Team with Commissioner James. P. O’Neill. Left to right: Lt. Jack Cambria, Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, Captain Frank Bolz, Lt. Robert Louden, Commissioner O’Neill, Captain John Gorman, Lt. Hugh McGowan, Lt. David Nilson. (Paul Yuen/NYPD)

 

 

The post “Talk to Me:” The NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team appeared first on NYPD News.


NYPD Sees Continued Decline in Crime in October 2018

 

New York, New York – This October, New York City experienced fewer index crimes than in any previous October during the modern Compstat era while overall crime since January continues to fall to historic lows compared to the same time in 2017. Overall crime in 2018 is currently projected to drop beneath what would become a new record-setting low of 97,000 total index crimes by years end. Also of note, New York City did not have a single shooting during the period of a three-day weekend — from October 12 to October 14. It is the first time this has occurred in the past 25 years.

“As we near the end of 2018, I am very optimistic about where we find ourselves,” Commissioner James P. O’Neill said. “Cops and the people we serve are working together better than ever. And the NYPD and our law enforcement partners at the local, state, and federal levels are working in tandem more effectively than at any time in our history. We will never lose focus of our primary mission: fighting crime and keeping people safe. And we know that all New Yorkers, in every neighborhood, always need to feel safe, too – that’s really our ultimate goal.”

“Last month was a difficult time for our City as forces of hatred tried to divide and terrorize us. But, New Yorkers showed that we are resilient and will never stop celebrating our diversity,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are the safest big city in the country because the NYPD is as diverse as all 8.5 million New Yorkers. I want to thank all our officers for working with every community to fight crime and protect us from terror.”

Key highlights from this month’s crime statistics include:

  • Year-to-date, overall index crimes are down -1.4% in 2018, which represents 1,149 fewer victims.
  • Murders in the month of October 2018 are down -41.4% compared to October 2017.
  • Shooting incidents are down -6.8% this October, compared to last October, and year-to-date shootings are down -4.7% in 2018 compared to last year.

Additionally, of the 160 rapes reported in October 2018, 16% occurred in a prior year. This is compared to 152 rapes reported in October 2017 where 14% occurred in a prior year. The NYPD continues to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward and report the crimes.

 

Statistics on Index Crimes 2017 – 2018

  Oct. 2018 Oct. 2017 Change +/-% Year-to-Date 2018 Year-to-Date 2017 Change +/-%
Murder 17 29 -12 -41.4% 248 244 +4 +1.6%
Rape 160 152 +8 +5.3% 1,518 1,206 +312 +25.9%
Robbery 1,135 1,256 -121 -9.6% 10,741 11,547 -806 -7.0%
Felony Assault 1,588 1,792 -204 -11.4% 16,921 17,145 -224 -1.3%
Burglary 1,004 1,177 -173 -14.7% 9,689 10,050 -361 -3.6%
Grand Larceny 3,833 3,894 -61 -1.6% 35,913 35,870 +43 +0.1%
G.L.A. 486 587 -101 -17.2% 4,616 4,733 -117 -2.5%
Total 8,223 8,887 -664 -7.5% 79,646 80,795 -1,149 -1.4%

 

Additional Statistics on Crimes and Shootings:

  Oct. 2018 Oct. 2017 Change +/-% Year-to-Date 2018 Year-to-Date 2017 Change +/-%
Transit 244 243 +1 +0.4% 2,028 2,015 +13 +0.6%
Housing 347 399 -52 -13.0% 3,866 4,088 -222 -5.4%
Shooting Incidents 68 73 -5 -6.8% 642 674 -32 -4.7%

 

Additionally, below is New York City hate crime data as of November 4. While New York City was on pace to have a lower number of hate crimes in 2018 than 2017, the last month saw a notable uptick, particularly in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Motivation 2018 2017 Change +/-
ASIAN 4 5 -1
BLACK 37 30 +7
DISABILITY 1 0 +1
ETHNIC 6 10 -4
GENDER 7 11 -4
HISPANIC 6 6 0
MUSLIM 16 32 -16
OTHER 11 16 -5
RELIGION 7 9 -2
SEMITIC 159 130 +29
SEXUAL ORIENTATION 40 40 0
WHITE 15 8 +7
Grand Total 309 297 +12

 

Note: All crime statistics are preliminary and subject to further analysis, revisions, or change.

The post NYPD Sees Continued Decline in Crime in October 2018 appeared first on NYPD News.


A glimpse at Neighborhood Policing in the 115 Precinct

 

The post A glimpse at Neighborhood Policing in the 115 Precinct appeared first on NYPD News.


2018 Halloween Parade

This year’s Village Halloween Parade was truly one for the ages. Thousands of New Yorkers lined Sixth Avenue in Manhattan to marvel at the yearly Halloween spectacle while the men and women of the NYPD were out in force to keep everyone safe. As expected, the costumes were amazing. We had the full gamut of movie themes, scary clowns, a spectacular performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, and even many people showing us love as they dressed as police officers for the day.

Thanks to our advanced preparation and the efforts of our officers, no major incidents were reported on the parade route.

“The thousands of people who are participating in the 45th annual village Halloween parade in Manhattan can do so as they did last year, amid an atmosphere of community, peace and fun, and certainly not fear,” said Police Commissioner O’Neill.

Check out these pictures  from the event:

NYPD executives

Future police officer

Our new police vehicle

Somewhere over the rainbow

Pennywise made an appearance

Astronauts

With most people were enjoying the action of the parade, Detective Rupnarine was busy performing CPR on a spectator who lost consciousness and hit his head. While all of our officers are trained in CPR, Detective Rupnarine happens to teach the class at the police academy. By the time EMS arrived, the spectator was awake and alert thanks to this officers’ quick response.

The post 2018 Halloween Parade appeared first on NYPD News.


Keeping NYC Safe is a Shared Responsibility

New Yorkers are safe, but all 8.6 million residents and the nearly 63 million visitors we host each year – should always remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. As always, we urge people to alert law enforcement to anything that might seem strange or out of place  or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. You can flag down a cop, call 9-11 or call our toll-free counterterrorism hotline at 1-888-NYC-SAFE.  The NYPD doesn’t underestimate the difference even one person can make toward our collective safety and neither should the people of New York.

“New Yorkers are safe. There are no current, credible threats to any individuals … organizations … or locations here in New York City.” – Said Police Commissioner O’Neill

Here are a few Tips on identifying a suspicious package:

The post Keeping NYC Safe is a Shared Responsibility appeared first on NYPD News.





Births/Deaths Marriages

Maria Rivera, November 2018, Jersey City, New Jersey

Maria passed away in November 2018.

Maria was a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey at the time of passing.


Flora Romano, 88, October 6, 1930 - November 13, 2018, Jersey City, New Jersey

Flora was born on October 6, 1930 and passed away on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Flora was a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey at the time of passing.

A visitation for Flora will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2018, from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Riotto Funeral Home & Cremation Company (for GPS use Address 14 Stagg St., Jersey City, NJ 07306). Funeral services will begin on Friday, November 16, 2018, 9:00 AM at the Funeral Home, followed by a 10:00 AM Mass at St. Anne's Church,...


Hortencia Rivera, November 2018, Jersey City, New Jersey

Hortencia passed away in November 2018.

Hortencia was a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey at the time of passing.


George A. Ouzounian, November 8, 2018, New York, New York

George A. Ouzounian In Loving Memory of George A. Ouzounian


Peter Anthony Giampietro, 73, August 13, 1945 - November 11, 2018, Fairview, New Jersey

Peter was born on August 13, 1945 and passed away on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Peter was a resident of Fairview, New Jersey at the time of passing.

He was also a United States veteran of the Army National Guard.

Funeral from the A.K. Macagna Funeral Home 495 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park , N.J. on Wednesday November 14, 2018 at 9:30 am thence to St. Peter the Apostle RC Church 445 5th Ave., River Edge , N.J., where a Funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30 am . Interment to follow at...


Events

Central Park Tour: Heart of the Park

Date: November 23, 2018

Walk straight through the heart of Central Park on this east-to-west tour led by Central Park Conservancy Guides. Enjoy a great variety of the scenic, sculptural, and architectural elements the Park has to offer. Highlights of this tour include Conservatory Water, Loeb Boathouse, Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge, Cherry Hill, the Lake, and Strawberry Fields.

Details

Meet: Samuel F. B. Morse statue (inside the Park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue). Tour ends at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Map of the start location
Terrain: A few inclines and some stairs.
Length of Tour: Approximately 90 minutes
Cost: Free. Space is limited; advance registration is suggested. No groups, please. Register online!

For weather cancellation and other ticket policies, please review our Tours Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Groups of seven or more must schedule a group tour three weeks in advance at tours@centralparknyc.org.

Start time: 2:00 pm

End time: 3:30 pm

Contact phone: (212) 310-6600

Location: Samuel F. B. Morse Statue (in Central Park)


Open Garden Days: Deer Resistant Plants Demonstration Gardens

Date: November 19, 2018

White-tail deer are herbivores, which means they eat plants. While there are no plant species that are truly deer-proof, deer do develop preferences and will ignore many types of plants in their grazing patterns. Planting with a high diversity of plant species will minimize the impact that any deer will have in your garden.

The gardens around the Conference House Visitors' Center feature plants that deer are less likely to eat. See which plants may work for your home!

WildlifeNYC is a campaign launched by the City of New York to increase public awareness about urban wildlife, and how humans can live harmoniously with the animals who also call the Big Apple home.

Start time: 7:00 am

End time: 7:00 pm

Contact phone:

Location: Conference House Park Visitor Center (in Conference House Park)


School/Class News

CCNY’s Marlene Camacho-Rivera is a Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship recipient

Marlene Camacho Rivera is a Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship recipient

Marlene Camacho Rivera, a Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship recipient.

Marlene Camacho-Rivera, assistant professor, CUNY School of Medicine at The City College of New York, focuses her research on improving chronic disease self-management in the areas of asthma and cancer within urban minority communities. As a Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship recipient, Camacho-Rivera will continue her research in those areas receiving recognition for her contributions to underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities in medicine.

Given by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the fellowship recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member who has demonstrated leadership in the United States in addressing inequities in medical education and health care; has demonstrated efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities; and is committed to a career in academic medicine.

Camacho-Rivera’s asthma research includes the development, implementation and evaluation of mobile health technologies and wearable devices to improve asthma education and medication adherence among minority adolescents and adults with asthma. She is also a co-investigator on the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick Cancer Health Impact Program.

As the course director of sociomedical sciences, Camacho-Rivera teaches minority health and health equity topics through an assets-based framework. She serves as an investigator and faculty mentor within The City College of New York and Memorial Sloan Kettering Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity program, and she is currently evaluating the integration of social determinants of health topics within the medical curriculum and serves as the chapter representative within the Social Medicine Consortium’s Campaign Against Racism.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its role at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility indexThis measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.2% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.  View CCNY Media Kit.

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Ashley Arocho
p: 212.650.6460
e: aarocho@ccny.cuny.edu
View CCNY Media Kit


CUNY Board Of Trustees Chairperson Thompson, Chancellor Rabinowitz Welcome Amazon To NYC, Emphasize University’s Commitment To Provide Pipeline For Talent

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an agreement with Amazon for the company to establish a new corporate headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. The transformational project will generate an estimated $27.5 billion in city and state revenue over 25 years and create some 40,000 jobs by 2034, with an average salary of $150,000. The agreement includes commitments to build a 10,000-square-foot onsite employment center to connect New Yorkers with jobs and training, and CUNY students stand to benefit from this welcome pathway to tech careers.   

CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. said: “The City University of New York is thrilled to be a lead partner in Amazon’s exciting headquarters expansion, which promises to have a transformative impact on New York City’s economy and our collective ability to spur employment opportunities and growth. CUNY is America’s largest urban university system, and we will commit our considerable college assets to ensure that Amazon has a strong pipeline for talent, ideas and innovation.”

CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz said: “CUNY stands ready to work with Amazon and our partners in government to provide skilled graduates ready to compete for Amazon’s 40,000 new jobs. We look forward to contributing the talent and creativity of our faculty, staff and students to shape a wide-ranging collaboration over the years.”

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 24 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields.  The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

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PROFESSOR MONICA VARSANYI’S NEW BOOK WINS AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY AWARD

Professor Monica Varsanyi’s New Book Wins American Society of Criminology Award

In November 2018, Monica Varsanyi, Professor of Political Science, along with her co-authors, will receive the 2018 Outstanding Book in Policing Award by the American Society of Criminology (ASC), Division of Policing. Titled Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front LinesVarsanyi’s book uses data from three national surveys, to analyze the role of law enforcement within current society. “When we started this research back in 2009, there wasn’t a lot of data. There was this energy to try to get local law enforcement involved in immigration and a lot of police chiefs didn’t know what to do,” says Varsanyi. “Our study was the first to provide this information to people.” With chapters covering immigrant policing, conflicting politics around immigration control, and the understanding between community members and law enforcement, this book offers insight on localized immigrant policing and provides recommendations on how we can move forward. We sat down with Varsanyi to learn more about her book, the ASC award, and the advice she has for John Jay students.

Q: What is the role of local law enforcement in policing immigration?

MV: The role of police in immigration enforcement varies across the country. It’s what we call a patchwork of approaches. For much of the 20th century, the federal government was in charge of immigration enforcement. First it was through Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and then in 2003, INS turned into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As a result of laws passed in 1996, the federal government reached out to local police agencies and offered for them to get involved in immigration enforcement. What ended up happening was that some police agencies across the country wanted to do more immigration enforcing and some agencies did not, because they wanted to be a sanctuary—a place that wouldn’t get involved in immigration enforcement. The role of police depends on where you are. There are some places that are enforcement oriented and other places that embrace their immigrant population.

 

“Research has shown that in places with restrictive policies on immigration—where police are working closely with immigration enforcement—immigrants are far more likely not to speak to law enforcement.”—Monica Varsanyi

 

Q: How have the actions of local law enforcement helped shape the immigration policies that we have today?

MV: Over the last decade, there has been a lot of research done showing that in places with policies reaching out to their immigrant communities and doing community policing—neighborhood foot patrol, meetings in churches and schools, and anonymous hotlines—have immigrants that are more likely to speak to them. Research has shown that in places with restrictive policies on immigration—where police are working closely with immigration enforcement—immigrants are far more likely not to speak to law enforcement. If you have places where immigrants will speak to law enforcement and places where they won’t, that doesn’t just affect the immigrant community, but impacts the community as a whole. For example, if somebody is a victim of a crime and an immigrant witnesses it, if that immigrant fears deportation and takes off, it’s going to have an impact on everybody. In pro-immigrant places, police have found that public safety is upheld at a higher standard than in places that have a more restrictive approach where public safety ultimately suffers.

Varsanyi's book Policing Immigrants

The cover of Varsanyi’s book

Q: How do the views of immigrants in different communities shape the way local law enforcement police those areas?

MV: The data we used came from three national surveys of police chiefs and sheriffs, where approximately 800 responded. We also did case studies in seven cities across the country like Dodge City, Kansas; New Haven, Connecticut; and Salem, Oregon. Generally speaking, in those places, the police were not swayed by the political feelings of the community. We had a set of survey questions that asked police chiefs to share their opinions about a certain issue and contrast that with what they believed their community thought about that issue. In one case, the police chief felt that it was important to gain the trust of the community, and had the impression that his community didn’t feel that way. In most cases, the police are a less tied to the politics of their areas.

Q: How is the relationship between law enforcement and communities important in policing immigration?

MV: If an immigrant is a victim of a crime like domestic violence and they know that the police are focused on immigration enforcement, it dampens the relationship between police and immigrant communities because immigrants won’t want to speak to police. Mainly, the immigrants just have fear that they will be swept up in deportation. One of our case studies was in Braille, Durham, North Carolina. The city police had a non-cooperation policy in place, but the county in which the city was located was a little more enforcement oriented. The county is where the jail is. From the late 2000s to the 2010s, the program Secure Communities was implemented in every jail across the country—it is mandatory; no one can opt-out of it. What this program does, is anyone who gets arrested and brought into jails, gets screened against immigration processing even if they are ultimately not guilty of a crime. People become afraid that they are going to get deported. In places like North Carolina, individual officers knew that if they arrested someone, and took them to jail, that the person would be screened for immigration violations. Even though the city couldn’t maintain less cooperation with ICE, individual officers had discretion about who they arrested.

Q: Why is the topic of policing immigration important for the John Jay community?

MV: There are a lot of people in the John Jay community who have some connection to policing. Being aware of the dynamics of immigration and policing across the country is an important part of one’s training, especially if they are heading into law enforcement. Certainly having knowledge of this issue and being trained in it is an important thing. From the immigration side, John Jay has lots of immigrants who are part of our student body and it’s incredibly important for them to understand these dynamics as well.

 

“Don’t feel isolated or alone in these issues. There are really vibrant groups of scholars in immigrant communities who are struggling with the same problems and working on these issues, so no one should feel alone.”—Monica Varsanyi

 

Q: You received an award from the ASC, how did you feel when you first found out?

MV: I was incredibly honored. There are four co-authors on this book and we were very proud that the work we did is impacting people and providing them with good information. When we started this research 10 years ago, not many people had information about this topic. At the time we were publishing white papers and research reports, and sending them to the people who answered our surveys to tell them what we found. Getting this award brings more attention to the book and shows that people want to know more. We are delighted that this book is having an impact, particularly given the policy of this moment. We just want to get the word out there and make sure people are informed.

Q: What advice can you offer to the John Jay community to help find a way forward with immigration issues?

MV: Be as informed as possible. Don’t feel isolated or alone in these issues. There are really vibrant groups of scholars in immigrant communities who are struggling with the same problems and working on these issues, so no one should feel alone. Everyone should do what they can to feel informed and empowered through that information.


CUNY SPH researchers test a web-based tool to encourage good nutrition among urban youth

young boy using a tablet computerChildhood obesity is a serious public health challenge in the United States, especially among black and Latino adolescents. The pervasive use of technology and new media among this population creates a unique opportunity for a targeted health intervention through these avenues.

With this in mind, CUNY SPH doctoral students Sandra Verdaguer and Katrina F. Mateo and Associate Professor May May Leung of Hunter College led a study of black and Latino children in East Harlem on the usability of prototypes of an interactive, tablet-optimized manga-style comic tailored to promote increased intake of fruits and vegetables or water. The results were published in JMIR Formative Research.

The researchers recruited English-speaking Latino and black children ages 9 to 13 to participate in two rounds of usability testing to provide feedback and identify problems to help inform final development of the web-based tool. The study found the overall experience with the tool to be positive, especially related to storyline, sound effects, and color schemes. Feedback from the participants resulted in a navigation guide being added, clickable icons being made more visible, graphic designs improved and programming errors corrected.

“Future usability testing of web-based tools with youth should consider using dyad sessions since the interaction between participants while they both use the tool can lead to richer feedback,” says Verdaguer.

The finalized tool was recently tested in a two-group randomized study, the initial findings of which will be presented in March at the 2019 Society of Behavioral Medicine meeting in Washington, DC.

Verdaguer S, Mateo KF, Wyka K, Dennis-Tiwary TA, Leung MM. A Web-Based Interactive Tool to Reduce Childhood Obesity Risk in Urban Minority Youth: Usability Testing Study. JMIR Formativ Res2018;2(2):e21 DOI: 10.2196/formative.9747


Pictures

Sports

Alonso hits two-run double in AFL action

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Tuesday:


NL Cy winner to be announced Wednesday

BBWAA awards week is upon us, continuing with Tuesday's 6 ET announcement on MLB Network of the American League and National League Manager of the Year winners. The subsequent announcements of the AL and NL Cy Young Awards (Wednesday) and Most Valuable Player Awards (Thursday) are all scheduled for the same time and channel.


The case for each NL Cy Young Award finalist

With the 2018 NL Cy Young Award winner set to be revealed in Wednesday's 6 p.m. ET announcement on MLB Network, here's a look at the case for each of the finalists.


Alonso among early '19 ROY candidates

Here's our early picks for possible 2019 Rookie of the Year candidates.


NL Cy winner to be announced Wednesday

BBWAA awards week is upon us, continuing with Tuesday's 6 ET announcement on MLB Network of the American League and National League Manager of the Year winners. The subsequent announcements of the AL and NL Cy Young Awards (Wednesday) and Most Valuable Player Awards (Thursday) are all scheduled for the same time and channel.


Weather

Weather Reports

The Single Guy Blog

My New Dream Girl

Well it has been a while since I posted. I guess after finding out my dream girl was having a baby by another guy I just wasn’t in the mood to post. But I’m back folks! So I have a new dream girl. It is a bit of a long story so sit back,pour a cup of coffee and relax. So I have been stalking the Facebook page of the bar I use to work at-ya know how a single guys does when he has no life. I saw some pictures of a beautiful girl that bartends there. Blond hair,beautiful smile…just perfect. Of course I figured I would never have a chance with her-specially since she is about 20 years younger. But a guy can dream right? So a couple days ago I was looking around seekingarrangements to see if anyone new had signed up and who do I see? Yep that girl! We will call her…Tanya…So I figured hey send her a message who knows what might happen. She sent me a message back and we sent a few more messages back and forth. I gave her my number and SURPRISE she sends me a text! So we have been talking for a couple days now. She even says she likes older guys and not the young military guys that come into the bar where she works. We are planning on meeting this week. So we will see what happens…I have my fingers crossed and won’t be surprised if she disappears before we actually meet….but I might just actually have found my future wife-or she may just “ghost” on me like so many flakey girls do. Stay tuned..maybe the Single Guy won’t be single much longer!


My Dream Girl’s Baby Daddy Revealed

Well after a month of stalking my dream girl’s facebook page I finally found out who her baby daddy is. To get you up to speed I was shocked a while back to find out my dream girl was pregnant. I had never even seen her post anything about a man in her life. Well after a long wait she finally tagged her baby daddy to a post about the baby. I of course had to click on his name and check him out. And of course he is a low ranking military guy. Now don’t get me wrong I respect our military. But in this area most of the military guys are not the most upstanding people. And this guy is no different. So prediction-in a year or two my dream girl will be a single mother,left by her baby daddy when he got transfered or cheated on her with some other flavor of the week. But hey that is the life of a single guy-watching the hot girls fall for the cool guys that don’t deserve them and will treat them like crap.


My Dream Girl Is Pregnant

I was stalking around Facebook the other night checking out different posts by people like I do when I am bored. I checked out the Facebook page of a girl I have always had a huge crush on. This girl is beautiful. My total dream girl. What did I see? A post saying she was pregnant. That’s right my dream girl is pregnant. Now don’t get me wrong I always knew and know I would never have a chance with this girl. But what surprised me is that she never talks about a man in her life. She never posts pictures of her and a guy. And in fact I always thought maybe she was a lesbian because she always posted pictures of her and her hot model girlfriends. So now I am wondering who is the father? Is she dating someone and just not posting it? Even in the comments on her posts about being pregnant everyone just congratulates her. They never mention a boyfriend. Did she get pregnant by having a drunken one night stand? Did she intentionally get pregnant even though she says it was a surprise finding out she was pregnant? I mean no offense but there is so much birth control around if a girl gets pregnant she is either really stupid or wanted to get pregnant. And I have never considered this girl to be stupid. And who is the guy and what is he like? Is he some military guy from Fort Drum? Is he a professional? Is he unemployed? And does he ever know or care he is going to have a baby with this goddess? So many unanswered questions! One thing for sure,I will be checking out her page a lot to see if I can get an idea of exactly who this lucky guy is. This guy that knocked up my dream girl!


2017-And Still Single

Well we are almost a month into 2017-and I am still single. I wonder if Miss Right will find me this year. She seemed like she was in hiding during 2016. I mean I realize a lot of things happened in 2016 and she was probable busy. My Miss Right was probable busy helping Trump get elected President. Miss Right most likely was working with Obama to fight this Isis problem. Miss Right was obviously tied up helping my Cowboys win the NFC East. Oh and I am totally sure my Miss Right was completely taken up with helping to stop this whole Global Warming situation. But come on enough is enough….come on Miss Right…put all this dam community service aside and find me already!


Scam Girls

I never thought I would fall for it-but I did. You see there is a large group of girls on the internet that try to scam guys. They try to get them to send them money with the promises they want to meet but need some help to get by. I always have thought I was smart about all this. When I start talking to a girl off one of the dating websites I always try to look her up to make sure she is real. Well I started texting a girl yesterday off the Seekingarrangement website I have been on for about a year. We were texting back and forth. I searched her number on facebook and found her profile. Everything seemed legit. She said she wanted a long term arrangement with an older guy. We talked until about 5pm. Then she said she was trying to get money for her baby sitter and gas in the car and if I would send her some money. She even said she was sorry she was asking and would pay me back when she got paid next week. So I sent her $50 through Paypal. She said thank you so much. I said your welcome. And that was it. I texted her a few times after that and no response. I sent her a friend request on facebook and she blocked me. I had fallen for it. A scam girl had gotten me! The funny part about the whole thing is she could have gotten way more from me if she had kept talking to me and kept me going. I mean seriously $50 is not much,hell I spent more then that on lunch yesterday. But it’s just the point I got had. But you live and learn. But one thing is for sure-if your on seekingarrangement.com and start talking to a girl with lots of tatoos from Elmira Ny that calls herself Hannah,don’t send her money! You can thank me later for saving you money!


Lindsay Marcella Blog

Health and Fitness Q+A

Health and Fitness Q+A

I’ve had a few questions about what I eat, what my workout routine is, and other things related to health, fitness and wellness, so I thought it was about time to do a Q&A roundup to answer some questions!

Topic: Ayurveda

“You said that you practice Ayurveda.

Continue reading Health and Fitness Q+A at Lindsay Marcella.


LEOPARD LOOKS I’M LOVING

LEOPARD LOOKS I’M LOVING

 

I’ve been seeing so many different leopard print pieces lately, and I wanted to share my top picks that I’ve seen! It’s hit or miss with me when it comes to leopard. Sometimes I think it can look a little bit cheap and tacky if not done right, but other pieces are put together so well, between choosing the right colors, fabric, and design.

Continue reading LEOPARD LOOKS I’M LOVING at Lindsay Marcella.


BEAUTY Q+A: PART 2

BEAUTY Q+A: PART 2

As promised, here is part two of answering your beauty questions! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below, send me an email, or send me a direct message on Instagram!

What natural shampoo do you recommend? To be honest, I have yet to try a natural shampoo that actually works for me without making my hair feel like straw, but I have friends who use different brands, and they’ve recommended Calia Natural and Rahua which I haven’t tried yet but they say are amazing.

Continue reading BEAUTY Q+A: PART 2 at Lindsay Marcella.


PANTS I’M LOVING THIS FALL

From red and navy plaid, to emerald green velvet, black leather and hot pink corduroy, the options of pants to choose from are endless this season. As much as I love a great pair of jeans, I’ve been leaning more towards styling outfits with pants this fall. Sometimes it’s nice to take a breather from high-waisted […]

The post PANTS I’M LOVING THIS FALL appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


Beauty Q&A: Part 1

  Last week I did an Instagram Story asking what your beauty questions were so that I could work on answering them through a Q&A on the blog, so this is Part 1 of answering your questions! Part 2 will be coming out next week on the blog, so stay tuned. Without further ado…  Beauty […]

The post Beauty Q&A: Part 1 appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


My Top 5 Favorite Free People Cardigans for Fall

It’s that time of year here where everyone, even here in California, are cozying up and looking for the best sweaters of the season. I’ve been loving wearing cardigans since they’re so easy to put on and take off depending […]

The post My Top 5 Favorite Free People Cardigans for Fall appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


Day Trip to Big Bear Lake, California

Outfit Details: Anthropologie Sweater, Anthropologie Scarf, Ralph Lauren Jeans, Nordstrom Booties (similar to ones I’m wearing) As much as I’ve been absolutely loving the sunshine and beautiful weather in California, I’m an east coast girl and always loved the seasons growing […]

The post Day Trip to Big Bear Lake, California appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


How To Dress for Fall in California

  Happy Thursday! I think I finally put together the perfect “Fall in California” look that’s been working for me trying to figure out how to dress here. It’s usually chilly in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and chilly […]

The post How To Dress for Fall in California appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


Mixing Feminine + Edgy Pieces

It’s hard to fathom that it’s October and I’m in a short sleeve dress here in California. My entire life all I’ve ever known is gearing up for winter by buying thick sweaters and layers to keep warm, so I’m definitely still figuring […]

The post Mixing Feminine + Edgy Pieces appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


The Perfect Pair of White High Waisted Jeans + 5 Things

  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here, so I thought I’d do a mini life update! I’ve had a lot of questions via Instagram on whether we miss New York and if we’re loving California. We’ve fully embraced […]

The post The Perfect Pair of White High Waisted Jeans + 5 Things appeared first on Lindsay Marcella.


Whats Really
News Blog

Ayden Activation Group-A Guerilla In Marketing

This month we give our thumbs up to a business you might never have heard of but probable have seen their promotions. This month we salute Ayden Activation Group.
Ayden Activation Group is based in St. Louis. Started 12 years ago,Ayden Activation Group is a leader in nontraditional marketing. With their staff and resources Ayden is able to create a marketing plan for most any company promotion.
Ayden hires both w-2 and 1099 staff. With over 60,000 staff members wordwide Ayden Activation Group is creating jobs in the United States economy and beyond.
Some past Ayden campaigns were for Applebees,Sprint,GE,MetroPCS and Mr. Clean.
Contact Ayden Activation Group for your next ad campagin or for your next job in the marketing field. Ayden Activation Group can be contacted through their website:

http://aydenactivationgroup.com


War Is Coming

People don’t want to admit it but war is coming between the U.S. and North Korea. North Korea is getting close to having a long range Nuclear missile that can hit the U.S. Americans don’t have the stomach for war but they need to get it and fast. If North Korea is allowed to get a missile that can strike our home land the party is over. The war is not going to be pretty. Lots of people in South Korea will die and so will American soldiers. But war is the only way to stop the mad man in the North. The left wing Liberals,liberal media and lots of gutless Americans think that we can talk to the leader of North Korea to get him to stop his Nuclear and missle programs. But that just won’t work. The more we talk the more he keeps building. He now has a million man army. Now to be honest-again something the Liberal media will not tell you-a lot of those million soldiers in the North are just teenagers. When the real fighting starts a lot of that million is going to run home to mommie. Right now the boys think they are cool in a uniform fighting for their country,but when the bullets and bombs fly the coolness will end and they will drop their arms and run. But there will still be soldiers that fight. The war will start shortly with an air campaign. Once our bombings of the North start then North Korea will start bombing South Korea. Then China will get in as well as Japan. If we are lucky the Russians might sit this one out. They have no real interest in that area of the world and they know they have their hands full in Syria. The war will be short but bloody. And President Trump will carry the blame,when he is actually doing what Presidents before him should have done. They should have stopped North Korea long ago before they were strong enough to give us a battle. But yes America war is coming-so get ready for it!


Why Obama Care Didn’t Work

President Trump is now in the process of repealing and replacing Obama Care. Everyone knows Obama Care didn’t work,even if they do not want to admit it. What a lot of people don’t know is why it didn’t work. It is very simple-Obama Care didn’t work because to many people were forced to buy insurance. The insurance industry is a business,and as a business they need to make a profit. Insurance companies rely on more people having insurance then actually use it. But when Obama Care mandated that everyone had to buy insurance people instantly wanted to use the insurance they purchased. Before,when people didn’t have insurance if they got a cold they stayed in bed,had chicken soup and recovered in a few days. Now with people being forced to buy insurance you can bet as soon as they even got the sniffles they went to the doctor. Before Obama Care people bought insurance for emergencies. The people who had insurance knew that some day they would need it for a major illness,but did not use it for the slightest ailment. The new health care plan that has been introduced does not have a mandate. If they keep that then this new health care law should do fine.


Hollywood Is Out Of Touch

After watching and listing to some of the actors and actresses in the past week talk about President Trump I now know that Hollywood is out of touch with main stream America. Hollywood just can not deal with the fact that their views do not reflect American values. What is worst is Hollywood can not deal with losing the election. Clinton did in deed win the popular vote. But what people don’t want to admit is Clinton won that popular vote by winning NYC and the LA/Hollywood areas. A lot of people live in these areas but their values are not the values of main stream America. Clinton did not win the working voters in Michigan or the farmers in the Midwest. She did not win the Southern voters in the bible belt. Clinton did not win the retired population in Florida. The protesters this past week are showing this generations true colors. A generation that has always gotten a trophy even if they finished last. A generation that has always gotten their own way-from Gay rights to Womens equal rights. A generation that has been able to work less because the government will give them a hand out to make ends meet. Well Hollywood and NYC better buckle their seat belts because the next four years and beyond are going to be a very bumpy ride. President Trump is in the White House and main stream America has taken back their country!


President Trump In 7 More Days

Well its been a long road but in just 7 more days we will have a new President. The last year and a half has been up and down. For a while I actually had my doubts if Trump could do it. But he did! And it is pretty obvious Clinton supporters thought for a long time that she would be the next President. Hotels in the Washinton DC area reported a huge number of cancellations because Clinton supporters had already made reservations planning to come to see their candidate take the Oath of Office. Now most hotels are booked back up again with Trump supporters. To get a room in the Washington DC area next week it will cost over $1,000 a night. Who knows what the next four years will be like. Maybe Trump will be a great President and maybe he won’t. I am certain of one thing however,the liberal media is going crazy trying to figure out what happened. They still will not admit that they were out of touch with main stream America. The liberal media thought what they believed was what America believed. Trump hit a nerve with Americans. When I say Americans I am not talking about people in NYC or LA. Those people do not reflect true Americans. True Americans think the government has gotten out of control,that there is to much interference in our lives and special interest groups like the Gaye and Lesbian groups have gotten way to much attention over the past 8 years. America took their country back and next week their leader will take control of a country wanting and needing a change. God Bless President Trump and God Bless the USA!