Do you get tired of reading news stories about budget cuts and inter-departmental squabbles? Take heart: Several recent news stories have been shining a light on the extraordinary service provided by men and women who work for law enforcement.
On May 14, the New York Police Department honored Jean Jaye, a civilian administrative aide, with a birthday cake. Not an unusual story—until you find out that it was Jaye’s 90th birthday, she’s been on the job since 1981, and she’s still working a 6 a.m. shift for the Fleet Services Division in Queens.
Jaye, who uses a walker to get around, takes an Access-A-Ride van back and forth to work from her home in the Bronx. She told the New York Daily News that her biggest challenge was learning how to use a computer—no small feat for an employee who used a typewriter for most of her long career.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent her a framed honorary letter:
“The dedication you have exhibited, day in and day out, over the past 32 years reflects proudly on this department,” Kelly wrote. Jaye’s response came from her heart: “I’m working with such wonderful, caring, beautiful people.”
A few days earlier, one of NYPD’s finest was honored not at a birthday party, but at the White House. The occasion was the National Association of Police Organizations 2013 TOP COPS recognition ceremony. Officer Ivan Marcano was astonished to hear President Barack Obama single him out for praise.
Marcano and his girlfriend, Hilda Miolan, were heading for a restaurant when he spotted an armed robbery in progress and stopped it. Cabbie Mario Abarca, 60, later said he was sure Marcano saved his life. As President Obama pointed out, “He wasn’t on the clock when any of this happened. That was his date night.”
In saving Abarca, Marcano could have lost his own life: One of the three suspects fired at him, narrowly missing his heart. While Marcano was recovering in the hospital, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stopped by to see how he was doing—and to tell him he’d been promoted to detective.
One recent good news story happened on a smaller scale. On May 13 NYPD officer Officer Dane Natto climbed 30 feet up a tree to rescue a frightened black-and-white cat—and found himself in the same predicament when he tried to return to the ground. Firefighters from Ladder Co. 160 spent about 20 minutes rescuing both the cop and cat from the tree.
The last story took place in Phoenix, not New York City, and nothing dramatic happened—just a ride home from work for a fast-food employee. But it is a remarkable story of public service from a police officer who thinks that helping others is an important part of her job.
Police sergeant Natalie Simonick was on night patrol on March 6 when she saw a teenager walking home in a desolate area of the city. He told her his name was Christian Felix, and he had to walk six miles home from his job because no buses ran at night. Simonick gave him a ride home, but that was only the beginning. She donated a mountain bike, safety lights, and a lock, and she asked three officer friends to teach him how to ride safely. Not as dramatic as stopping an armed robbery—but now a teenager is safer at night.
Stories like these happen every day, and they are good reason to celebrate the superb public service that’s the hallmark of law enforcement agencies all across our nation.
To learn more:
Jean Reynolds, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of English at Polk State College, where she taught report writing and communication skills in the criminal justice program. She is the author of seven books, including Police Talk (Pearson), co-written with the late Mary Mariani. Visit her website at www.YourPoliceWrite.com for free report writing resources. Go to www.Amazon.com for a free preview of her book The Criminal Justice Report Writing Guide for Officers. Dr. Reynolds is the police report writing expert for Law Enforcement Today.