What a special night I had! What a great move the NYPD made making Deputy Inspector Frank Giordano the commanding officer of the 71 Precinct in Crown Heights. Frank is an outstanding leader and everywhere he has worked morale has gotten better than it was before he got there. Policing in Crown Heights is very rewarding and as policing is everywhere, it does have its challenges. The great men and women of that command and the community are lucky to have him looking after them. What I particularly admire about Frank is the passion he brings to caring for our line of duty heroes' families. (See memorial for Russel Timoshenko. Bless him and all of our heroes)
My visit evoked such nice memories.
My father, Walter Fox, was a cop there from 1943 to 1966. I was so proud of him when I was a little boy. He used to take me to the precinct on his day off. I enjoyed seeing the cells and sitting in the police cars. He would visit a mechanic named Richie Dowd who was friends with all the cops. His place was right down the block from the precinct on a hill that came off Empire Boulevard which is now Clove Road. Further down the block on the northeast corner of Nostrand Avenue and Empire Boulevard was O'Hara's Bar. I would sit off to the side while my father would chat with his friends. I would have a bag of Planters Peanuts and one of those old small bottles of Coca-Cola. Right near the bar was a Carvel ice cream store, and on those days when I visited with my father I would get an ice cream sundae.
I was nine years old when my father decided to retire. I remember looking out of my house through the screen door window onto Avenue L and thinking to myself, "I cannot say my Dad is a cop anymore." Of course I would come to learn that once a cop, always a cop, and I was always proud of my father.
Then in 1995 I had the honor of becoming the commanding officer of the 71 Precinct, the same precinct my father worked in for 23 years. So in this post I guess we are looking at 75 years of policing in Crown Heights.
Have a wonderful day everyone and thank you for joining me in this memory. Thank you Frank and all of the great members of your command who I loved chatting with last night. It was a special night. Stay safe, and stay inspired! And remember, have fun - it goes fast.