Monday, August 5, 2013


Can Orange is the New Black, the new weekly comedy-drama television series, focused on the American criminal justice and prison system, do something that no one has ever been able to do before? 

For the sake of our economy, and our society as a whole, I sure hope so.

I read Piper Kerman’s book, Orange is the New Black, when it first came out and found it compelling, gut wrenching, and sad but true.

Given my experience in running Rikers Island and the NYPD, I have learned that you cannot fix a problem that you do not know exists. Given what I observed during my own incarceration, I am convinced that our legislators, courts, criminal justice administrators and the general public, have very little real insight, into something that has had, and continues to have such an negative impact on our children, economy and our country.

Hopefully, Orange is the New Black, will bring one of America’s most important issues, into the halls of Congress, and the living rooms of a general public, to give them a birds-eye-view of the collateral damage that prison and the criminal justice system can quite often have on families, children, the economy, and our society as a whole.

Bad people that do bad things belong in prison, and some, for a very long time. Some forever. But there are many first time, non-violent offenders sitting in prison, that could be punished by alternative sentencing, such as fines, probation, community service, and other methods, which would allow them to work, take care of their families, pay their fines and restitutions, and most importantly build a stronger bond with their children.

Justice would be served, and families could survive. The collateral cost of continuing down the road we’re on, will ultimately destroy generations of our youth to come, and our already dire economy.

Thank you Piper Kerman for your story, and to Netflix for having the foresight, and courage, to touch on a topic that NOT so many wish to discuss, or have the courage to do so.

Hopefully, in the course of your efforts, you can convince our legislators that inaction in criminal justice and prison reform is not as much soft on crime, as it is stupid on crime. 

Without it, our children and theirs, our economy, and our society as we know it, is doomed to failure.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Last night, a jury consisting of six women in the State of Florida, found George Zimmerman, not guilty of a crime, in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. 

The spectacle that has followed this tragedy from the time of the shooting, makes me wonder, if we as a country, haven't lost sight of what our founding fathers intended when they created the U.S. Constitution. 

The Martin family deserved answers concerning their son's death, and Zimmerman deserved an unbiased, fair, and impartial investigation into his actions. That's the way it all began, but it is not the way it ended. 

The Sanford Police conducted their investigation in conjunction with the local prosecutor's office, who concluded that the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, although tragic, was done in self-defense, and no criminal charges were brought. 

By all accounts, the initial investigation of the shooting was thorough, fair, and conclusive, but for some in the media, that just wasn't enough, so they alleged that the real motive for the shooting was race, and within days after their focus on George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin began, they turned one into a saint, and the other into a monster. Neither, was a fair, or even close representation.

Then came the appointment of a special prosecutor, who using the same evidence, charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder, a conviction of which could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. 

A truly objective onlooker would have to wonder, how could the two investigations have such different results. The truth of the matter is that it is not that difficult, when a prosecutor is motivated by politics and the media, and begins to infuse into the real evidence, their own personal conjecture and lopsided crime theories that can ultimately change the entire dynamic of the investigation.

The special prosecutor in this case claimed Zimmerman shot Martin because "he wanted to." They labeled Zimmerman a wannabe cop, claiming he followed Martin, after profiling him as a criminal. There was no evidence that that was the case, but they said it anyway, knowing it was a lie, and hoping that those words would win them a conviction.

That is not justice. 

Prosecutors are not supposed to break the laws to enforce them. They are not supposed to be driven by the press or media, or influenced by political parties or activists, but unfortunately some are. 

If a local, state or federal law enforcement officer got up on the witness stand, and lied to the court, or a jury, they would be charged with perjury, false statements or misconduct. Prosecutors should not be immune from those same standards and scrutiny, but unfortunately, for the Martin and Zimmerman families, they are.

In the end, the jury concluded what the initial investigation concluded - that the shooting of Martin, was not a crime.

The aftermath of the trial, is perhaps even more disturbing than the fact that Zimmerman was unjustly charged with a crime in the first place.

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tweeted, "Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn't last a year before the hood catches up to him." 

Did we want justice, or did we not? Justice doesn't mean, you get the results you want or else! Justice should never be influenced by politics, the media or activism.  

The political and civil rights activists will not be happy until they have destroyed Zimmerman and his family. Eventually, he'll lose his job, home and life savings, if he hasn't already, and he'll be bankrupted by legal fees and law suits. His life will never be the same, and this is just the beginning of the torture and torment he will suffer forever. This is not justice.

The initial investigation by prosecutors and the Sanford Police Department, and the findings of the jury was justice. Everything else, was a charade, and anything further would be a travesty.

Enough is enough.

Once and for all we should live and abide by the Constitution that was created to protect us. Ignoring it, is doing nothing but tearing us apart, and destroying this great country.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


There is no greater gift that God has given man, than the gift of children.

On this Father's Day, I think of my own father and the love and life he gave me, and I thank God for the children with which I have been blessed.

Happy Father Day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


On Friday, May 17, 2013, two FBI agents assigned to the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team died in a training accident off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Special Agent Christopher Lorek, 41, left behind a wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 8; and Special Agent Stephen Shaw, 40, left behind a wife, a 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son.

To assist in the future education and needs for the children of these two heroes, The Lorek-Shaw Children's Fund has been established, and contributions can be made to:

The Lorek-Shaw Children's Fund - Account 231605
Justice Federal Credit Union
5175 Parkstone Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151

Their fathers died training to save the lives of others. Please send your thanks for their service and sacrifice, in the form of a contribution for the future of the children they left behind.

May God Bless them all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"The Heartthrob and A Sad Mother's Day"

According to published reports, thousands of American teenage girls are "crushing” over the 19 year old Boston terrorist bomber, Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev, and leading a social media movement to exonerate him.

As a parent, I cannot think of anything more sad, disappointing and disgusting.
What parent in their right mind would allow their children to make such sickening and insensitive comments, considering this sick and deranged terrorist, killed three people, and injured more than 200, including 13 that lost limbs?

These girls with their empty souls, and morally bankrupt skulls, are exactly why parents, educators, and our legislators should be championing and mandating the re-birth of civics in our children's classrooms.

Where are their basic respect, discipline and common sense of right or wrong? Where are their parents? Where are their mothers, on this Mother's Day?
There is one mother who is grieving the loss of her eight year old son, and who may need help tending to his grave site  There is another mother mourning the loss of her son, a police officer, who is sadly suffering the first Mother’s Day without him in her life. There are other mothers sitting in hospital bedsides, with their sons and daughters that were massacred in this heinous act of terror. There are bedpans to be emptied, and patients that need a helping hand to compensate for the one they lost, as a result their "cute" heartthrob terrorist.

Maybe these mindless teenage girls should be studying the history, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the U.S. Constitution, and learning how their stupidity is what risks the very freedom this great nation was founded.

This movement, and the comments made by these girls, raise some serious questions about their parents, and their educators, but most importantly... what is happening to our country? Mothers give life to, protect, nurture, and teach to form the hearts and minds of all children and citizens who are then entrusted to build the future of our great country. 

Today, on Mother’s Day, there’s proof their work is most vital and clearly never done.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Forty years to the day, after Joanne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Party, shot and killed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, she has earned her due, as the first woman to be placed on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

Chesimard, who later changed her name to Assata Shakur, killed Foerster on May 2, 1973, during a traffic stop in New Brunswick on the New Jersey Turnpike. She was subsequently arrested, and convicted for his murder.

In 1979, she escaped from prison, hid out in Pennsylvania for a while, and a few years later, popped up in Cuba, where she has lived ever since.

Today, the FBI, and the State of New Jersey announced a reward of $2 million, for the capture of Chesimard.

For the New Jersey State Police, and those that remember the murder, and her escape, I suppose making that list today, is better late than never.

As for the $2 million reward, I know plenty of volunteers that would be more than glad to grab her, and bring her back where she belongs... reward or not!

Friday, April 19, 2013


During this morning's cable news coverage of the unfolding events in Boston, a newspaper reporter, made every attempt to downplay the danger and threats to our country by "self-radicalized" terrorists, like the two identified Chechnyan suspects, of the Boston bombings, saying they weren't as dangerous as the 9/11 terrorists.

Tell that to the families of the three dead, the 13 amputees or the 170 wounded at the marathon bombing, or to the family of the MIT Police Officer that was killed last night!
Had these two terrorists walked into a crowded theater, secured the doors, and detonated similar devices as the ones they used at the marathon finish line, the death and devastation could have been catastrophic.

They have done it before. Islamic Chechnyan extremists, just like the ones involved in the Boston Marathon bombing, walked into a Russian movie theater, secured the doors, and slaughtered as many people as they could on the inside. I wonder if the families of those killed in that movie theater believe that the events of 9/11 was any worse of an attack than that, that took the lives of their loved ones.
I don't care where these two suspects were born, or how, why, and when they were radicalized; other than to identify possible accomplices or organizations with which that may have been affiliated and could still pose a threat to America.

You can say they're "self-radicalized," or call them Al-Qaeda, Chechnyan extremists, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, or a lone wolf. You can give them any title you wish, but the bottom line is that radical Islamic extremism is on the rise globally, and it is an enemy of the United States and other countries around the world that live in freedom.
To those extremists, any non-Muslim is their enemy, and that gives them the right of Jihad, a Holy War against that enemy.

That ideology is a threat to every American in this country, and until we come to the realization that that threat is a clear and present danger, our God given rights to live in peace and freedom is at stake.
As we watch the events in Boston unfold, please take a moment to extend your thoughts and prayers to the families of those killed and injured, and to the courageous local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, who are putting their lives on the line, in an historic battle between good and evil.

God Bless all of them, and God Bless America.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Anyone that is surprised by Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon, have either been sleeping for the past 11 years, or they are still not living in a world of reality. The two successive explosions that left three dead, and  more than 180 wounded at the finish line of the marathon, is a reminder that the threats of terror against our citizens still exist, and that vigilance, and security planning and preparation, are a must.

Long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, New York City's police department, and other emergency service agencies, were probably the best in the world, at preparing for, and handling security operations for large scale events like the New York City Marathon, the New Year's Eve Celebration at Times Square, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day, and the Saint Patrick's Day Parades, and more.

In the aftermath of 9/11, came the realization, that New York City remains the premier target for terrorists, and that even New York City would have to do more, when it came to securing the city from the threats of terror.

Securing a marathon is not an easy task, but there are some basic precautionary measures that can be taken to secure this 26 mile soft target: Constant bombs sweeps of crowded, and high profile areas, trash receptacles and mail boxes must be removed, sewer and manhole covers must be secured, and people with back packs must be searched before being allowed into secure areas. Cops standing at the barriers have to watch the crowds and spectators for suspicious activity, not the runners, and technical and intelligent video coverage of high risk and highly populated areas are a must.

The two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were replicas of those quite often used in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan: a pressure cooker or metal container, laden with explosives, and loaded with small pieces of metal shrapnel, such as nuts, bolts, ball bearings and nails, the same kind of stuff that a suicidal bomber builds into their explosive belts and vests. The detonator for these types of devices iseither attached timers, remote controls like your garage door and car door openers, or a cell phone. Law enforcement authorities need to consider jamming frequencies of high threat areas, or at least have the capability to do so in the event of a possible threat, or in a case like this, to possibly prevent the detonation of a secondary or tertiary IED.

On the same day of the Boston bombings, there were 25 bombings in Iraq, that left 67 dead, and 274 injured. Israel has been living with the threat of these types of attacks for years, and unfortunately, this too, has become the world we live in as Americans. Anyone that thinks otherwise, or doubts that reality, is delusional.

Law enforcement and first responders all over the country must be prepared to respond and react to threats like these, and they need to be funded for the training, equipment and the resources to do so.

Our political leadership needs to focus on their constituents, not their offices or their elections. This isn't about the right or left, or Republican or Democrat, and it has nothing to do with the damned sequester!This is about the security of our communities and our nation, and insuring that federal, state and local law enforcement, have what they need to do their jobs.

The American public needs to be educated. If you were walking down a street, or through a mall in Tel-Aviv, the site of an abandoned package, would set off immediate alarms, and a response by the authorities. People here are often oblivious to their surroundings. The days of minding your own business are over. If you see something or someone that appears suspicious, you need to notify the police, and let them do their job. The security of our communities and of our country depends on it.

It is way too early to tell who is responsible for this cowardly attack, and our thirst for answers only creates guessing and speculation which serves no real purpose. However, there are a few things of which I am positive.

First, the Boston Police, and first responders showed determination, courage and valor, in their response to, and handling of this tragic event. Even after the second IED was detonated, knowing there could be more devices, theystill ran toward the explosions to assist and evacuate the dead and injured.

Boston will recover stronger than ever, and every American will unite behind them, as only Americans do. And lastly, I couldn't agree more with President Barack Obama when he said that we will find those responsible for this attack, and bring them to justice.

There is no where they can run, or hide. We will hunt them down, and demonstrate to the world, that they will never get away with attacking our citizens, or this great nation.

And this is a reality that they can count on.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013


This afternoon, the New York City Police Department's Chief of Department, Joseph Esposito, walked out of One Police Plaza, for the last time as chief, as he retired after 44 years with the department.

Two days after I was appointed police commissioner in August 2000, I called then Assistant Chief Esposito to my office to discuss his future with the NYPD. As a two star assistant chief, he was a borough commander in Brooklyn, and one of the most decorated and respected chiefs in the agency.
I told him that I was looking for someone to replace Joseph Dunne, the department's former chief, who had been promoted to my first deputy. I told him that I wanted a chief of department that the men and women in the department respected, that would lead by example, and who could help me continue to reduce crime, enhance community relations, and that could bolster the morale of the men and women in the field.

For the first few minutes of our conversation, he thought I was asking for his recommendation. I was not.

"Do you want it?" I asked.

Two days later, on the morning of August 25, 2000, he was sworn in as the New York City Police Department's  Chief of Department - the highest ranking uniform member of the agency.
I told him that morning, that he would be the best chief, the department had ever seen, and he has easily lived up to my expectations.

Joe Esposito will go down in New York City's history, as not only the longest reigning chief, and most decorated; but without a doubt, the best there has ever been.
My wife Hala and I, wish him and his family all the best.

May God Bless them always.


Saturday, March 16, 2013



In the spring of 1975, I was introduced to my new partner.
I was a U.S. Army military police officer, and he was a four year old German Shepherd, with which I would ultimately patrol and secure, one of our government s nuclear missile batteries, in Sak Sa Ni, South Korea.

With his army serial number, Y102, tattooed on the inside of his right ear, he stood on the inside of his kennel, staring and growling at me, as if I were the enemy. My sergeant said, "have a seat right there in front of him, feed him some meat and cheese every so often, and eventually he'll allow you in the kennel, so you can take him out for a walk."
Well, it wasn't as easy as it sounded. King was a sentry dog, one of the most aggressive types of working dogs in the U.S. armed forces. Their training consisted of basic obedience, agitation, and extremely aggressive attack work. They were not trained for socializing as police patrol dogs or house pets. They were trained to alert on intruders, attack them, and rip them to shreds, and King was quite good at his job.

Given that sentry dogs, were "one handler" dogs, his prior handler had left Korea to return to the United States, and I was to be his new partner and handler. That was if, he allowed me.
Over the next few days, he ate tons of treats, and I got closer to my new pal. And, once I got up the nerve to take him out of the kennel, we became one; A partnership, closer than most people would understand.

He was a stunning black and tan German Shepherd, and he looked just like Rin Tin Tin, another German Shepherd with U.S. Army roots. Rin Tin Tin, or Rinty as he was called, was found as a small pup in Lorrain, France, by U.S. Air Corporal, Lee Duncan, back in 1918, during World War I. He was eventually brought back to the U.S.. where he died at in 1932, but not before leaving a bloodline that wound up in a weekly TV adventure between 1954 and 1959, that every kid at the time, including me, loved and admired. It was he I thought of, when I first met, and began working with King.
King would respond to my voice, my hand commands, or to a look, or a movement. I didn't have to say a word, but he knew what I was thinking and why. With me, he was playful and loving, but with anyone else, he was deadly. He had no fear and he had no hesitation. If he perceived a threat, he dealt with it the way he knew how, and you didn't want to be on the receiving end.
In 1976, I left Korea, and I left King to a new handler. In the past 35 years, I have thought of him often.

Since then I have had many dogs, most recently, Duke and Duchess. Both German Shepherds, both trained like King, and playful, loving and caring members of my family. Both enormously protective.
For someone that has never had a dog, or a pet of any kind, it is difficult to understand, how close you can become to an animal. In June 2011, Duke passed away, and there are no words to explain how horrible that loss was, for me and my family. He is sadly missed, which is why I felt compelled to write about the recent loss of another German Shepherd.
His name was Ape, and he was 2 years and 4 months old, and had been on active duty for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for just over two weeks.
Two days ago, he was shot and killed by a deranged gunman, who had already shot and killed four people in Herkimer, New York.

Ape was a tactical dog, much like the one that accompanied the U.S. Navy SEALS on the raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. Equipped with a camera, he entered an abandoned bar in the small upstate New York town, with and FBI assault team behind him, in search for the murder suspect. As he breached the door, he was shot in the chest by the gunman, who was then shot and killed by the FBI.

Ape was transported to a local veterinarian, where he died from his wounds. He was later transported to FBI Headquarters, where he will be buried, and his name will be added to a memorial for dogs killed in the line of duty.

As someone who trained dogs for more than 30 years, I know that Ape died doing something he loved doing. It was what he was trained to do, and although it cost him his life, he saved the lives of his handler and teammates, which could have been killed or seriously hurt.

Dating back to the days of Rin Tin Tin, and King, military and police dogs have increasingly become an important tool, in military operations, and law enforcement. Ape's loss is a demonstration, of just how important their missions are, or deadly they could be.
As an American citizen, I am grateful for his service, and his ultimate sacrifice... for his loss allowed others to live.

As a dog handler and trainer, my thoughts and prayers are with his team members, and most importantly his handler and trainer. It is he or she that will feel this loss the most.
To his handler, Ape wasn't just a dog, or a pet, or a tool. He was a partner, a protector, and patriot, and most importantly, he was a best friend.

A friend that will be missed forever.

God Bless his teammates that put their lives on the line for this country, and may Ape, forever rest in peace.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taxpayers, Economy and Society Benefit from Prison Reform

According to the U.S. Attorney General's Office in a recent article in "Business Insider," the sequestration could result in a major budget cut to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to the tune of approximately $338 million.

Representatives from the Department of Justice said that they are "acutely concerned" about inmate and staff safety, a sentiment echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder, who said that these cuts could endanger the lives of staff and inmates in the federal prison system.

The recent murder of federal correction officer Eric Williams at the U.S. Penitentiary at Canaan, a high security prison for men, is a vivid reminder of the dangers our nation's correctional staff face daily, but could be worsened by the budget cuts as a result of the sequestration.
In addition to cuts that could jeopardize staff and inmate safety, freezing future hiring  and forcing 36,700 BOP staff to take an average of 12 days unpaid furlough during the remainder of the fiscal year will devastate staff morale to say the least, not to mention the financial burden such actions will have on BOP staff members and their families.

For the past two decades, criminal justice experts around the country, including several former Republican and Democratic attorney's general, state and federal judges and prosecutors, and members of the U.S. Congress have been racking their brains in an attempt to address criminal justice and prison reform.

One thing that has consistently been on the table has been considerations for alternative sentencing for first-time and non-violent offenders, in an attempt to reduce the present federal prison population that has gone from 25,000 in 1980 to more than an estimated 229,300 by this year's end. Another possibility has been to enhance good-time incentives, reward inmates for good behavior, and get them back into society faster, where they can work, pay taxes, take care of their families, and pay their fines and restitutions.

There has never been a better time to muster the courage to address this issue than right now.
The BOP presently allocates 54 days incentivized good-time per year, per inmate, far less than many state prison systems around the country. Enhancing the good time allocation from 54 days a year to 120 or 128 days a year could create nearly $1 billion annual savings to the BOP's staggering $6.6 billion budget. The additional good-time incentives would immediately and substantially reduce inmate overcrowding.  In addition, this would be an added incentive for inmates to comply with institutional rules and regulations, thereby reducing violence, creating safer facilities for staff and inmates alike.

Another possible remedy could be the passing of HR-62, the Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2013, that is presently sitting in the House. The bill was introduced on 3 January 2013, and referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations for review on 25 January 2013.

This bill would require the BOP to change its good time policy to require that prisoners be released if they (1) have served one half or more of their sentence, (2) are age 45 or older, (3) have never been convicted of a crime of violence, and (4) have not engaged in any violation of BOP disciplinary rules involving violent conduct.

The passing of this bill could generate another enormous cost savings to the American tax payer, reduce overcrowding, and also create an incentive for better behavior by the inmate population, which reduces violence, making the facilities safer for inmates and staff.

Lastly, BOP wardens have the statutory authority to recommend up to 12 months halfway house/home detention, in addition to an inmate's present allocation of 54 days a year good time. Historically, maximum halfway house/home detention recommendations have been rare; however, this alone could result in substantial cost savings to the American taxpayer.

These are just a few things that could dramatically and immediately reduce the federal prison population without letting violent offenders back on the streets. Such changes would also create enormous cost savings for the American taxpayer, reduce inmate violence in BOP's higher classification facilities, and generate collateral economic income, by getting these offenders back into society so they can work, pay taxes, take care of their family, and pay their restitutions and fines.
There is no question that criminal justice and prison reform will happen some time in the future, but it must begin today.

We cannot jeopardize the safety and security of the men and women who put their lives on the line day in and day out while staffing and securing our nation's prisons. There are ways to effectively and efficiently cut the BOP's budget without doing so.
The benefit to the American taxpayer and the economy can be enormous. The benefit to society could be immeasurable.

There is no better time to begin addressing this issue than today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


There are plenty of things that I could say about the former Mayor of New York City, but I thought this was more fitting. It's a letter to my daughter, reflecting on a good and gracious man. May he rest in peace, and may God bless the family and loved ones he left behind.
3 February 2013

Dear Celine:

Two days ago, New York City lost one of its greatest assets, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. He passed away at the age of 88.

He was the Mayor of the City of New York for twelve years, long before you were born...but once on a warm September morning, you and he shared a stage.

It was September 6, 2000, and I was being sworn in as New York City's 40th Police Commissioner. The stage was full of dignitaries, police brass, and religious leaders. At six months old, you were sitting on Mommy's lap, front and center. Grandma and Grandpap sat in the second row and, right next to them, was the former Mayor Ed Koch.

With all the pomp and circumstance, Mayor Koch watched the excitement around him. He smiled and greeted everyone who said hello.

Mommy, who was sitting right in front of Mayor Koch, was holding her hands over your face, trying to protect you from the sun's rays, when the mayor leaned over and handed her his handkerchief.

"Put this over her head," he said, smiling at you. "The sun's no good for her."

Mommy thanked him, took the handkerchief, and placed it over your head, and for the remainder of the ceremony, you slept away.

When it was over, she thanked the kind Mayor, and tried to give the handkerchief back.

"Keep it," he said, "in case you need it."

And there's more to this story.

Twenty-three years earlier, I was working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with dreams of joining the New York City Police Department.

I wasn't sure how to apply for the job, so a friend recommended I call the New York City Department of Personnel and ask to be sent an application to take the NYPD test. I did, but the person I spoke with wasn't very helpful. I called back again and again, all to no avail.

Then my friend said, "Write a letter to the mayor - Mayor Ed Koch - and tell him that you want to join the NYPD and would like an application to apply."

At first I laughed. I knew that the Mayor of New York City had better things to do than respond to employment inquiries, but having nowhere else to turn, I typed out a letter and dropped it in the post.

Three weeks later, I received a short note from Mayor Ed Koch himself, in which he said that he forwarded my request to the appropriate departments, and should I not hear from them in the near future, please write back and let him know.

Within days of receiving his letter, I had more NYPD applications than I knew what to do with!

And the rest is history.

In July of 1986, I stood in the Brooklyn Technical Institute with 2,200 men and women, and was sworn in as a New York City Police Officer by the same mayor who made sure I received the application.

Fourteen years later, we all shared that stage.

Today, a New York City icon, and a great part of the city itself, is gone.

In reflecting on Mayor Koch's life, Chris Ruddy of NewsMax Media said, "He was a model of how a public servant and a good citizen can make a significant difference in the lives of others." In my case, that could never be more true.

When I think of the lessons we learn throughout our lives from others, there are a few very good ones that we could all learn from Mayor Koch.

Patriotism... his was viral!

He loved his city, his country, and his family, more than life itself.

In a recent interview for Vanity Fair, he was asked what was the one thing he most deplored about himself, and he said, "A willingness to go with my gut feeling rather than wait a day and contemplate other options."

When asked if he could change one thing about himself, what would it be, he said, "I would like to be more accepting of the faults of others."

And, one of my favorites, when asked what is the trait he deplored most about others, he replied, "Disloyalty."

Then came a question that took me back to that September morning.

What do you dislike most about your appearance, he was asked. "Sun damage on my face and head," he said. It was the same thing that bothered him about you sitting on that grand stage in the blaring sun.

When Mayor Koch was asked if he were to die and come back as a person or thing, what did he think he would want to be, he responded by saying, "A major political leader here in the United States."

I laughed to myself at that thought. If he were here today, I'd tell him something that he must have known.

Mr. Mayor, you were a major political leader in this country, right up until the day you died. You were relevant, candid, outspoken, and patriotic.

Celine, when Ed Koch was the mayor, no matter where he was or what he was doing, he would ask, "How'm I doing?"

If he were here today, we could tell him together that he did just fine.

I would thank him for his service to New York City and our country. You, my dear, could thank him for his handkerchief. It's a part of a great man that you can cherish forever.

Today, say a prayer for this great American.

Love, Daddy xo