Who says cops don’t have a sense of humor?

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

A pig dressed like a cop. Now there’s something you don’t see every day. Even in New York City.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a recent sighting of one generated a lot of attention. It even made the news.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

As News 4 reported,  the little pig spotted by the Apple Store in Soho “belonged to a young woman,” and its outfit “seemed fit for purpose, with utility pockets and identifying badge.”

Apparently some bystanders — including some of New York’s Finest, — enjoyed meeting the little guy.

Witnesses told the media that  the NYPD officers “were amused by the curly-tailed member of the force.”

“They were all laughing,” one witness said.

“There were lots of people entertained by this little piggy.”

The letter of the law

It’s a good thing the officers had a sense of humor. After all,  having a pet pig is against the law in New York City. It’s also illegal to keep sheep, goats and “most farm animals” as pets in Gotham. City regulations also prohibit the ownership of:

  • Venomous spiders including but not limited to tarantulas and black widows
  • Various monkeys and apes
  • Large/predatory birds
  • Various large and venomous snakes including vipers
  • Various types of lizards
  • Various reptiles and amphibians
  • Wild/predatory dogs and cats
  • Squirrels, racoon and bats
  • Venomous insects

In other words, you can’t keep a wild, exotic, or potentially dangerous animal as a pet in New York City. And with good reason.

Some people just don’t get it…

But some New Yorkers just don’t get it. Or if they do, they don’t care.

According to published reports, the city’s Health Department issued nearly 300 tickets to offenders in one five-year period.

Administrative judges preside in cases when New Yorkers accused of keeping banned pets choose to fight the tickets. And many do. But losing can be costly, with fines ranging from a few hundred bucks to a few grand.

Of course, we all have choices. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

NYPD rookies face the most thankless job in America

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

One thought crossed my mind as I read a New York Daily News story about the latest crop of rookies to join the New York Police Department. Why the hell would anyone in his or her right mind want to do that?

Don’t get me wrong. The New York Police Department is the single greatest urban law enforcement agency anywhere on the face of the planet. Most of New York’s Finest are honest, decent, hard-working men and women who risk their lives to keep Gotham safe.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But that’s not to say the NYPD is a perfect agency. Far from it. There are thousands of cops on the job. So of course there are some bad apples in the bunch. Sadly, the NYPD — like all large urban police departments in the United States and elsewhere — has its share of bullies, racists and thugs. At the moment, it seems that the NYPD also has its share — or perhaps more than its share — of corruption.

To make matters worse, Police Commissioner William J. “Bill” Bratton is so busy kissing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s butt, he doesn’t seem to care. For Bratton to tell more than 1,200 new cops who just graduated from the academy not to ensconce themselves in a “blue cocoon that isolates you from the community” is laughable.

What are they supposed to do, Bill? It’s not as if they’ll get any meaningful support from you or the mayor. All they’ll get from either one of you is a whole bunch of lip service.

Speaking of which, for de Blasio to be  at Madison Square Garden for the graduation, much less say anything to the rookies is beyond laughable. It is disgusting. After all, this is a man who has never hidden his contempt for law enforcement. In 2014, he didn’t exactly encourage New Yorkers to attack cops during anti-police protests — but he didn’t exactly discourage it, either.

Yes, it’s all well and good for de Blasio to tell the rookies about the supportive community that will embrace them. I am sure there are a few law-abiding New Yorkers who do respect and support the NYPD. But in reality,  anti-police rhetoric promoted by de Blasio, President Obama and some so-called “civil rights” groups has stoked hostility across the country.

All of this leads me back to my original question. Why would anyone in their right mind want to join the NYPD?

They’re not doing it for the money, that much is for sure. A rookie cop with the NYPD makes almost $46,000, which does not include overtime. After five-and-a-half years on the force, he or she makes almost $92,000 (not including overtime).

Now that may sound like a lot — and it is a decent amount of money for one person. It’s a great salary for one person who doesn’t have to live in or around New York City, where the cost of living is astronomical.

Having said that, de Blasio is right about one thing. He told the rookies they didn’t make “the easy choice,” but that they made the “noble choice.”

I just hope they don’t regret it.

Teaching cops the art of observation

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Cops and reporters are often at odds. But — as someone once told me — we’re also a lot alike. For one thing — as someone also told me — we’re all students of human behavior.

For cops, the ability to read people is literally a matter of life and death. Besides being key to survival on the street, it is also an essential factor in making arrests and the successful prosecution of the offenders.

As a result, good cops can read body language as easily as most people can read a newspaper. The best can spot a “tell” or visual cue about someone’s true intentions, from a proverbial mile away.

But even the best make mistakes. And even honest mistakes can have disastrous consequences.

Clearing Things Up

Let’s face it. Cops are nothing if not cynical. But given the nature of their work, who could really blame them for seeing the world through jaded eyes? Unless, of course, that cynicism morphs into something worse. Once that happens, there’s no going back.

So law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are now turning to an expert in another field in order to help their officers see things differently. Her name is Amy E. Herman, and The New York Times just did a feature story about her.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The piece, which you can read in print or at nytimes.com, focuses on Herman’s role as an “expert in visual perception” and her work with the New York Police Department. Specifically, the story’s about what happened when Herman took a few of New York’s Finest to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As Herman reportedly told them: “I’ve had people say, ‘I hate art,’ and I say, ‘That’s not relevant. This is not a class about Pollock vs. Picasso. I’m not teaching you about art today; I’m using art as a new set of data, to help you clear the slate and use the skills you use on the job. My goal when you walk out the door is that you’re thinking differently about the job.”

In other words, the “field trip” served as a perfect opportunity for the cops to hone their powers of observation.

As I See It

As far as I’m concerned, this is a fantastic program — and the NYPD’s decision to take advantage of it couldn’t make me happier.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

You see, I studied art history in high school and college. I loved every single minute of it. Yes, you learn about art and architecture. But that’s not all. You learn how to look at the big picture — and all of the minute details. You learn how to evaluate both, and put everything in its proper context.

To put it another way, you learn critical thinking skills. You learn how to describe what you’ve seen in writing. You’ll find that two people can look at the exact same painting, sculpture or artifact and see something entirely different. But you’ll also learn the importance of seeing something for what it is not what you think it is.