NYPD Standard Operational Procedure when anyone is transferred: The next day they must report in civilian attire to Health Services Division to take a Drug Screening Test. I was fuming about this involuntary transfer to Internal Affairs in the elevator when it reached the eight floor. Not familiar with Health Services Division, preoccupied by still really being pissed off, I followed a small group into a meeting room with about twenty seats. As I sat down I suddenly noticed these guys didn’t really look like cops. When one of these weird individuals said to me “I ain’t crazy, no matter what they say, I wanna be a cop and I wanna a gun.” I was momentarily confused.
Before I could respond, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Sergeant Wilfredo Santiago aka “Paco.” We were both 13th precinct cops back in the day. “Hey Frankie, I was expecting you, what are you doing in here?” He said..”these guys are police officer candidate rejects here for psych evaluation reviews, follow me.”
Paco had seen my name in the Supervisor Transfer orders. His new job was watching the daily run of cops who had to take the Drug Screening Test. He had to make sure you really pissed in the cup. Kind of like when a restaurant forbids bringing in anything from the outside. It had to be your urine, straight from your body, at that moment. What a job! Then again as Paco said: “It beats steady midnights in the four one precinct.”
Anyway, after my deposit, I headed down to 315 Hudson Street in Manhattan, the HQ of the new and improved Internal Affairs Bureau, known by the cops as Cheese Central.
I arrived in trendy downtown Manhattan where you had to swipe your ID card to electronically enter IAB Hudson Street. So corporate, so professional but still, so unsettling. The Rat Squad...Me, in the Rat Squad? What will my friends say, or not say in front of me, but behind my back? When you get shanghaied here why do you think they call it “going over to the dark side”? This assignment was going to be the Filet Mignon of Dick Meat.
I was still steaming while trying to find my way to the Administrative Lieutenant’s office. Suddenly, a tall, older and perfectly coiffed grey haired man in a expensively crisp and starched white shirt with French cufflinks along with a natty conservative tie holding a cup of coffee stopped me, smiled and said: “you look like you’re having a bad day.”
My response: “The best part of my day so far has been pissing in a cup at Health Services.” He then laughed and said, “I’ll be seeing you” as he slowly walked away. I immediately turned around and a short, stout bald man was standing right behind me in shirt selves and an out of style tie. He said, “I’m Lieutenant Plaque, you must be Sergeant Rembly, I see you’ve already met the Chief.”
Great, what a way to start my mandatory two years in The Rat Squad, it was!
Nobody likes The Rat Squad.
So, here I am in my new Rat Squad office in Greenwich Village. I could tell by the calendars on the wall who are the other shanghaied sergeants. Some had a list marked off with the number of days until their two years were up. Miserable and demoralized, but still doing the job, they were.
I quickly got the word on who were the “True Believers” in the office. True Believers are the career Rat Squad members. For some reason, they hate cops and think all cops are corrupt. Like that butch Lieutenant Mary McVickers. Typical old Irish broad cop who should have been a catholic nun, except she chose to hide her homosexuality (not very successfully)in the ranks of the NYPD. I could tell she was going to be on the rag for me and I was so right.
But she was fucking with the wrong guy, she was.
Early on, I passed by her desk she yelled at me “Hey you” and threw a set car keys at me. “My car is parked out front, a black Dodge, fill it up with gas, check the oil and and it washed, NOW, I’m leaving in a half hour.” she said with a smirk on her low life Irish, pasty white double chinned face.
This Lieutenant intentionally chose to humiliate me, a drafted sergeant, in the presence of lesser ranked True Believer detectives. Now, any other sergeant would tell her to fuck off, and get written up or whatever. Not me. I just took the keys and walked out into the hot summer heat to do my duty. And I did it, yes I did.
But I added something special to the trunk of her car, in the spare tire well, under the spare tire. I purchased a frozen box of Cauliflower and placed it in the aforementioned area. I imagine that car would smell pretty bad after a hot evening being parked and locked. Yes it would.
And yes it did. She came in the next day complaining of her smelly car. One of the ass licking True Believers said it was probably the catalytic converter. Well, anyway, she had to drive it with the windows open in the summer humidity and scorching heat. Of course, Motor Transport Division couldn’t fix it. All summer long she would bring it in for repair, with negative results.
I know why: Nobody Likes the Rat Squad.
So we catch cases, there are bad cops and we collar them. It is distasteful and quite depressing. Cops dealing drugs, trading in child porn, burglary, stealing cars and other bullshit things. It has to be done, but we clear more cops of false charges than we lock up. I see my job here is to also keep the overzealous “True Believers” in check. They are quite vengeful and really do hate cops. They jump to conclusions, all the time, yes they do.
I am trying my best to make this experience a learning one as I await my escape to either Narcotics or Detective Squad. But until then, I’ll do my best to help clear innocent cops, and lock up the scum bags that disgrace the rest of us.
It is amazing, get the wrong Rat Squad Investigator assigned to your case and you could be fucked for life. Thankfully for this one Brooklyn Highway Patrol cop, the luck of the draw put his destiny in my hands.
I saw this case and it was featured by a cop hater reporter on Channel Four News. A young man who worked for the telephone company said he was beaten by this cop one morning on the Belt Parkway. It didn’t look good, he had a shyster lawyer who was a retired cop who called me about the case thinking I was a True Believer. This lawyer gave me the low down on all the facts, but there was an unknown missing female witness he was unable to locate.
It all didn’t sound right. Some other investigator would have wrapped it up with all the info and “witnesses” on hand (the complainants friend and his girlfriend), a quickie investigation and the cop would have been fucked. I decided to do a thorough investigation and find the missing witness.
The complainants car was towed off the parkway, I tracked down the tow truck operator, he said he drove the unidentified female fourth passenger home to the Cropsey Avenue Projects. Her name was Maria and lived in Building Six. I found Maria (who was fifteen years old) and interviewed her on audio tape in front of her mother, with permission to do so. Yes I did.
Her story was quite different than the one proffered by the complainant and his witnesses. She had met the three in an after hours club somewhere in Brooklyn and was offered a ride home.
It seems they had a flat tire sitting on a dangerous curve and the Highway Cop told them he would push them off to a safe area. There was not side road on this elevated section of the Belt Parkway. The complainant refused because it would have ruined his chrome deluxe wheel, so for some reason, he and his witnesses jumped the cop and started to beat him. They were all arrested, except for the fifteen year old girl who remained in the back seat.
This cop was about to be made a sergeant within the next thirty days, but was going to be passed over and severely disciplined for this incident, especially because it was reported in the media. But not now, he wasn’t.
We cleared up the whole case, it all went away. The Highway cop had no idea what we did for him, he was promoted to sergeant and not disciplined. Yes he was.
I called the shyster lawyer and told him he should be ashamed of himself. That rat bastard, yes he was.
The Captain called me in to his office about this case, closed his door and said:
This Highway Cop case is why we need guys like you in the Rat Squad. I looked at him and said.......
But still, Nobody Likes The Rat Squad.
Frankie Rembly has observed the transition of his city from its past wild days to the present sterile bubble that is now New York City. He enjoys the renaissance of creativity in writing for television. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is on Facebook.