01 Dec A PROMOTION THAT MAKES OUR COMMUNITY PROUD: Q & A WITH DEPUTY INSPECTOR RICHIE TAYLOR
Name: Richie (Yechiel) Taylor
Title: Deputy Inspector
Precinct: Community Affairs Bureau at One Police Plaza.
Prior Precincts worked in: 1st Precinct (lower Manhattan and City Hall), 61st Precinct (Midwood & Manhattan Beach), 63rd Precinct (Marine Park & East 30’s), 67th Precinct/Patrol Borough Brooklyn South (East Flatbush), 88th Precinct (Fort Greene), Police Service Area 1 (Brooklyn South), Police Service Area 5 (East Harlem), Office of the Chief of Community Affairs, Commanding Officer of Manhattan South Investigations, Commanding Officer of the Community Affairs Outreach Division
Years as a cop: 15
Family: Wife, Miri & 4 Daughters, Avigail, Shira, Nechama and Atara
Yeshivas Growing up: Yeshiva of Manhattan Beach. Mikdash Melech. Touro College
Currently Lives in: Marine Park
Davens at: Rabbi Eichenstein’s Shul KTA
MAZEL TOV ON YOUR NEW PROMOTION!
You are the highest ranking officer who wears a yarmulke in uniform. With your promotion to Deputy Inspector, you are the FIRST D.I. to ever wear a yarmulke in uniform as part of your everyday dress. Being frum, what made you want to be a Police Officer?
Ever since I can remember, I had a pull towards public service. When I was 15 years old I became a police explorer in the 61st Precinct (which covers the area of Midwood from Avenue P all the way south to Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach). I’ve always said that being a police officer isn’t a job; it’s a calling. I recently went through my 8th grade year book and I found that there were a few references about me being a Hatzolah member, and I joined Hatzolah when I was 18 years old. I actually responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and got there before the Towers collapsed. To me it’s about being the one responsible to provide care and compassion to someone during the most crucial time.
What’s your favorite part about the job?
There’s always an opportunity to help someone. Whether it’s a call from one of the many volunteer organizations we work with such as Hatzolah, Shomrim, Misaskim etc. or a member of the community, the opportunity to help in a situation or give some light during a time of darkness is the most rewarding feeling you can have.
What are your feelings with how things have been with the NYPD recently and the leadership of the NYPD.
I think that we are facing many challenges and it’s a tough time now for police officers and for all New Yorkers. I give tremendous credit to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea for his outstanding leadership during these unprecedented times. Very few people would be able to handle all the challenges he’s faced and be as successful as he’s been. He understands the concerns of the community and makes resolving them a personal priority. He is a hands-on Commissioner who understands everything there is to know about policing because he came up the ranks from the very bottom to the very top. He’s been in Flatbush and so many other communities many times. Just recently before Rosh Hashanah, he personally turned out the 4pm to midnight shift at the 70th Precinct. Chief of Department Terence Monahan has shown incredible dedication to the community and has come into Flatbush many times to meet with community leaders and ensure neighborhood safety. He leads by example and motivates every cop to be the best they can. Chief Jeffrey Maddrey is the most innovative and dedicated Chief of Community Affairs the Department ever had. He has a strong relationship with every community and ensures that police services are provided at the highest level possible. Even during COVID, he safely held multiple town hall meetings in every borough to discuss gun and gang violence and what can be done to combat it. His finger is on the pulse of this city and he’s proactive in every way.
What’s the most challenging part about the job?
Anytime tragedy strikes. Seeing an individual or a family going through a horrific time.
Is it hard being frum and being a cop?
Not at all. I’m actually on my way to the 7th Precinct (located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan) now because Rabbi Ginzberg, the principal of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim called me. He wanted to thank the offices who were at the levaya for Rov Dovid Feinstein ZTKB. A few weeks ago, Rabbi Ginzberg contacted me hours before Shabbos which was the very beginning of the planning stage of the levaya. Rabbi Ginzberg expressed to me that he’s grateful to have someone in the NYPD who understands the situation and I’m grateful to be in this position to ensure everything goes as well as possible. There were 5,000 people at the levaya, which is tremendous considering COVID concerns and the Zoom option which was strongly advertised. I used to ask shailos to Rov Dovid so for me it was extremely emotional to be in a position where I can help ensure the proper kavod for the Gadol Hador who I knew and visited. A lot of the work we do goes hand in hand with being frum. Sometimes it’s working with Flatbush Shomrim Coordinators Bob Moskovitz and Tzvi Weill to plan a Hachnasas Sefer Torah procession and sometimes it’s to discuss community concerns.
Are there a lot of frum cops in Brooklyn/New York?
There are definitely a lot more now than there were when I started 15 years ago. I think that as the years have gone by, more and more frum people see that being frum isn’t an obstacle to being a police officer. I get questions from people who are interested in joining or know someone who is and my answer is that if you have that calling, and you feel you can handle it, go for it!
Give us a run down. What do you do on a typical day on the job? Everyday is different. I can be part of the team preparing for a presidential visit or I can be going to a school to talk about stranger danger. Recently, Moshe Wulliger of Flatbush Hatzolah called me because someone was keying-in a radio with Hatzolah’s frequency and the members weren’t able to transmit. We have a team in the NYPD that can track down and stop these unauthorized transmissions, which is something we would do for life saving organizations like Hatzolah. My job doesn’t stop when I come home for dinner or even when I get ready for bed. Many times my phone rings late evening or very early mornings because of a crisis. For example, recently Yankie Meyer of Misaskim called me late at night regarding a tragedy in the transit system. He needed to send a crew to clean up on the track and power in the transit system had to be shut off for that. Working with our partners in the MTA and Transit Police, power was shut and Misaskim was able to perform their incredible work for Kavod Ha’meis.
How do you manage working a schedule that sounds like it’s around the clock with 4 kids?
I give major thanks to my Aishes Chayil, Miri, who has always supported me and constantly ensures that our kids are always a priority. Without her I could never do what I do. Our kids are involved in chesed and we are so proud of them!
Do you find a lot of anti-semitism amongst your fellow police officers?
Not at all. Some of the best people I know are people who work for the NYPD.
What is the relationship like between the local precincts and organizations like Shomrim, Chaverim, Hatzolah and Misaskim?
Our relationships with these incredible organizations are extremely positive. One of my responsibilities is to liaise with these organizations and to ensure that the NYPD is in constant contact with them to proactively address any issues of concern.
Do you find people in Brooklyn to be supportive or against the local police?
I personally find an overwhelming number of people who are very supportive of the police. The vast majority of people in our great city are good, hard working people who want to feel safe. Brooklyn is so diverse, but one thing I find that is common in every community is the respect and appreciation people have for the police and for the job we do every single day.
Have you ever found your job & Jewish religion in conflict? Can you give us an example?
I’ve never found an issue at all. Baruch Hashem I’ve always managed my schedule to be off on Shabbos and Yom Tov. I’ve received calls from Chief Maddrey and other high ranking NYPD executives on Friday afternoons and they always start the conversation by acknowledging that they know Shabbos starts at sunset so they’ll make it brief. The leadership of the Department demonstrates sensitivity to diversity at all times.
If a frum boy or girl is reading this article in the Jewish Vues and they want to become a cop when they grow up, what would you tell them?
I’d tell them that the NYPD offers more opportunities than any other career I can think of. In addition to regular patrol, which is the backbone of policing, if someone has a desire to ride a police horse, we have that. Drive a police boat? We have that! Fly a police helicopter? We have that too! Work in Israel? We actually have that! We currently have an NYPD Detective assigned to Tel Aviv and we have over ten other police officers stationed around the world to help us with our counterterrorism mission. From protecting your own community to rappelling from a helicopter, to rescue diving in the ocean, to searching the Internet for potential terrorism activity, and everything in between, the NYPD offers it all.
Would you tell your own kids the same thing?
Absolutely! Being in the NYPD has given me more than just a front row seat to the greatest show on earth, it’s given me a backstage pass! Whether it’s a Presidential visit during the United Nations General Assembly, (when almost 200 world leaders and their families and staff come into Manhattan for 2 weeks) or helping organize a community food giveaway before Thanksgiving, the rewarding feeling of being an NYPD Officer is truly second to none.
What do you like to do when you are “chilling?” Do you have hobbies when you are not on duty?
I enjoy reading (especially the Jewish Vues) and although I can be a picky eater, I consider myself a foodie (I know that’s going to cause a whole debate). I enjoy time with my family, exercise around Marine Park, and discussions about current events.
Are you a daf yomi, chevrusa, or shiur kind of guy?
I’ve always learned everyday but since my brother-in-law Heshy Spira completed daf yomi this past January, I was inspired to learn more and I started learning daf yomi.
What are you doing this year for Chanukah?
For many reasons, Chanukah is one of my favorite times of the year (remember the foodie part). I’ve always enjoyed going to so many parts of the city for Chanukah celebrations and seeing friends who I haven’t seen for a while. Of course this year is different for everyone, so the plan is to celebrate this joyous holiday at home with my wife and kids, the brightest lights of my life.