UPDATED
July 22, 2010



 

History and Development of the NYC Retired Transit Police Officers' Association
 

 

February 4, 1966
The organization is formally incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation by the New York Department of State.  The first
Board of Directors include William M. Casey, Stanley Bailey, John A. Colahan, John P. Heenan and Gerard Rogers.

1967-68:  
The first meeting of the Association was held in the main office in Transit Police H.Q. at 370 Jay St.  William Casey was elected President and the purpose of the Association was defined "to enhance pension benefits and to better conditions financially, socially and fraternally." Annual dues were set at $10.00.

1969-71:  
John J. Timmony
was elected president and some of the meetings were held in the Brooklyn War Memorial Building.

1972-73:  
William Antonacchio
elected president.

            1974-75:  
John J. Timmony
was re-elected president.                               

1976-77:  
John R. Mylan
was president and some of the meetings were held in the Transit Police Academy at 300 Gold St.         

1978-79:  
William Bell
was president.  Some of the meetings were now held in the Lief Ericksen Tavern at 5th Ave & 67th Street
in Brooklyn.                       

1980-81:   
Simeon Heyward
was president and two of the meetings were held at the C.S.R.E.A. Building, at 267 Broadway, NYC.

1982-85:    
William Bell
was reelected as president.  Meetings were now held in St. Mary’s Orthodox Church hall at 81st Street & Ridge Ave, Brooklyn.  It became the permanent location for all the meetings. The start of an annual dance was in 1985,
and the first was held in the Palm Shores in Brooklyn.  

1986-87:    
Louis Chirico
was elected president and the annual dance was held in the Colonial Mansion in Brooklyn.  Lou later
served as the Association liaison with the Transit Police PBA Retiree Security Benefits Fund and with the City of NY
after the merge in 1995 in an attempt to guarantee the rights and benefits of the Transit Police retiree.

1988-2001: 
Michael Spadafora
was elected president and served an unprecedented thirteen years. Some of the meetings and the
annual dances were held in Long Island and Brooklyn. The dances were held in Leonard’s of Great Neck, Koenig’s Restaurant in Floral Park and The Claridge House in Brooklyn, to name only a few. The meetings were held between
St Mary’s in Brooklyn and the Masonic Hall in Floral Park, Nassau County
.  One of the biggest developments was t
he April 1995 merge of the NYC Transit Police Department with the NYC Police Department as the Transit Bureau.
A State bill was passed through the efforts of Ed Ranieri which guaranteed we would get the same retirement benefits
as the NYC Police Dept.  We also celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the Association's start with a great annual Holiday party in the VFW hall on Braddock Ave in Queens that was free to all members.                           

2002-2004: 
Charles Farkouh
was elected president.  A new set of by-laws was implemented that opened membership to retirees from NYPD who were originally appointed to the NYC Transit Police Department before the merger in 1995, otherwise known as the "Hostile Takeover".  The annual Holiday party with wives attending was held at the Baron De Kalb Knights of Columbus  in Brooklyn. Meetings were alternated between the VFW Hall at Braddock Ave. in Queens and the K of C on 86th Street & 13th Ave in Brooklyn.  

2004 to 2005: 
Marty McKeon
was elected President.  In 2005, the Association joined the Retired Housing Police Officers Association and The Dinosaurs Club in forming the Variable Supplements Legislation Committee to fight for legislation to get the VSF for those who retired from service before July 1, 1987.

For the first time, through the efforts of Financial Secretary Ron Forte, members were treated to a Mets baseball game at Shea Stadium.  Fifty tickets were purchased and passed out to paid members.  Additional tickets for non-members were charged at cost.  The event will continue as long as we have interested members to participate in the Association's offered activities.

2006 to 2008:
In 2006, for the first time in the history of the Association, a $250 Death Benefit was started for the beneficiary of any member who, at the time of their death, was a member in "good standing" and paid up for the three years prior to his/her death.  Meetings were now being held at the VFW on Braddock Avenue, Queens and the new Brooklyn location, the Ben McChree Boat Club.  Another major change was the introduction of a hot buffet at all the meetings along with a "door charge" of $5.00 to offset the additional cost of the food.  This was a major accomplishment due to the efforts of Vice-President Ed Russo.

Financial Secretary Ron Forte
again came through with another set of tickets to a Mets baseball game.  The turnout was the best by far.

Another first in the history of the Association took place when a membership meeting was held in The Bronx.  As a gesture to our members living in The Bronx and upstate New York, the meeting was held at The Bronxonia Yacht Club on Ellsworth Avenue near the Throggs-Neck Bridge.   A good turnout showed the interest of our members in the Association and we also enrolled a few new members.

Starting in 2007, a $250 Death Benefit was established to help the families of our deceased members.  The only stipulation is the member must have been paid up for the 3 years prior to his passing away. During the year, $4700 was paid out to the listed beneficiary of the late member.

The Mets baseball game tickets again were distributed to the members through the continuing efforts of our Financial Secretary Ron Forte.  All tickets were dispensed, and those who attended the game enjoyed it tremendously, though the Mets did lose.

A farewell party was given for Floyd Holloway, our own member and Legislative Director of the NYS Association of PBAs, on his final retirement from a long time active life in the political arena where he fought for and won, many benefits that the members, both active and retired, currently enjoy.  Our best wishes go to Floyd and his wife Marjorie as they enjoy their new lives in their new home in Virginia.

The fight for the VSF Benefit continued through the year with President Marty McKeon and Legislative Chairman John Regan leading the struggle for the Association.  Unfortunately, political hassling in City Hall threw a wet towel over our efforts but the fight will continue into the next year.  Our hopes remain for a just settlement of a gross inequity.

Later in the year, our 1st Vice President Richard "Max" Sinnott submitted his resignation from the Board, citing health reasons.  Richie has always given his guidance and expertise to further the causes of the Association and we will miss him.  Again, our best wishes go to Max and his wife, Jean, as they enjoy their camping trips and backyard gardening, though Richie still has problems growing garlic.  With Richie's retirement, President McKeon appointed John Regan as the new 1st Vice President and Legislative Director.

In September of 2007, President McKeon announced he will not be running for re-election as President for the 2008-2009 term of office and subsequently, Ed Russo was nominated as President and Marty was nominated as 2nd Vice President.  The rest of the Board was nominated and at the October meeting, with no opposition, the entire Board was voted in.

Finally, in December, a festive Holiday Party was held at Antun's of Queens Village.  For the first time in the history of the Association, the party was given free to all paid members attending, and a small amount was charged for any non member or member's guests.  There was a big turnout and everyone enjoyed the night.

2008 to present:
Ed Russo
takes over as the new President of the Retirees Association.

Past President Martin J. McKeon passes away suddenly from a heart attack in June of 2008.  His efforts as President to get the VSF Benefits for those denied it were well known and appreciated.  He will be missed by his family, the Executive Board and the members of the Association.


We still adhere to the principles of the association: "To enhance our members' pension benefits and at the same time
to make conditions better financially, socially and fraternally."



History of the NYC Transit Police Dep't.
 

 

Rapid transit has played an integral part in the lives of New Yorkers for well over 100 years.  The first trains ran at grade level and on elevated structures. Underground trains were added on October 27, 1904 when, after taking four and a half years to build, the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) opened to the public. Since both the IRT and the competing BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) lines were privately financed and built, they had no police, but only their own private security personnel. The new IND (Independent) lines, however, which began operating in 1932, were owned by New York City and run by the Board of Transportation. These lines originally had "station supervisors" employed to police them, their names having been taken from the NYC Police Department's hiring list.

On November 17, 1933, six men were sworn in as New York State Railway Police. They were unarmed but were still responsible for the safety of the passengers on the IND line as well as guarding the system's property. Two years later, 20 "station supervisors, class B" were added for police duty. Responsible for assisting in the opening and closing of doors and announcing destinations, these 26 "specials" were soon given powers of arrest, but only on the IND line. And thus the New York City Transit Police Department was born.

In 1937, 160 more men were added to this police force.  Additionally, 3 lieutenants, 1 captain, and 1 inspector from the NYPD were assigned as supervisors.  When the privately-run IRT and BMT lines were taken over by New York City in 1940, the small patrol force on the IND line nearly doubled in size. Now part of the Civil Service system, more Transit supervisors were needed. In 1942, the first promotional exam was given for the title of "Special Patrolman Grade 2" - or what is now known as a sergeant.

The Code of Criminal Procedure was changed in 1947 granting Transit patrolmen peace officer status and by 1950, the number of "specials" reached 563. The following year, exams were held for both Transit sergeants and lieutenants. In 1953, the New York City Transit Authority came into being and assumed control over all the subway lines from the old Board of Transportation.

Beginning in 1949, the question as to who should supervise the Transit Police Department was one which was carefully scrutinized over the next five years by various city officials. The issue being considered was, "Should Transit be taken over by the NYPD?" In 1955, the decision was made that the Transit Police Department would become a separate and distinctly different Department, ending almost two decades of rule by the NYPD. The Civil Service Commission established a new test for Transit recruits, and on April 4, the first appointments from the list were made. An NYPD lieutenant, Thomas O'Rourke, was also designated the first commanding officer of the Transit Police Department. Soon after, Lieutenant O'Rourke along with 9 others, passed the captain's exam. Captain O'Rourke was then appointed as the first Chief of the new department.

With crime on the rise, the number of Transit officers increased so that by 1966, the Department had grown to 2,272 officers.  That year, Robert H. Rapp was appointed Chief by the NYC Transit Authority.  Under Chief Rapp, and at the direction of the Mayor, an ambitious new anti-crime program got underway. The program had a goal of assigning an officer to each of New York City's subway trains between the hours of 8:00 PM and 4:00 AM.  And the Transit Police Department continued to grow.  By early 1975, the department comprised nearly 3,600 members.

In 1975, a former NYPD chief inspector and sometime City Council president, Sanford D. Garelik, was appointed Chief of the Transit Police Department.  Determined to reorganize the Transit Police Department, Chief Garelik was also successful in instilling a new sense of pride and professionalism among the ranks. However, the fiscal crisis that began that year was an unexpected blow - especially to Transit cops. Over the next five years, layoffs and attrition would reduce their numbers to fewer than 2,800. New officers would not be hired until 1980. By the early 1990's however, the Transit Police Department had regained all of its former strength and had increased even further.

In 1991 the Transit Police gained national accreditation under Chief William Bratton.  The Department became one of only 175 law-enforcement agencies in the country and only the second in the New York State to achieve that distinction.  The following year it was also accredited by the State of New York, and by 1994, there were almost 4,500 uniformed and civilian members of the Department, making it the sixth largest police force in the United States.

Over time, however, the separation between the NYPD and the NYC Transit Police Department created more and more problems. Redundancy of units, difficulty in communications and differences in procedures all created frustration and inefficiency. As part of his mayoral campaign, candidate Rudolph Giuliani pledged to end the long unresolved discussion and merge all three of New York City's police departments (the NYPD, the Transit Police, and the NYC Housing Authority Police Department) into a single, coordinated force.  Mayor Giuliani took office on January 1, 1994, and immediately undertook to fulfill his promise and end a problem that had defied final solution for almost half a century.  Discussions between the City and the New York City Transit Authority produced a memorandum of understanding, and on April 2, 1995, the NYC Transit Police was consolidated with the New York City Police Department to become a new Bureau within the NYPD. After a reorganization of the Department in February of 1997, the Transit Bureau became the Transit Division within the newly formed Transportation Bureau. The Transportation Bureau dissolved in the Spring of 1998 and in July of 1999, the Transit Division once again became the Transit Bureau.

The following history report of the NYC Transit Police Department was compiled by Ret. P.O. Mike Minghillo

The New York City subway system is the largest and most intricate system of its kind in the entire world.  The system consists of 469 stations, 842 miles of track, 6.494 subway cars, (that make 33,000 trips a year) 27 subway service lines, three short shuttles and serves over 5 million passengers, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

With a system this large and the amount of people using it, a Specialized Police Department was, and still is, necessary.   

The following is the story of the birth and the death of the New York City Transit Police Department. 

Rapid transit played an integral part in the lives of New Yorkers for well over 100 years.  The first trains ran at grade level and on elevated structures.  On October 27, 1904, the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) opened to the public.  It took four and a half years to complete, because it ran underground.  Since both the IRT and the competing BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) lines were privately financed and built, they had no police but only their own private security personnel. 

In 1932, the new IND (Independent) lines began operating.  It was owned by New York City and run by the Board of Transportation.  These lines originally had “station supervisors” employed to police them, their names having been taken from the NYC Police Department’s hiring list.

On November 17, 1933, six men were sworn in as New York State Railway Police.  They were unarmed but were still responsible for the safety of the passengers on the IND lines as well as guarding the systems property.  In 1935, 20 “station supervisors, class B” were added for police duty. 

In June of 1936, Mayor LaGuardia signed  a resolution creating the post of  “Special Patrolman” on the subway system.  Responsible for assisting in the opening and closing of doors and announcing destinations, these 26 “Special Patrolmen” were soon given powers of arrests, but only on the IND line.

 And thus the New York City Transit Police Department was born.

In 1937, 160 more men were added to the police force.  Additionally, 3 Lieutenants, 1 Captain, and 1 Inspector from the NYPD were assigned as supervisors.  When the privately-run IRT and BMT lines were taken over by New York City in 1940, the small patrol force on the IND line nearly doubled in size.  Now part of the Civil Service system, more Transit supervisors were needed. 

In 1942, the first promotional examination was given for the title of “Special Patrolman Grade 2” or what is now known as Sergeant. In 1947 the Code of Criminal Procedure was changed granting Transit Patrolmen Peace Officer Status

In 1949 the question as to who should supervise the Transit Police Department was one that was carefully scrutinized over the next five years by various city officials.  The issue that was considered was, “Should the Transit Police be taken over by NYPD?" 

By 1950 the number of Special Patrolman reached 563.  In 1951 examinations were held for Transit Sergeants and Lieutenants.

In 1953, the New York City Transit Authority came into being and assumed control over all the subway lines from the old Board of Transportation.

In 1954, Dorothy Uhnak became the first woman to join the Transit Police Department.

In 1955, the decision was made that the Transit Police Department would become a separate and distinctly different Department, ending almost two decades of rule by the NYPD.  The Civil Service Commission established a new test for Transit Patrolman and on April 4, the first appointments from the list were made. 

NYPD Lieutenant Thomas O’Rourke was designated the first commanding officer of the Transit Police Department.  Soon after, Lieutenant O’Rourke along with 9 others passed the Captain’s examination. 

In 1955, Captain O’Rourke was then appointed as the first Chief of the Transit Police Department.

In 1964 New York City Transit Patrolmen were granted the same powers as the Patrolmen of the City of New York Police Department.

In 1965 crime on the subway system began to rise and, at the Mayor’s direction, the Transit Police Department began a recruitment drive to rapidly increase their size.

In 1966 legislation was enacted that gave members of police departments across New York State including the New York City Transit Police Department “Police Officer” status with broad powers of arrest.

By 1966, the Department had grown to 2,272 Police Officers.  That same year  Robert H. Rapp was appointed Chief of the New York City Transit Police Department.  Under Chief Rapp, an under the Mayor’s direction, an ambitious new anti-crime program got underway.  The program had a goal of assigning an officer to each of New York City’s subway trains and stations between the hours of 8:00PM and 4:00AM

By early 1975, the Transit Police Department had grown to 3,600 Police Officers.  

Later in 1975 a former NYPD Chief Inspector and sometimes City Council President Sanford D. Garelik, was appointed Chief of the Transit Police Department.  Determined to reorganize the Transit Police Department, he eliminated all the ranks between Deputy Inspector and Assistant Chief.  All ranking officers were asked to either retire or be reduced back to the rank of Captain.  The Chief felt that the Transit Police Department was only an ancillary force, and that everything other than patrol was done by New York City Police Officers.  After observing the Transit Police Officers doing their job, he realized that the Transit Police Department was not an ancillary force and that all the work, patrol and otherwise, was done by the Transit Police Officers.  Chief Garelik was also successful in instilling a new sense of pride and professionalism among the ranks.  However, the fiscal crisis that began that year was an unexpected blow especially to Transit Police Officers.  Over the next five years, layoffs and attrition would reduce the number of Transit Police Officers to fewer than 2,800.  New Officers would not be hired until 1980.

On December 29, 1977, during the fiscal crisis, a new medical unit came into being. 

General Order #6.9 established the Transit Police Emergency Medical Rescue Unit.  Under the direction of Deputy Inspector Valentine, ten (10) highly motivated police officers volunteered to become the best of the best in the Transit Police.  They underwent additional medical training and operated primarily in midtown Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.  Their duties also included bomb and terrorists threats.

In 1980 the Vandal Squad was formed.  Their mission was to protect the subway system from hardcore criminal acts of destruction like graffiti, kicking out windows and throwing seats out of train cars.  By the end of the 1980’s the Transit Police had effectively solved the problem of graffiti in the subway system.

On December 15, 1980 the Canine Unit (K-9) performed its first day of patrol.  The unit proved time and time again to be an effective tool in the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminal within the transit system. 

In 1982, the first police “sweep of the subways was conducted” with great results. 

During the 1990’s the Transit Police Department had regained all of its former strength and had increased even further.

In 1991 the Transit Police Department gained national accreditation under Chief William Bratton.  The Department became one of only 175 law enforcement agencies in the country and only the second in New York State to achieve this distinction.  The  following year it was also accredited by the State of New York.  Chief Bratton also made significant changes, especially in the areas of the  firearms, and the police-radio system.   Under his command, all Transit Police Officers were authorized to carry a 9 millimeter weapon.  With reference to the police-radio system, the Chief had invited reporters to check out the radio system and see for themselves how easy it was for a cop’s cry for help to go unheard.  The story annoyed the people who hired him but they also helped produce, in short order, money for a new police-radio system.

On October 13, 1994, the Transit Police Department had 4,327 Police Officers making it the sixth largest police force in the United States.

Over time, however, the separation between the NYPD and NYC Transit Police Department created more and more problems.  Redundancy of units, difficulty in communications and differences in procedures all created frustration and inefficiency.

As part of his mayoral campaign candidate Rudolph Guiliani pledged to end the long unresolved discussion and merge all three Police Department, NYPD, NYC Transit Police and the NYC Housing Authority Police into a single coordinated  force.

For almost fifty years the Transit Police had functioned very well.  All of a sudden there were problems?  There was no separation between the NYPD and the Transit Police.  Each department was a separate and unique entity.  Each police department in New York City was authorized , by law, to have different units within their structure.  These units did differ because of the specialty of the department, so redundancy of units was a myth.  There has always been difficulty in communications with the different departments in New York City especially as witnessed by the 9-11 disaster.  Differences in procedures is also common within different departments.  But, in the final analysis these differences were negligible. 

The only place where frustration and inefficiency existed was in the mind of Mayor Guiliani.

During these proceedings it was disclosed that the Mayor appointed individuals who were in charge of the Transit Police and who reported on policy to the Police Commissioner and on personnel to the Transit Authority President. 

This system, even if understood, which it was not, was totally absurd.  Why was the Mayor appointing these people to the Transit Police?    

The Transit Authority had turned a deaf ear to crimes committed on the system whether an apprehension was made or not. 

They wanted to down play crime on the system and if a crime was reported in the press it would be viewed a failure to protect the riding public.  The stated reason for these failures were that the Transit Police had neither a clearly defined purpose nor accountable chain of command?

Another question that was asked was “Why did Transit Police management fail”?  Once again there was no answer because there was no failure on the part of  Transit Police management.         

These statements demanded an in-dept investigation, as did every new disclosure about the Transit Police.  Unfortunately, no further investigations were ever conducted.

The following were the duties of a Transit Police Officer:

A Transit Police Officer had a uniquely different policing responsibility which consisted of patrolling subway trains at dangerous high-crime hours, foot patrol of subway stations alone, rush hours, school conditions, and specialized patrol services.  A Transit Police Officer’s responsibilities included responding to subway crimes, re: booth robbery, passenger robbery, assaults, pick-pocketing, sexual assaults, homicides, fires, smoke conditions, persons under train, multiple aided cases including E.D.P’s, bomb and terrorists threats, issuing summonses and making arrests.

The police officer did his job, the police supervisors did their jobs, crime on the system was decreasing and the police management function to plan, direct, organize, staff and evaluate operations was performed well. 

A clearly defined purpose, and an accountable chain of command.  No Transit Police management failure here!!!!

On January 1, 1994, Mayor Guiliani took office and immediately undertook to fulfill his promise and end a problem that had defied final solution for almost half a century?.

Once again, the only problem was in the mind of Mayor Guiliani.

The MTA Board of Director’s had initially opposed the merger, but finally went along with it in January 1995, because Mayor Guiliani threatened to pull all funding for the Transit Police which was estimated to be $315 million dollars for the year

Discussions between the City of New York and the NYC Transit Authority produced a memorandum of understanding, which guaranteed patrol strength (two thousand officers) would be unchanged for three years, except in cases of emergencies or if the city’s overall strength decreases.  This was a massive cut in the number of officers assigned to the subway, because the Transit Police Department employed over four thousand Police Officers regardless of emergencies or whether the strength of the New York Police Department increased or decreased. 

An average of 1,023 Transit Bureau Officers would patrol the subway on a daily basis.  This strength was only guaranteed until April 2, 1998. 

And so on April 2, 1995, the New York City Transit Police Department was merged (“Hostile Takeover“) with the New York City Police Department to become the new Transit Bureau within the NYPD. 

A Dedicated, Proud and Proficient New York City Transit Police Department ceased to exist  with the swipe of a pen.

Two short years later it appeared that the NYPD did not know what to do with the added responsibility of policing the transit system.  The following are changes and statistics after the April 2,1995, “Hostile Takeover” merger:

After Merger:

In February of 1997, after a reorganization of the Department the Transit Bureau became the Transit Division within the newly formed Transportation Bureau. 

In the spring of 1998 the Transportation Bureau dissolved. 

In July 1999 the Transit Division once again became the Transit Bureau, and as such continues to provide police protection to the nation’s largest rapid transit system. There are only 12 NYPD Transit Bureau (Police) Districts. There is only a small detail of NYPD Transit Bureau Officers that patrol the trains on the 8PM to 4AM tour. An average of 1,023 NYPD Transit Bureau Officers patrol the system 24 hours a day as of April 2, 1995.
This strength was guaranteed for only three years dating to April 2, 1998.

With twenty seven lines, four hundred and sixty nine stations and numerous trains to cover the Transit Bureau Officers must be spread really thin? 

How many Transit Bureau Officers actually patrol the system as of April 2, 2008?

These are the statistics before the “Hostile Takeover” merger:

Before the Merger there were 18 Transit Police Districts plus five/seven additional smaller “districts” where the officers assigned to the 8P Program would report for duty. There were approximately 1,000 Transit Police Officers assigned to train patrol and station patrol, between the hours of 8PM and 4AM.  Included were area coordinators that would have the responsibility of making sure that a train or station was covered in the event of an arrest, etc., by that particular officer.  You could always find a Transit Police Officer quickly because even during the day and early afternoon they were assigned to train patrol, station patrol, rush hours, school conditions and special patrol services. 

 TRANSIT COPS ARE TOPS - FOREVER

Even though this “Hostile Takeover” merger was definitely not in the best interest of the riding public, the citizens of New York, or the New York City Transit Authority, the Transit Police Officers and the Transit Police Department should always be remembered for who they are, what they were and what they accomplished.