New York Frankie
There's a pizza parlor in my beat owned by a guy named Frankie. Frankie is an authentic "New Yorker": A great guy and one of the biggest supporters of police I've met. The walls of his restaurant are decorated with police patches from all different agencies and he had a small memorial for one of his officer-regulars that died last year.
Too bad his decision making isn't as great as his pizza making. Here's a few stories I like to tell about my friend Frankie.
A long time back he was telling another officer and me about a suspicious car that parked at the far end of his parking lot several nights a week. The driver sat in his car for hours at a time. Frankie didn't know why the driver did this and asked us what he should do. The other officer told him, "Next time the car is parked there and it seems suspicious, get the license plate and we can investigate it."
A few weeks later we stopped in for a visit and a slice of pizza. Frankie became excited and started fidgeting behind the counter. Then he holds up a metal license plate and proudly exclaims, "Here's the license plate you told me to get. I had to sneak up and take it off while the guy left his car for a few minutes."
The other officer's jaw dropped. "I meant get the NUMBER of the license plate, not the actual thing." he nervously replied (thinking about being an accomplice to theft.) "C'mon Frankie, now I've got to return this to the owner and do report."
"Oh, sorry." replied a disappointed Frankie. "I thought you wanted the plate."
Another time my partner and I were at Frankie's and he was proudly showing off his new alarm system. The windows and doors were now equipped with the typical burglary sensors but he was most proud of his new armed robbery panic button. He explained how this expensive feature would allow one of his workers to trip the panic button ensuring a rapid response from the police.
We told him we well aware of these and how we respond to them all the time from banks and check cashing stores.
"Watch this!", Frankie announced, and slammed the button on the wall.
My partner and I looked at each other anticipating the emergency armed robbery call that would be broadcast over the radio in the next minute or so. We readied our radios to answer the broadcast quickly so no other units would speed to the scene.
We waited a few minutes. Then a few more. Then a few more. No emergency call. Frankie could hear our radio and could tell his alarm was not working. After fifteen minutes we finally got the radio call.....
Well, not for Frankie, that is. He launched into a tirade of curses about the alarm company and how much money it cost him. He was on the phone immediately with the alarm service cussing out some poor phone representative. We waved goodbye and heard Frankie screaming, "Fifteen f**cking minutes! I'd be dead by then! I paid good money for this....! What's the point of a panic button if it takes you guys fifteen minutes to notify the police!
The next time we were in I asked if the alarm company refunded his money. "No, they fixed the panic button instead." He walked towards the wall where the button was mounted.
"Watch this", he said.
"NO!!!!" my partner and I yelled in unison.
One night Frankie told me about a car that had been left in the parking lot for months. He wanted it towed and asked what to do. I asked him if the property had a contract with a towing company to remove abandoned vehicles. "No", he replied.
I explained that police only towed vehicles that were left in the roadway, blocking a driveway, in an alley, etc. that posed a hazard to other vehicles or blocked public access.
Frankie nodded in understanding and we moved on to a different topic of conversation.
On my way out the door Frankie asks me, "After I push that car out into the street, do I call 911 or the non-emergency number?"
With a sigh I re-enter the store to have another chat with Frankie.