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This review is from: My Life in the NYPD:: Jimmy the Wags (Mass Market Paperback)
I expected to read a load of self-serving macho crap, but instead I found this book very upbeat. Jimmy Wagner doesn't portray himself as being "tough" at all; on the contrary, he's very conflict-averse. Throughout the book he avoids conflicts where he knows he (or the perp) will get hurt.
"Wags," as he calls himself, worked out of the 9th Precinct, back when it wasn't hip. The East Village, or "EVill" in the day's jargon, was a cesspool of abandoned buildings, shooting galleries, pimps, toothless hookers, and violence. One of his stories involves the murder of a Bowery flophouse wino and some mysterious meat that serves as an important clue. Don't worry, it doesn't involve canibbalism, but it does involve two incompetent detectives!
Incompetence is a recurring problem in Wagner's book. From his days at the academy, he meets all sorts of sickos who become cops, do a lousy job, and get to stay despite their deficits. One of the weirdest cops in the 9th Precinct is an old alcoholic, who wanders off for days at a time, nobody knowing where he's ended up. One of the scariest cops, however, is a violent sociopath who's rampages get worse and worse until the NYPD has no choice but to fire him. What happens to this policeman afterwards isn't really shocking, but I won't reveal it here.
As for Wags, you'll be relieved to know that he lives happily. He leaves his work problems at the office and leaves his home problems at the house. Unlike most cops at his Precinct, he has only two drinks at the next door dive bar and goes home. New Yorkers have a nostalgia for the East Village of old, but others remember it as an incredibly unsafe district where life was cheap. It may have had a gritiness that people look back on with fond memories, but those who got beaten and robbed and spat on will have a different view. Even Wags admits he's thankful that the neighborhood is transformed.
It's important to note that none of the cops in his circle lived in the East Village. Most lived in the suburbs of Queens, Nassau County, Staten Island, Westchester, or New Jesey. I doubt any cop who patrolled the 9th Preconct lived in the neighborhood where he worked. You have to wonder how much a cop really cares about a community where he doesn't reside.
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Initial post: Jun 17, 2014 9:09:03 AM PDT
J. C. Gorman says:
Spot on review except NYPD prohibits police officers from living within the precincts in which they work. Doubt Mr. Wolinsky would live in the 9th Pct. of the 1970s and expose his wife and kids to that world no matter any perceived social good. NYPD does not pay that well for that type of total risk to others NOT employed by them. Would be difficult to say the least.
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