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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Book Review: Street Warrior: The True Story of the NYPD’s Most Decorated Detective and the Era That Created Him by Ralph Friedman, with Patrick W. Picciarelli

Ralph Friedman was a cop in the Bronx in the 1970s, when basically the whole borough was on fire (or might as well have been and no one was going to put it out.) Even Manhattan was in poor shape in that decade, and the Bronx probably had it the worst in terms of crime and poverty.

Ralph had grown up in the Bronx so he was thrilled with his posting when he became a cop. He arrested someone on his first day, and never slowed down. Eventually he became the most decorated cop in the history of the NYPD, and had the most arrests. Which is even more impressive considering that he was sidelined by a major injury and wasn't able to get in his full 20 years. He would frequently arrest people while off-duty. He would arrest multiple people a day. He figured out a way, with the Bronx DA's office, to get his arrestees processed quickly and to get himself in and out of the courthouse fast on court days, as that was most cops' biggest problem if they wanted to have high arrest numbers. (It's also helpful to have a partner who doesn't want arrests--one who has a family and wants to only work 40 hours a week and not get overtime.)

Ralph shot and killed a few people. He saw his partner get shot. He helped track down the bad guys when his little brother, a transit cop, was hurt. He took down mobsters, drug dealers, and lots of general bad-time hoods. He became a detective and was on his way to be one of the most legendary NYC cops of all time when he had the aforementioned injury.

This book is a fun adrenaline rush. Mr. Friedman and I don't see eye to eye politically, and he's very sure about some opinions which I think are more opinion than fact (as he presents them) in terms of how things have changed since the 70s and why. However, that's a pretty small part of the book altogether, and this was a fun read. Would be great for a dad or brother who isn't a big reader, any NYC buffs, or even Law & Order fans.

This book is published by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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