I'm sure many of you have heard that NYPD graduated its first Hasidic Police Officer, Joel Witriol, this past month. I, like many of you, read about it - said "cool" - and moved on to more important stories than your run-of-the-mill human interest story. That was until New Years Eve.
As my sister and I were traveling to a concert at Radio City Music Hall (great place to see a show), we got off the C line at 50th and 8th Ave. It turns out that 50th was blocked off and the Police there told us to walk to 52nd and cross. At 51st we over heard the Officer telling people that only those with tickets could cross. I didn't know what tickets they wanted, but we had two so I flashed them and through the barricade we went - crossing 5 more until we came to 6th Ave.
As we crossed the barricade I noticed that the Police Officer standing next to me had peot tucked behind his ears. I glanced quickly to see the name tag and it read "Witriol". I told Bethany (my sister) to wait a minute as I got inline to speak to him. Finally my time came.
He noticed my kippah, but didn't mention anything. I asked him if he had just graduated - he responded yes - then I said "You're the one that I read about in the papers?" "Yes". "Awesome, great job." To which he said "Thanks". And I walked away.
I really should have mentioned how great of a Kiddush Hashem he was doing and that despite the fact that many people disaprove of his profession there are those of us frum yidden who care. I didn't know at the time that it was his first duty assignment either - he looked spiffy in his brand new Police uniform and (blue PO) hat.
Joel, wherever you are, sh'koyach and keep up the good work.