Retired officers in The Villages gather to socialize and follow current events of their NYPD brothers.
Code 10-13: “officer needs help.”
That call for help became more evident in recent weeks after several New York police—and officers nationwide—have been shot, stabbed and targeted in numerous riots, protests and marches, all part of a nationwide public outcry following the May 25 death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody.
“It’s a tragedy what has happened; it’s disgraceful,” says Charlie Monahan, president of The Villages NYPD 10-13 Club, who has been away from the nation’s largest city for four decades, home to nearly 36,000 NYPD officers, “and yet my heart is still there.”
“New York is a good place, from the mayor on down to the police commissioner, the chief, and everybody else. I know all of
them would kneel.”
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota after he was accused of buying cigarettes with a presumed counterfeit $20 bill. He was pinned beneath three police cars after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to George’s neck for nearly nine minutes while George was cuffed face down in the street and unable to breathe, according to news reports.
The police brutality was recorded on video by bystanders and posted on social media, which sparked protesters taking to the streets nationwide.
“It was not a good thing what he (the officer) did, kneeling on his neck, and it killed him, basically. He (Chauvin) is going to pay for it, and most of us feel that way,” says Charlie.
However, Charlie has been saddened by the aftermath of the tragedy, seeing TV images of cops dealing with being hit in the face with bricks, bottles and rocks as they go forward to make an arrest; rioters exploiting the situation with looting, destruction of public buildings and protesters overturning cars and setting them on fire.
“That’s not protesting when you burn things down,” Charlie says. “The cops are taking a beating out there and I’m upset about that.”
He knows his peers feel the same way.
Charlie expects the recent events to be a topic of conversation when The Villages NYPD 10-13, composed of 60 members, meet in September for their first gathering since March when Sea Breeze Recreation Center was closed due to COVID-19. The social club generally meets 6pm on the third Thursday of each month, except in July and August.
Moments of police taking the knee, praying and hugging with protesters for racial justice have been reported sporadically around the nation, and it has attracted social media attention.
“New York is a good place, from the mayor on down to the police commissioner, the chief, and everybody else. I know all of them would kneel,” Charlie says.
He attended the first meeting of The Villages NYPD 10-13 Club when it was formed in 2004. Up to that point, he remembers it was a bunch of New York City guys getting together for breakfast.
The Villagers often reminisce of earlier days on their police beats.
“Sometimes the talk is about things that happen during your career; some of them are funny, some of them are sad,” says Charlie.
“We talk about guys we knew and worked with in certain places and where they are today,” adds Mike Powers, the club’s vice president. “We also keep very much in touch with what is going on in New York City as far rules of the police department, (changes in) pension benefits or things we have to worry about. Certain administrations might want to change a few things and they’re not allowed to.”
The group often has a guest speaker. During one meeting, the club members learned about security measures in the banking field as a speaker shared information about scams on senior citizens.
“Sometimes, we have people come in and talk about trust funds and how to take care of your family when they grow older,” says Mike, who was an NYPD detective and retired early after 18 ½ years from after a line of duty injury.
“I remember my first year on the street, it was $9,700 and that was in 1966, and it increased to $11, 400 by 1974,” Mike recalls of his annual salary.
And yes, Mike admits, he does watch police shows on TV.
“But I do find myself critiquing a lot of the shows,” he says, adding his wife of 49 years does the same, right along with him.
And just like most people in The Villages, Charlie and Mike are eager for a return to some form of normalcy and are ready to reunite with their social club friends in Villages NYPD 10-13.