Back in 2000 while still on the Documentary Photography & Photojournalism Program at ICP (International Center of Photography) in New York, I was commissioned by Court TV to document the work of NYPD detectives in two precincts in Brooklyn, the “seven three” and the “nine oh”. This work was to be used as production stills for a 10 episode documentary series which aired on various networks around the world, including Channel 4 in the UK. Scans are from dupe slides. © Paul Treacy / Court TV Phones always ringing at the “Nine Oh”, 90th Precinct, Brooklyn North. The seated detective’s weapon of choice is an old fashioned six shooter. Scene of a suspected malicious hit and run. Preparing to respond to scene of multiple shootings resulting in two fatalities. Bikes like these are often used in shootings as perpetrators can escape quickly up or down narrow stairways and alleyways. Tensions are high as the detectives arrive to begin their investigations. In the projects, heavily armed units enter the often huge surrounding buildings to secure them floor by floor before the detectives can begin their work. Prime suspect being interviewed. The officer left the room shortly afterwards and told me to hang around to see if the suspect turned off the lights. If he did it meant he was about to curl up on the bench and go to sleep. When this happens, detectives are convinced of the suspect’s guilt. Were they innocent they’d be very animated, apparently. There are many quiet moments in the squad room such as here where the detective was waiting to be called to court to give evidence. This person could avoid the attention of the vice squad by giving information when she could to the homicide squad who always looked after her. There were female detectives in both precincts I was covering just not when I was there. Some were on vacation, others on secondment, unfortunately. Homicide detectives are a sharply dressed bunch. Perhaps there’s power in that. This particular officer was famed for his interrogation techniques. Softly spoken, very clever and patient. I was told to always address the lieutenant in charge of the 90th precinct as either “boss” or “lu”, never by his name. Here detectives are briefing the boss on an investigation and awaiting further instructions. This Detective 1st Grade, as signified by his ring, with celebratory cigar at the ready, was waiting for this call to verify a conviction. The captain of the “Seven Three” celebrates the closing of a case. Most NYPD homicide squads, if not all, have mascots. In the case of the “Nine Oh” they were Mr Potato Heads. A closing still life of case files in the 90th precinct squad room.
I would love to do more work like this.
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