New York's Finest

A City and Its Police.
By James Lardner
and Thomas Reppetto.
Illustrated. 368 pp. New York:
A John Macrae Book/
Henry Holt & Company. $27.50.

A friend of mine, an ex-New York City police officer, once told me the following story: One night during his rookie year he had given chase to a robbery suspect. The chase led to a stairwell, where the suspect turned on my friend, pummeling and kicking him. My friend managed to subdue the suspect, but not before he was bloodied up good.

The rookie officer brought the handcuffed suspect, who was unhurt and ostentatiously nonchalant about his arrest, to the precinct house, expecting praise, or if not praise--this was the N.Y.P.D. after all--then silent approval for his valiant deed. He did not expect to be met by withering scorn.
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