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Jim Cirillo

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Jim Cirillo was a member of the New York City Police Department Stake-Out Squad. According to one biographer, “his job was to confront the worst in the criminal world. He lived through no less than seventeen separate shootouts. He was involved in many more armed confrontations. He later moved on to U.S. Customs. After retirement from law enforcement, Jim Cirillo took up writing. His book, Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter is a compilation of articles he wrote over the years.


According to the book description of Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter, “As member of the NYPD, Jim Cirillo survived more gunfights than Wild West legends Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and "Wild Bill" Hickok combined. Learn what it takes to survive a real gunfight from someone who's been in many - Jim Cirillo, top gun in the New York City Police Department stakeout unit. Read about the stress and intensity of an actual shoot-out and how to maximize your training, ammo and weapons to prevail.”

Jim Cirillo is also the author of Tales of The Stakeout Squad, No Second Place Winner, Principles of Personal Defense, Jim Cirillo-Modern Day Gunfighter : Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Gunfighting By A Guy Who Put His Life On The Line To Find Out, The Wind Book For Rifle Shooters, Surgical Speed Shooting: How to Achieve High-Speed Marksmanship in a Gunfight and Police Pistol Craft: The Reality-Based New Paradigm of Police Firearms Training.

According to one reader of Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter, “Jim Cirillo's book is very informative, especially to those who are actively involved in the law enforcement/security field. This is a must read!

According to one reader of Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter, “Anyone who would describe Jim Cirillo as a "bloodthirsty killer" is beneath contempt. If you were threatened with violence by some street thug, you would pray that a man like Cirillo might intercede on your behalf. You may have no idea of the senseless, violent crimes that led to the formation of New York's Stakeout Unit. Storeowners were being brutalized and executed for no reason after being robbed. I understand that that reality is hard for some people to grasp. As Orwell wrote, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Some other, more reasonable critics have described Jim as coming off as arrogant. Having had the privilege of getting to know Jim in the last few months of his life, I can assure them that he was not arrogant in the least. He was a warm, open, and vibrant man, extremely gregarious. He did like to talk about his experiences but the effect was not arrogant. He simply took pride in his accomplishments, but at the same time he would talk about his own mistakes and laugh at himself. He was also very interested in what other people had to say.  I don't think there is anyone who knew Jim who did not regard him as a fine man and a great friend. He will be missed.

According to one reader of Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter, “This book is outstanding! First of all...it is short! It is less than 120 pages, much less in text. That is a good thing. Keeps it easy to get through.

Secondly it addresses the psychological aspects of gun fighting better than most books of its era.  Thirdly, it doesn’t try to cover motor movement skills like some books. If you want to know how to move, stand, hold the gun and aim...I recommend finding an instructor in the flesh. He doesn’t waste 50 pages with wire diagrams of people going around corners and stuff. His book is better without that stuff. Don’t try to learn physical skills from books.

Finally, the book unlocks new things to me each time I read it. I read it the first time when I knew nothing of shooting. I found it interesting and something to think about. It was short so it was worth my time. Later, as I grew as a shooter and a person I would reread it about once a year and notice things I hadn’t seen before. New insights I had gained would allow me to comprehend things better and it made certain parts of the book more illuminating.”

From the History of the New York City Police Department 

Captains were notified that it was their duty to se that the church bells should be rung at the breaking out of a fire, and that the Watchmen callout between what streets the fire was found, under penalty of dismissal, even though it should have been the first offence.

Vagrant children, of whom there appeared to have been a great number, incited the Aldermen to an effort to remedy the evil. They directed the Police Justices, through their special officers, to use all lawful means to arrest such children, particularly those loitering around junk shops in the lower part of the city. Those that were taken into custody were sent to the alms house.

It appears that the magistrates were authorized, by an ordinance of the Common council, to employ the officers upon important business by the hour. The price, as stated by Justice Weyman, was two shillings per hour by night, and one and four pence per hour during the day. Their employment necessarily depended upon their fitness for the peculiar business to which their attention might be called, by the discretion of the magistrate. As the officers all conceived themselves equally qualified to perform any duty connected with the office, and, as the fat was otherwise, a proper exercise of this discretion in the magistrate led to complaints on the part of the men who considered themselves slighted.

A committee having been appointed to inquire into the expediency of reorganizing the Police Department, delivered their report on January 16, 1832. The report began with the general statement that in the increase of population in a city like New York, there was generally a corresponding increase of crime, and that recent experience had demonstrated that the higher and bolder grades of criminals were seeking this land to terrify the peaceful inhabitants, to set at naught the ordinary means of security, and to render dangerous the lives of prosperous citizens. Mention was made of the fact that when the population did not exceed one hundred thousand, a Police Department with three magistrates was conceived to be all that was necessary. The report pointed out that with a population of upwards of two hundred thousand, spread over an extent of land which rendered it not only hazardous, but difficult, for an officer to perform his duty at night, an extension of the Police Department was highly necessary. The committee also recommended an increase in the number of magistrates, to hold their offices in the upper part of the city. This was followed by he appointment of an additional Police Justice, and in the following year yet another, thereby increasing the number of Police Justices to five.


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