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Joe Sanchez

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In 1965, Joe Sanchez was drafted into the United States Army, at the age of 18.  On his twentieth birthday, he found himself with the First Air Cavalry Air Mobile Division deployed near the village of Phantiet in South Vietnam.  On that day, his unit was engaged in a firefight with Viet Cong.  Joe Sanchez and three of his comrades were wounded by a grenade during that firefight.

After discharge, Joe Sanchez served three years as a police officer with the New York Port Authority Police Department.  He then applied for, and was accepted, as a police officer for the New York City Police Department.  Joe Sanchez battled crime on the streets of New York, not realizing the most vicious enemy was within the NYPD.

In October of 1983, Joe Sanchez was indicted by a Special and Extraordinary Grand Jury in Manhattan for one count of Burglary in the First Degree; one count of Grand Larceny in the first Degree; one count of Grand Larceny in the second Degree; six counts of Grand larceny in the Third Degree; and, one count of assault in the Third Degree.  Joe Sanchez would ultimately be exonerated of the charges because the true betrayal wasn’t Joe’s, it was his enemies within the NYPD that had set him up.

For a time, Joe Sanchez became a letter carrier and then reentered the criminal justice field as a correctional officer serving in both Sing Sing and Coxsackie State Prisons. If you ask Joe Sanchez, he will tell you, “It's a true story. I've been trying to tell it for a long time. It's my story, but not mine alone. It is also the story of those who lived and died alongside me, in Viet Nam and in that other battle, for justice and safety under the shield of the law; that is fought daily in the streets of every big city by every honest cop. In this case, the city is the Naked City, and the cop [namely, me] is a Latino. And the battle is neither for the civilians alone, nor just against the bad guys in the street. Some times the bad guys are in the Department. And sometimes the people who need protection are the honest cops.”

Joe Sanchez is the author of Latin Blues: A Tale of Police Omerta from the NYPD and A Tale of the Enemy Within.

According to the book description of True Blue: A Tale of the Enemy Within, “Joe has been trying to tell this story for some time.  It’s his story, but not his alone. It’s also the story of those who lived and died alongside him, in Viet Nam and in that other battle, for justice and safety under the shield of the law, that is fought daily in the streets of every big city by every honest cop.  In his case, the city was the Naked City and the cop was a Latino. And the battle was neither for the civilians alone, nor just against the bad guys in the street.  Sometimes the bad guys were in the Department.  And sometimes the people who needed protection were the honest cops.”


A Tale of Police Omerta From The NYPD (Latin Blues)
Joe Sanchez  More Info

True_blue_joe_sanchez.jpg

About the New York Police Department (NYPD):

The first law-enforcement officer began to patrol the trails and paths of New York City when it was known as New Amsterdam, and was a Dutch settlement and fort in the year 1625. This lawman was known as a "Schout – fiscal" (sheriff – attorney) and was charged with keeping the peace, settling minor disputes, and warning colonists if fires broke out at night. The first Schout was a man named Johann Lampo.

 

The Rattle Watch was a group of colonists during the Dutch era (1609 - 1664) who patrolled from sunset until dawn. They carried weapons, lanterns and wooden rattles (that are similar to the ratchet noisemakers used during New Year celebrations). The rattles made a very loud, distinctive sound and were used to warn farmers and colonists of threatening situations. Upon hearing this sound, the colonists would rally to defend themselves or form bucket-brigades to put out fires. The rattles were used because whistles had not yet been invented. The Rattle Watchmen also are believed to have carried lanterns that had green glass inserts. This was to help identify them while they were on patrol at night (as there were no streetlights at that time). When they returned to their Watch House from patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show that the Watchman was present in the Watch House. Today, green lights are still hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the "Watch" is present and vigilant.

 

When the High Constable of New York City, Jacob Hays retired from service in 1844, permission was granted by the Governor of the state to the Mayor of the City to create a Police Department. A force of approximately 800 men under the first Chief of Police, George W. Matsell, began to patrol the City in July of 1845. They wore badges that had an eight-pointed star (representing the first 8 paid members of the old Watch during Dutch times). The badges had the seal of the City in their center and were made of stamped copper.

 

Source:

nycpolicemuseum.org

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