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The Soul of a Cop is the story of Paul Ragonese's 17 years with the New York Police Department.  He tells the reader about life on NYPD; in various assignments such as foot patrol, bomb squad, anti-terrorism and the anti-crime unit.  One highlight of Paul Ragonese’s career is the medal for valor that he received for helping a woman who was pinned under a crane.

Kirkus Reviews said of The Soul of a Cop, “By 1987, when Ragonese retired from the NYPD after 17 years of service, he'd won over 100 awards, making him the city's most- decorated cop. He won't win another for writing--even with the help of old-hand Stainback (Snake, 1986, etc.)--but his no-frills memoir does deliver plenty of action and a few sharp opinions. What Ragonese doesn't deliver on is the promise of the title. The soul of this cop is plumbed only uniform-deep (a typical reflective passage: ``Like most cops, I've gotten a bang out of arresting bad guys, but it would be nothing like I knew I'd feel rescuing good guys''). What we get instead is a fast-moving stream of the author's exploits, beginning with his most celebrated, keeping alive a woman trapped beneath a toppled construction crane in 1985. A flashback to his working-class Brooklyn boyhood follows, then a tracing of a glittering career in three divisions of the NYPD: an anticrime unit, where Ragonese caught bank robbers, shot a felon, and bucked for a detective's gold shield; EMS, where he grappled with ``jumpers,'' shot a crippled horse, helped a man crushed by a subway train to die with dignity, and finally got his gold shield; and the bomb squad, where he made two discoveries ``I've never been able to reveal publicly until now''--that, at Staten Island's infamous Willowbrook mental institution, he found (and was forced to cover up) a ``chamber of horrors'' strewn with body parts, and that he witnessed the NYPD using its Bronx firing range as a toxic-waste dump. The criticism of the NYPD implicit in both revelations is shadowed throughout, from bald accusations (``The NYPD has always denied that cops have to meet a quota of traffic summonses. That's a lie'') to gripes about office politics and potshots at fellow (pseudonymous) officers, adding spice to an otherwise straightforward chronicle. Meat and potatoes for hard-core cop fans.”

One reader of The Soul of a Cop said, “If you ever wondered what it would be like to be in law enforcement this is the book for you. This is the autobiography of Paul Ragonese one of the most decorated cops in America. As a New York City Police officer, and later detective, he won the medal of valor five times and in 1986 was nominated "Cop of the Year". You may remember him as the host of the television show "Crimestoppers". This books show you the highs an lows of being a police officer in the big apple. Once you start reading you will not want to put the book down. When I finished it I wanted even more.”

The Soul of a Cop
Paul Ragonese  More Info

From the History of the New York City Police Department 

It is with a sigh of profound relief that one turns to consider the nocturnal habits of "The Finest" after reading the following account of the proceedings of the Watch in bygone days: "At the ringing of the bell of the Fort"--it seems as if out forefathers could not nothing without ringing a bell--"at nine o'clock, a Sergeant-Major, with his halberd, proceeded, following by the Watch, to each of the city gates, which he locked for the night. He then stationed each man at his particular post, and to secure the vigilant discharge of his duty, each Watchman was required to go, once every hour, through that part of the city which was allotted to him, and with a bell to proclaim the time of the night and the state of the weather--a regulation which, no doubt, secured a vigilant discharge of the Watchmen's duty. But it must have been disturbing to all but sound sleepers to have had their slumbers broken at regular intervals by the loud ringing of a bell, and a hoarse voice announcing such information as, "Past two o'clock, and a dark and cloudy morning."

The English Watchmen, in no essential particular, differed from his Dutch predecessor. Both went about performing their duties in the most lugubrious fashion--carrying their bells, hour-glasses, lantern and staffs--like some protean character of the stage who is equipped to represent Diogenes, the man with the Scythe, a grave digger and a dustman. The old jail was built in 1758 on what was then known as "the fields," the City Hall Park of the present day. it was a small stone building, nearly square, three stories in height, having its main entrance on the south side. The old Jail continued to e the prison of the city until 1775, when the new Bridewell was erected, and on the occupation of the city by the British they were both turned into military prisons. The Jail was then known as the "Prevost," or "Prevo," and became famous under the control of Captain William Cunningham, Provost Marshall, who, by the appointment of General Gage, was at the head of the police of the city.

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