On the Beat With NYPD’s Rookie Class

Photos from Operation Impact, a program that sends untested officers into New York’s most dangerous neighborhoods.


Update: In January, 2014, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said that he plans to no longer send rookie officers immediately into impact zones. “I think they would benefit from it, working with officers in traditional precinct assignments,” he said.

For more than seven years, the first assignment for nearly all rookie New York City police officers has been to patrol “impact zones” with the highest crime rates, often on foot and without backup. The program is credited with decreasing crime but has also been blamed for officer burnout and overly aggressive tactics. Photographer Antonio Bolfo followed a unit of new officers as they learned the ropes in high-rise public housing in the South Bronx. Bolfo, 30, says his project provided some much-needed closure: He’s a former NYPD cop who’d walked the same beat a year earlier.

Officers walk through a snowstorm in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.

Officers walk through a snowstorm in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.
 
A rookie officer makes her way along a narrow ledge between two office buildings. Bolfo explains that officers looking for drug dealers "sneak around the exterior of buildings because they don't want to go in the front door."

A rookie officer makes her way along a narrow ledge between two office buildings. Bolfo explains that officers looking for drug dealers “sneak around the exterior of buildings because they don’t want to go in the front door.”
 
Cop walking down a graffit-covered stairwell

Housing-project stairwells are notoriously dangerous.
 
An officer detains a suspect inside a stairwell.

An officer detains a suspect inside a stairwell.
 
Three officers listen to a colleague ask for urgent assistance over the radio—without a patrol car, they have no way to respond.

Three officers listen to a colleague ask for urgent assistance over the radio—without a patrol car, they have no way to respond.
 
An officer sheds his civilian clothes and gets into uniform.

An officer sheds his civilian clothes and gets into uniform.
 
Officers spend their dinner break on a housing project roof.

Officers spend their dinner break on a housing project roof.
 
A rookie NYPD officer looks out over the Bronx from a rooftop.

A rookie NYPD officer looks out over the Bronx.

 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate