Hi, I’m Tony Russo, and I’ve been a New York City Police Officer for the last 15 years. Being a police officer, I’ve heard just about every stereotype you could imagine about cops and most of them aren’t true. We don’t sit around eating donuts all day, that’s for sure! One stereotype that is true, however, is that we do the whole good cop/bad cop routine. I haven’t done this my whole career, but my partner, Sal, and I started doing this a couple of years back and I tell you what: it really works.
So like I said, the whole thing started a couple of years ago. We were interrogating this guy who was suspected of doing some pretty horrific stuff, the kind of thing I don’t want to put into print. Anyway, I’m giving him the third degree, telling him he’s never gonna see the light of day again, that we’ve already got evidence that’s gonna get him on death row. Meanwhile, Sal’s acting like he’s this guy’s lawyer, saying he’s gonna help get him off with a slap on the wrist, maybe community service. The perp’s just gotta throw us a bone, tell us a little something so that we can get the facts straight and get clearance to release him. Anyway, to cut to the chase, the guy told us everything we needed to know and it was an open and shut case.
This was a big case and it was the first time we tried the whole good cop/bad cop thing, so we decided to go celebrate after work. We went out to McSwiggan’s to have a couple of beers. Sal cut out after that, but I was really feeling it, so a couple turned into a dozen and after work turned into 4AM. Needless to say, I was late to work the next day and while Sal got praised for closing the case the day before, I got chewed out for being late and also for throwing up at work.
This other time, we were at a routine traffic stop; guy just ran a red light. We ran the plates and it turned out the car was stolen. So I’m giving the guy a hard time, telling him that this is a school zone and we are gonna throw the book at him: impound his car, points on his license, the whole nine yards. Meanwhile, Sal is asking him questions about his car like he’s this big gearhead, what kind of engine does it have? What’s the 0-60 time? How long’s he had it? Well, the guy’s story isn’t adding up and he pretty much lets up that the car is hot. Bing bang boom, open and shut case! We cuff the guy and I pocketed all the cash in the wallet when I checked his ID, like I always do. It works, good cop/bad cop!
We’ve been running this routine so much, we are starting to get nicknames. People call Sal good cop and people call me bad cop. My boss even calls us that at our annual reviews! It’s great this thing has taken a life of its own, because it works so well.
Our highest profile case was last year, when we were chasing down the East Side Slasher. We were talking to a suspect on the street, doing our usual thing. Sal was asking him typical good cop questions, where were you on these nights, yadda yadda yadda. Meanwhile, I’m doing my bad cop thing, telling him I know that it was him, that he can’t even talk a lawyer if he wants to, that he’s as good as dead. So anyway, sometime while I’m talking, the guy gets spooked and starts running. We’re chasing him down and it’s just like a movie. We’re going between cars and down alleyways and finally we catch the guy. I grab him by the neck, I draw my gun and start reading him his last rites. I even put a round in his leg to show him I meant business. All the sudden, the guy confesses. Classic good cop/bad cop!
Even at the trial, the judge recognized it, he called Sal the good cop and me the bad cop. And right when he said it I stood up and yelled out, “There’s a guy who gets it!” Come to think of it, I probably don’t even need to tell you this story, we got famous for our routine. They put me on the cover of the Post for being the “Bad Cop”. I bet Sal’s pissed, they didn’t even have his picture in the article. It just goes to show you, it’s a great routine, but it’s way better to be the bad cop than the good cop, because that’s who everybody remembers.