Cops Of The Week

by Paul Bass | May 17, 2007 4:30 PM | | Comments (7)

Haddad%20Rodriguez.jpgWhen a slasher had Dwight on edge, two longtime partners in crime-fighting — cops who sometimes sound like a married couple — tracked him down.

The neighborhood didn’t know who the man was who slashed the face and throat of a man who was helping a woman home with her groceries one afternoon a few weeks ago. But many neighbors do know the two beat cops on the case: Jon Haddad and Daniela Rodriguez (pictured). They have patrolled the neighborhood as partners for 15 years, developing a sixth-sense style of backing each other up and taking care of business.

The slashing took place around noon on April 26. A man was helping an older woman carry four bags of groceries home from Shaw’s. A man unknown to them, yelling to himself, walked up to them, pulled a ski mask over his face, and drew a knife. He slashed the bag-carrier from his ear down to his throat. Then he fled.

Officer Rodriguez happened to be in the neighborhood on a different mission, looking for a shoplifter who took three cartons of cigarettes from Rite-Aid. She came across the slashing victim at Howe and Edgewood, holding his neck, covered with blood. She asked him: Do you want to go straight to the hospital? Or do you want to try to go looking for the guy? The victim and the woman came into Rodriguez’s cruiser. They wanted to find the guy.

They drove through the area. No sign of the slasher. Outside Cosi’s at Elm and Howe they met up with medics who treated the victim, then took him to St. Raphael’s. Fortunately he wasn’t gravely hurt. The damage to the public was serious.

“If he didn’t duck, he would have had his cartoid artery cut,” Haddad said. “It was so random. Here was a guy helping a woman with her groceries, and he gets his throat slashed.”

The victim hadn’t seen the slasher’s face through the ski mask. But the ski mask — and the description of the slasher yelling to himself in the street — would prove a helpful clue the next day, when Haddad was parked outside Celentano funeral home on Dwight Street, filling out reports. He noticed a man walking down the middle of street, oblivious to traffic, talking to himself. “It wasn’t Sherlock Holmes to figure out he needed to be stopped.”

“Do you have any weapons on you?” Haddad asked.

“I have a knife,” the man said. He started reaching for it.

“No,” Haddad interjected. “I’ll get it.”

The man, 30, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and carrying a dangerous weapon; and later released.

Meanwhile detectives looking into the case obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection with the slashing.

The man is homeless, but a tip enabled Haddad and Rodriguez to track him down in the neighborhood.

“We grabbed him on May 3…”

“… or the 10th?”

“We got the warrant on the 26th…”

“Don’t we sound like a married couple?”

It was the 11th. The man was charged with 2nd degree assault.

Badge 63
Haddad%2063.jpgYes, Rodriguez and Haddad do at times sound like a married couple — not just disagreeing about dates, but finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences.

After 15 years patrolling Dwight-Kensington together, she said, “We’re like best friends.”

“When your best friend is someone you work with, the time flies.”

“We trust each other with our lives.”

Haddad called June 3, 1998, the best day of the 15-year partnership. He was at Yankee Stadium when he learned that Rodriguez and her husband were parents of a newborn boy. Rodriguez asked Haddad to be the son’s godfather. “He was born on June third — and my badge is 63,” he said, pointing to the evidence.

Unlike most cops who arrive at a routine car accident, Haddad and Rodriguez don’t need to figure out who handles which chores. After countless accident scenes, they have the routine worked out: The first on the scene takes care of the diagram and the general investigation. The other handles the dispatcher and the paperwork: the tow slip, the ticket, the insurance and registration info.

Haddad%20Rodriguez%202.jpgThat unspoken communication comes in handiest at tense moments on the street. “When we’re in dangerous situations, I don’t need to look for her. I know she’s right there,” he said.

The low point of working with the same partner for a decade and a half?

“When one has a day off,” she said, “and he isn’t around.”

(To read other installments in the Independent’s “Cop of the Week” series, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

(To suggest an officer to be featured, click here.)







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Comments

Posted by: charlie | May 17, 2007 5:04 PM

These guys should be paid more. I hope the city is doing what it can to retain them. How about a 20% across the board pay cut and minimum 10% reduction in per-department spending (except teachers and the parks department) and a 20% raise for the police force?

Posted by: KAMB | May 17, 2007 8:19 PM

Those two cops are great people. And Charlie, you're right.

Posted by: Biagio [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 18, 2007 9:04 AM

I've met John at a local park with his dog, Chief. He's a great guy and deserves all the kudu's he can get.

Posted by: Kim | May 18, 2007 7:59 PM

Congrats Jon and Daniela! KK and Abby miss you and Cheif! :-)

Posted by: Cody | May 19, 2007 8:25 AM

Congratulations Jon and Danniela .......The Dynamic Duo !!!!! we love you guys.... you do a great job!!! Nice shades Jon !!!

Posted by: Big Joe P | May 19, 2007 8:57 AM

Having worked with Jon and Daniela in the past, it does not surprise that they have been recognized as "Top Cops." They are two outstanding professionals who bring great credit to the uniform. May they continue to serve the community and remain safe, God Speed to you both.

Posted by: joe | May 19, 2007 3:49 PM

I've known John my whole life, and I'd trust him with my life, without hesitation. Don't see him much anymore, but when we do talk, its just like it was 30 years ago. Take Care Cous.

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