Sgt. Tchakirides Grants A Divorce

by Paul Bass | October 19, 2007 12:43 PM | | Comments (7)

Italian%20and%20Puerto%20Rican%20Frank.jpg martinvertical.jpgIt was a rough day on the Green for “Italian Frank” and “Puerto Rican Frank.” It could have been a lot rougher if not for Sgt. Martin Tchakirides, a cop who wears his heart right by his badge.

Frank and Frank were drinking on Thursday. They drink a lot of days. They were hanging out on the Green. They hang out there a lot — enough that the cops who patrol downtown know them by their first names, and their ethnic nicknames.

A call came in Thursday afternoon from a man who said that Frank (Italian Frank) had threatened to shoot him.

Cops raced to the scene, tearing through rush-hour traffic and driving onto the curb to the benches lining the Green’s southwest arteries. They popped out of their cars — to find the two Franks, kind of out of it.

They questioned and patted down both Franks, and handcuffed Italian Frank. The Franks weren’t happy about the situation. Neither were the cops. But no one was causing any more trouble. “You’re not under arrest, sir,” one officer, E.J. Carter, told Italian Frank. Frank would just have to remain on the scene until the complainant came to “have a look at you.” Click on the play arrow to watch.

Sgt. Tchakirides arrived on the scene, sized up the situation. Click on the play arrow to watch. Tchakirides, a 13-year veteran of the New Haven force, supervises the combined Downtown/Wooster Square district.

Tchakirides ordered the handcuffs off Italian Frank, who, despite the unseasonably warm temperature, was wearing a sweatshirt under a jacket with “Bucky” emblazoned on it. Tchakirides knows the Franks, and he knows Brian, the man who called in the complaint. You can’t patrol downtown without knowing them, and figuring out how to deal with everyday complaints that may sound dramatic on the police radio, but usually turn out to require just a firm yet gentle hand. In community policing, Tchakirides-style, that means settling a dispute on the spot without bringing bondsmen or judges or lawyers or court clerks into it.

Tchakirides stepped to the side, away from the Franks. Italian Frank just got out of detox yesterday, he said. Tchakirides gave him the “Bucky” jacket to keep warm.

“They’re all friends,” Tchakirides said. “They’re all drinking buddies. This guy [Italian Frank] is harmless. He doesn’t have the means to get a jacket, let alone a gun. There’s not going to be an arrest here. There is not threat. It doesn’t hold water.”

“Listen you’re not going to jail,” Tchakirides told Italian Frank. “Look at me. Look at me! Who gave you the jacket, buddy?”

Brian arrived. There was some mumbling all around; the Franks asked Brian why he had to call the cops.

“See? An hour later, it’s like this,” Tchakirides said with a shrug. No, no arrest today. But a judicial ruling just the same. Click on the play arrow to watch. “You know something? You guys need a little punishment. A little separation, you know? A little divorce for a while?” Tchakirides said. “You guys stay away from each other for a little bit.”

(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, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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

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Posted by: erocker | October 20, 2007 8:15 PM

Can I drink on the green too without getting arrested? I had no idea.

Posted by: fairhavener [TypeKey Profile Page] | October 20, 2007 11:19 PM

Are you kidding me? What?

Posted by: blarge | October 20, 2007 11:58 PM

one low key solution hardly establihes "Tchakirides' style" of community policing. Tchakirides style is something it takes a longer sampling/more info to assess.

don't know what would motivate you to call him a cop of the week - must have run out of great cops to name

Posted by: Edward_H | October 21, 2007 9:24 AM

Was Sgt. Tchakirides around during the Ikea "scare"? Maybe that whole debacle would have been avoided if some of this type of common sense had been used.

Posted by: pwessel | October 21, 2007 1:48 PM

BLARGE: I have both heard reports of and witnessed Marty Tchakirides' style of community policing, or as he probably say, good policing. This situation is illustrative of how he manages. He well deserves the cop of the week mantle.

It's nice to see the cops responding quickly and in a manner we'd all like to a reported gun threat. And it's even nicer to see them take control of and defuse the situation, and then wait until someone with a better handle on the details to show up and resolve the matter. In the midst of all the problems at the PD, it's good to be reminded that - on a day to day level - there are good cops and good community policing going on.

Posted by: KAM B | October 22, 2007 9:14 AM

Are you serious? Two drunks hanging out, loitering on the green during the day when sober people are trying to enjoy the green with their kids or whomever. They should be kicked off the green and at least given a ticket for public drunkeness. Instead you would leave these two drunks to bumble and mumble along. I think I'll call in sick today for work and go to the NH green and get hammered.

Posted by: downtowner | October 22, 2007 11:40 AM

Two drunks are in reality two people suffering from the disease of alcoholism, one that leaves its mark with a puffy, red face. Such people are mostly helped by not being enabled by any police person so they will be motivated to get help and get off park benches.

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