Skip to main content

Book Excerpt: Cop on the Beat

Cop on the Beat: Officer Steven Mayfield in New York City

Written and Photographed by Arlene Schulman
Published by Dutton

His shoes are flawlessly shined, his shirt is precisely ironed and neatly tucked in, his shield gleams, and the creases in his dark blue pants stand so razor sharp they look dangerous. His paces from a cautious walk to a brisk run, through sheets of rain, mounds of snow, and the glare of a hot sun. His hat, its brim neatly dusted, usually conceals the top half of his eyes, making him a bit mysterious. His six-foot-three, 235 pound frames imposes but doesn't threaten. At night, he moves quietly among the dark shadows of trees and buildings, stepping out into the soft light of street lamps and disappearing back into the darkness. He moves so stealthily that local residents have dubbed him "the Shadow." But at the moment, something suspicious has caught the eye of New York City police officer Steven Mayfield, and he freezes.

Officer Mayfield is trained to react to emergencies, and now, his first day back at work after two days off, his instincts warn him to take action. He can handle this alone, but he cannot continue his patrol until this mall but offensive situation is quickly dealt with.

Mayfield picks a piece of lint off his dark blue uniform shirt. "Damn!" he groans. "Where did this come from?" He runs his hands over his shirt to be certain that the lint hasn't multiplied, and satisfied that he is spotless again, he continues his walking patrol of his beat.

It's the third hour of his tour, which began at four this Tuesday afternoon. He will finish just after midnight. Officer Mayfield is a beat cop. Though he sometimes patrols in a car with a partner, he usually works alone, walking or cycling the streets of the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood. Mayfield carries a gun, a badge, a police radio, a flashlight, a nightstick, and handcuffs. They represent law and order in their small piece of New York City.


Popular posts from this blog

Women's History Month: What You Should Know

What You Should Know includes a diaspora of women, many from Inwood and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, and showcases the diversity and strength of women in our New York City. These women are Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Cuban, Spanish, Korean, South Asian, Irish, African-American, White, Jewish, Episcopalian, Christian, and Muslim. They are breast cancer survivors, teenagers, and women with disabilities. They are straight, gay, transgender, and bisexual. They are mothers and daughters, grandmothers, sisters, women who work and women who work together. And when you go against them. . .

A Tribute to Frank Hess 1941 - 2018

I share with deep sadness the news that Frank Hess, longtime Special Assistant to recently retired Assemblyman Denny Farrell, passed away on February 20, 2018. A longtime resident of Washington Heights and an astute observer of the political scene around the state, Frank could always be found wearing a jaunty hat and with cigarette in hand. Like Community Board 12 members Obie Bing and Pamela Palanque North who served on a number of boards and former Assemblyman Brian Murtaugh, another piece of uptown’s history and heart is gone. He touched so many. And to some, he was like family. ** It’s been said that the real measure of a man is how he treats people, where he stands in moments of controversy, and how he handles power. But - let’s get real. The true measure of a man is in his matzoh ball soup - and Frank made a GREAT matzoh ball soup.

He handed down a recipe that called for about a hundred matzoh balls because his mother cooked for so many. Matzoh balls were planted all over my ap…

My Year (or so) with the New York Yankees

...At the old Yankee Stadium, the press box rose high up above home plate and over to the left side and consisted of a few rows of countertops, outlets and chairs, with broadcast booths, and a smaller press box where I sat with the men of the Black and Hispanic press and TV and radio reporters. The Yankees official box sat off to the left, and Eddie Layton’s Hammond organ called outCharge!from the far right. This was the generation of technology that followed the electric typewriter and before cell phones, email, texting and the Internet. The state-of-the-art computer at the time was a heavy black Radio Shack laptop with a tiny screen of four or five lines. One older sportswriter still used a typewriter, and the clickety-clack of the keys made me think of the movie,The Front Page.

Most of the older men—and almost everyone was older then me—wore plaid short-sleeved shirts under tweed sport jackets, even during the warmer weather. They reminded me of Oscar Madison. At least these men had…