Fellow Officer on Auxiliary Police Deaths
LUKE BURBANK, host:
First though, to New York, where four people are dead after a shootout last night on the streets of Manhattan's West Village. It was an unusually warm spring evening when a man inexplicably opened fire in a pizza parlor. He ended up out on the street, being followed by two auxiliary police officers. These are sort of police volunteers. They're unarmed. The man turned and killed both of those auxiliary officers before armed police ended up shooting him dead. One of those killed was 19-year-old Eugene Marshalik.
We're joined now by his friend and a fellow auxiliary officer, Glenn Sabas. Glenn, thanks for talking to us.
Mr. GLENN SABAS (NYPD Auxiliary Police): Yeah, no problem.
BURBANK: This is obviously a really difficult time for you and for all the other auxiliary officers, particularly those who knew these two guys. Can you tell us anything about your friend, Eugene? What do you remember about him?
Mr. SABAS: Oh, man. Well, I think about him, I really have nothing bad to say. We were really different from each other. That's one of the great things about him, is that we really have nothing in common. And we kind of talked about this a couple of times, is that, like, you would really think the minute we become friends - or at least good friends as we did. But he's just, you know, a very, very welcoming person, and I think it's just his personality.
ADAMS: You guys met through this auxiliary officer program...
Mr. SABAS: Yeah.
ADAMS: ...and you sort of became friends after that. Can you tell me a little bit about what it means to be an auxiliary officer? What exactly do you guys do?
Mr. SABAS: Basically, we do - we are uniformed. We do wear the same uniform. The only real difference is that our patches say auxiliary, and that our shields are shaped differently. You know, at nighttime, you would really have to look closely in order to see the difference. I mean, aside from the fact that, you know, we don't have guns on our belts.
We do foot posts, you know, patrols, R&P patrols - those are patrols in the police car. We add like, you know, extra sets of eyes and ears out there on the field. We are equipped with radios so that when we see something going down, we radio it in so that the regular police officers will come and deal with the situation.
ADAMS: Well, as the eyes and ears, these two fellows last night - one of them being your friend, Eugene - they were sort of doing what they were supposed to do, I guess. Is this what they're trained to do?
Mr. SABAS: That's one of the things that, you know, we can do is that, you know, we can keep a safe distance and follow, you know, someone who we think is a perpetrator, just, you know, to keep the regulars updated on where this guy is headed.
ADAMS: It sounds like that's what's happening last night.
Mr. SABAS: Yeah, I think that's what they did. Like if that's what actually happened, I think that's what they were doing.
ADAMS: Now, you guys don't get paid to do this, and it sounds like at times it obviously can be pretty dangerous. What's the attraction?
Mr. SABAS: I mean, I know that I did it because I plan on, you know, making a career out of law enforcement. And I thought it would be a great way to actually like - well, one, to learn if I really want to do this.
ADAMS: Do you wish that you guys were able to carry guns?
Mr. SABAS: To tell you the truth, I really don't, because it does add an extra, you know, it adds more responsibility. And it also, it just makes the job, I think, more dangerous. And also, like, you know, the auxiliary program does not have, you know, as extensive a background check, or, you know, testing as the regular force does. I don't think everyone that is allowed to get into the auxiliary program can handle a responsibility of handling a firearm.
ADAMS: I mean, though, having seen this terrible end, though, for two guys that are in the program - one of which you were friends with -having seen that, do you feel more exposed now when you go out next Thursday and you walk your route, are you - do you think you're going to feel more in peril?
Mr. SABAS: I don't really think about that, because I know what I signed up to do. And I know that I - I mean, long after, you know, I stopped being auxiliary, I know I will be a, you know, a regular cop or something else in law enforcement. So I try not to think about that, I guess, until I'm all alone.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SABAS: But, I mean, at least now I know, you know, I got an extra guy up there watching me.
ADAMS: Auxiliary police officer Glenn Sabas of New York City, talking about his friend, Eugene Marshalik, who was killed last night while on patrol. Glenn, thank you very much for talking to us and...
Mr. SABAS: You're very welcome.
ADAMS: We'll be thinking about you.