02/28/2006

Ex-NYPD officers remember "the pile"

By ALLYSON BIRD Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
 
Copyright 2006 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.

PORT ST. LUCIE- Their camaraderie comes from rolling through red traffic lights to keep from getting attacked. From changing into their uniforms in a dank basement where the upstairs bathroom leaked waste-water onto the floor. And from being among the few who were at ground zero within hours of the Sept. 11 attacks but, through the smoke and confusion, can't remember exactly where they were. There are four of them, detectives and officers with the Port St. Lucie Police Department, who came to "Florida's safest city" from America's largest city, from a department of 40,000 to a department of 201.

Leo Niemczyk wears dark suits and keeps an immaculate desk where he works on property-crime cases. Rafael Gonzalez dons a cocked ball cap and has two earrings in each ear. He buys drugs and guns as an undercover detective. Brian Kenny patrolled the Brooklyn ghettos and used to play in a heavy metal band with Niemczyk in high school. And David Goldstein is the newest recruit from the NYPD, beginning training in Port St. Lucie last month, working the midnight shift.

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