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Michael Codella p5

Michael Codella talks about PTSD, and some feedback from Alphabet City, for his book Alphaville, 1988, cowritten with Bruce Bennett…


READERSVOICE.COM: Do you find that post traumatic stress is a big problem in retired police officers you’ve met, and would you recommend they do something like Brazilian juijitsu to cope with PTSD?

MICHAEL CODELLA: I believe PTSD is an issue that needs to be addressed both with retired police officers and active cops.  People handle stress in different ways, and sometimes issues that occur on the job can create problems both at work and at home. 

I’ve seen a lot of guys suffer in silence with PTSD, especially after the 9/11 terrorists attack.  See, when civilians have troubles they call the cops; when cops have troubles they usually don’t call anyone. 

The truth is, when was the last time you saw a bad guy kill themselves? Probably never. Cops however have a very high suicide rate.  Cops see a lot of terrible stuff. Keeping our feelings hidden is what we do best. 

Cops need a release, and whether that means talking to someone, or training JiuJitsu or some other kind of discipline, may or may not be the answer, but it can definitely help.

RV: After you wrote your book Alphaville, 1988, did people contact you with additional info about cases or people?

MC: After by book was published, I did a few book signings around New York, and often there were people from the Lower East Side who attended the signings.  Once in a while they’d approach me because they remembered me from the days when I worked Alphabet City, and they’d come over to me in confidence and give me information on something going on in the neighborhood. 

I’ve also received a few emails regarding old cases, and I’d pass the information along to the appropriate detectives. The thing is, I knew everyone when I worked Alphabet City. My partner and I spoke to everyone and everyone spoke to us. Even the worst of the worst would confide in us when there was something big going down, and we never betrayed a confidence. Neighborhood people remember that to this day.

I still get recognized by the “old school guys” whenever I go anywhere near Alphabet City. People may forget what I did, but they don’t forget how I made them feel, and I made them feel safe.

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