Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Culture Shock

Prior to Rocco and Ivan being split up, they went out on a call that came over as possible child neglect. As I'm sure you're aware, this is a least favorite call for most police officers.

As they pulled up to the location, they noted that it was a well-kept building in a tough area. They proceeded to enter the apartment building, climbed up the stairs, and began knocking on the door of the apartment in question. At first, they didn't hear anything. Then they began to hear some noise coming from the other side of the door. They indicate that they are the Police. Suddenly, the door opens up a little more than a crack, and there's an eight year old girl staring back at them.
"Hey, sweetie. We're the Police and we wanted to know if you're okay..." Roc begins his spiel as both he and Ivan are trying to look over the girl's shoulder and into the apartment.
The little girl states that she is fine, and Roc picks up a distinct accent. There are a lot of immigrants from West Africa in Roc's precinct, so he assumes that the child is from that region.
The child continues to hedge as they ask her a few more questions. They are quick to find out that the parents are not home. Eventually, the child lets them in, and they come to find that there are two other children in the apartment, a boy about five, and another little girl who couldn't be more than two.

The kids seem okay. They're clean. The apartment is clean. Roc finds food in the cabinets. The little girl says her Daddy is at work and she has his phone number.

There's basically nothing Roc and Ivan can do; there is no evidence of child neglect on the premises. They begin to walk downstairs and leave the call when Roc stops halfway down and looks at Ivan.
"Something's not right."
Ivan asks him what he wants to do.
"I need to feel good about this," is Rocco's response.

They head back upstairs and ask to be let in again. They get the Dad's phone number from the little girl and then proceed to call the father. He says he is at work, and he's extremely nice on the phone, assuring the officers that the neighbor across the
hall is looking out for his children. He goes on to explain to Rocco that in his country, an eight-year-old is perfectly capable of watching two younger children.

Rooco explains to the father that in New York City, he is supposed to call ACS and have the children taken into custody. That he is calling him as a courtesy, and that he would like to work out something so that they don't have to remove the children.

The man begins to get excited. "No, no, no! I will come right home!"

Rocco and Ivan stay with the kids until the father reaches the apartment. He winds up coming home and thanking them for not taking his children. He explains to them that they are new immigrants, and that both he and his wife must work. He promises to arrange for some better form of babysitting.


  1. Tough call. Society wants it both ways and someone is going to get hurt in the process.

    I feel bad that Roc has to face those decisions. :(

  2. Me too...see "After-Thoughts," and you'll see how I felt.
    :) SCW Stella


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