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Story pick: Caught on tape


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A woman walks by a New York City Police Department vehicle on April 6. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sometimes we chase stories. Sometimes they fall beautifully onto our laptops.

For months, a Brooklyn police officer secretly recorded his fellow officers and superiors, capturing a rare look inside the New York City police department. On the tapes, supervisors talk about everything from arrest quotas to practical jokes, including one that conjures images of high school boys. A sergeant can be heard chastising officers for drawing male genitalia on one another’s notebooks. “Just knock it off, all right?" he says. “You want to draw penises, draw them in your own memo book.”

Taken together, the recordings provide an intimate look into a place that has been for the most part hidden from the media and the public.

The recordings, which were obtained exclusively by the Village Voice, are being released in batches by the publication. Six are up on the website now. The Voice is also publishing stories that set the scene for the recordings, explaining who is talking and translating what is, as the reporter writes, a "mix of quasi-military jargon, street slang, rough epithets, and a fair bit of gallows humor—in other words, cop-speak."

The first story takes us deep into roll call. Enjoy.

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By Theresa Vargas  | May 7, 2010; 8:06 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  | Tags:  Brooklyn, Cops, New York City, New York City Police Department, Police officer, Village Voice  
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