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©1999 - 2005
Edward D. Reuss
All rights reserved. Including the right of reproduction in whole or part in any form

 

 ASSISTANT CHIEF ANTHONY J. MARRA

 
The photo taken above was in the Staten Island Advance.  The NYPD flag was returned to the NYPD  by the officers and crew of the USS Ramage upon returning from operations in the Mediteranean Sea.
Assistant Chief Anthony J. Marra receives the flag from the Commanding Officer of that ship.

I owe a lot to a guy named Tony Marra.   On a cold January day back in 1985, he and I were among hundreds of lieutenants who trudged into Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn to take the civil service examination for the rank of Captain of Police, NYPD.

Back in those days, promotion exams were few and far between.  You spent a lot of years maturing in the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant before you ever got the opportunity to take a captain’s test.  The fiscal crisis of 1975 had frozen the ranks for a decade.   The delay between exams gave those who prepared the testing of candidates for the rank of captain plenty of time to devise new standards for those examinations. 

We took a two part written examination.  It was the most difficult test I had ever taken.  For that reason, I have a problem with those in law enforcement who whine about those “test takers” who are promoted to the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain of police. Those who succeed in the civil service merit system that was espoused by such people as Theodore Roosevelt are criticized for that success by those who for whatever reason did not move up in the ranks of the NYPD. I had the good fortune to work with cops who should have risen in the ranks, but were not as fortunate as I was to have the opportunity to study and prepare for those civil service tests. That being said, the civil service system is a far better one than the corrupt system of patronage and cronyism that ruled the NYPD in years past.

Cops who lament the civil service system should educate themselves about the political corruption that permeated the NYPD prior to the adoption of the civil service merit system.  Younger cops should Read the book “My Father”s Gun” by Brian McDonald to get a view of how “The Job” was run by Tammany Hall politicians.

I know that had it not been for the civil service system, I could never have risen in the ranks of the NYPD.   I knew a lot of other guys who served on the NYPD without a patron (i.e. “hook”) to help them in their careers. Until they devise a better system, the civil service system is the best and fairest method for promotion to higher rank in the NYPD.

Assistant Chief of Police Anthony J. Marra is an outstanding example of the wisdom of that system. Tony and I had just missed the cut off mark for the written part of the test for captain. There is a lot room for appealing multiple answers on civil service exams.  Those who make up the tests and select the proposed answers are only human.

I knew Tony when he worked in the 122nd Precinct when we were cops.  He served in the detective bureau for a lot of years after that.  When he let it be known that he would be leading a group to appeal the proposed answers on the captain’s exam, I met him in Baron DeKalb K. of C. Hall in Brooklyn. We were not a happy group at that moment in time.  But with the leadership of Tony Marra, we submitted our appeals and succeeded in being promoted to the rank of captain.


 
Photo by NY Cop Online Magazine
Ed Reuss with Asst Chief Marra


There will be a retirement dinner honoring Assistant Chief of Police Anthony J. Marra. I hope that I can get a ticket to that dinner. I know that there will be many who want to pay him tribute for his contributions to the City of New York.  I want to pay him tribute for enriching my life.  Without him, I would not have the pride of saying the I served as a captain of police in the finest police department in the world.

See you at the dinner, Tony!


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