When it comes to serving the communities of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton, few do it better than 68th Precinct Police Officer Susan Porcello.
The 18-year veteran of the force is motivated by the opportunity to help people in need, as well as the ability to do something different every day.
“Some of the most rewarding aspects of being a police officer are helping people that are in need and helping the cops that work with me,” said Porcello, who grew up on the Lower East Side. “I am also a delegate at the precinct, so whenever they have a conflict or a problem, whether it be at work or at home, or just something in general, it is nice to know that they can come to me for help.”
Besides a brief stint in the 67th and 69th Precincts, Porcello has spent the majority of her career interacting with the diverse community that exists within the confines of the 68th Precinct. Since 2014, Porcello has led the precinct’s Law Enforcement Explorer Program, helping young people (Explorers) to learn more about law enforcement and careers in the law enforcement field.
But, her connections span the generations. In July of 2008, Porcello made headlines when she befriended WWII Marine veteran Gaspar Musso.
“He [Musso] had called his doctor because he had mixed his medication and was concerned the mix might be toxic, so the doctor in turn called 911,” recalled Porcello of responding to Musso’s home on Marine Avenue. “When we got there, he said he had no friends. We took him to the hospital and I became his friend, visiting him and taking care of him at the nursing home.”
Porcello later became Musso’s health proxy, eventually paying for his funeral and seeing to it that he was buried beside his mother in Resurrection Cemetery in Staten Island when he died later that same year.
As for her advice for new recruits, Porcello advises that “this a job where you need thick skin, because you see a lot of horrific stuff, as well as a lot of good things. I have been very blessed to have experienced a lot of good things on this job.
“You treat everybody like they were your family member,” she added, “as if that was your mother and father standing in front of you or if that was your brother and sister; you have to treat everybody as if they were your family member.”
Porcello credits the 68th Precinct with many memorable experiences, such as being able to walk up the Verrazano Bridge as part of a memorial service, but also enjoys the closeness of her community and colleagues.
“There is a huge mix of people here who really like you, and they are genuine,” she said. “I basically grew my career with the 68th Precinct. I started here and it is probably going to end here, I can’t say that I would want to be anywhere else.”