For 68th Precinct Police Officer Yaser Shohatee, becoming a part of the New York Police Department was something destined to be from childhood.
The 11-year veteran of New York’s Finest grew up on 73rd Street in Bay Ridge, within the confines of the 68th, and recalls witnessing two police officers respond to a car accident at 72nd Street and Third Avenue.
“It was a really bad accident and people were hurt, and the two cops helped the people in the accident and rendered first aid until the ambulance arrived, “ said Shohatee. “As a six-year-old, it amazed me.”
Coincidentally, after he became an officer himself and worked a stint at the 70th Precinct, Shohatee was transferred to the 68th. He is also a combat veteran, having left the 68th for a little over a year beginning in late 2007 to serve with the United States Army in Iraq.
In 2012, Shohatee became the coordinator of the 68th’s Auxiliary Police program, a task that Shohatee called “the best part of my career” and a “rewarding position within itself.” The program is a reserve police force of volunteers who assist NYPD officers with patrols, traffic control, crowd control at major events and other tasks.
“A lot of people do not realize these people are volunteers,” added Shohatee. “We [police officers] cannot be there all the time, so when they [auxiliary members] are out there, they are a great asset to us because they are our eyes and ears.”
As coordinator of the program, Shohatee handles training, assignments, expectations of auxiliary members, uniforms and scheduling, while also acting as an advisor, counselor and friend to those who might need it.
“For what they do, and the way they put themselves out there in that uniform, I have to give them credit,” he added.
As someone who has been in uniform for a large portion of his life, Shohatee is clear on what makes wearing an NYPD uniform so special.
“To know you helped someone is memorable to me,” said Shohatee. “This is one of the greatest jobs in the world. I love it and I would not trade it for anything. You have your good days and your bad days, but with this job, 90 percent of it is good days.”