El Diario La Prensa and Home Reporter News published two different stories about the same topic — members of the NYPD who are immigrants and breaking new ground. Fausto Pichardo is doing so in Washington Heights and Ayat Masoud in Brooklyn.
El Diario reports that Fausto Pichardo is the first Dominican to lead the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights. The youngest of four brothers who grew up in a matriarchal household in the Lower East Side, Pichardo came to Washington Heights after working in Central Harlem and East Harlem. The family moved to New York when he was just three months old.
Pichardo is the first in his family to become a professional. He witnessed crime in his Loisaida neighborhood at an early age including two drug points in the building he lived in. Pichardo has seen the changing diversity of the NYPD. His 1999 police academy class had three Dominicans and several African Americans and Asians. He is a strong believer in police-community partnership to fight crime.
“Crime in this neighborhood has dropped close to five percent in the last year, but we have had an increase in apartment burglaries,” the captain told El Diario.
Masoud, whose family is from Jerusalem, cites two reasons for joining the NYPD — her desire to wear a uniform and her wish to meet new people to “expand her horizons.” Masoud’s life in uniform and hijab has brought her mixed experiences. She recalls how the NYPD photographer asked her to remove her headscarf when she had to be photographed for an NYPD identification card.
“I asked if it was necessary and he said that since he had never been in these circumstances, I could keep it on,” Masoud recalled. “I definitely turn a lot of heads, but where I expected criticism, I got positive feedback. They look at me, but it’s more like, ‘I want to inquire about you’ not in a racist way.