Retiring NYPD Chief Of Detectives Bob Boyce With 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa.

Juliet Papa/1010 WINS

End Of An Era: NYPD’s Bob Boyce Reflects On Decades Of Fighting Crime In Gotham

April 16, 2018 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- It’s the end of a journey for NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce. He’s accomplished plenty, but now he’s ready to turn it all over.

“When the end is near, and it certainly is for me,” he said, “You pretty much think of all the things, and what you’ve done, and how you’ve got here.”

Boyce spent time working in the 75th Precinct where the motto was once, ‘You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you a homicide.’

“You’d catch a case, you wouldn’t come home for two days. You were lucky if you had time to shave and shower in between the hours that passed. So that’s just the way it was there,” he said, “This violence was so endemic back then, you had to address it.”

If it sounds tough, even for a seasoned NYPD vet, it was.

“You lost parts of your life, it was a big commitment. I tell everybody, this was not an easy life, but it was a great life,” he said.

Boyce says reflecting on his career is impossible without reflecting on the city’s history. He recalled coming up during the crack epidemic of the 1980s, and his work in the narcotics division. But it’s an event from the city’s not too distant past that stands out the most.

“I think about 9/11, going through that. We don’t talk about, enough about that anymore,” he said, “Working straight, no days off, 12 hours a day for several months after that, in the aftermath of that. Going down to 9/11, doing your part, going on the pile, protecting the crime scene, all those things you did.”

What Boyce really loved to do was conduct investigations. He spent four years ‘going after gangs hard.’ Extra - Full Interview 

“Take a look at what happened after the end of 2015, I believe. We saw that the number one motive for shooting in this city was gangs. We had a big problem, pretty much fueled by the internet, by social media,” he said.

Gangs were using social networking platforms to target each other and go after turf – as criminals innovated, so did detectives.

“What we did was develop specialized units, and not only that but we incorporated our federal partners, lots of them,” Boyce said, “We developed specialized squads just to work with those prosecutors to go after gangs.”

The aggressive counter-gang tactics paid off; taking the city from 5,000 shootings a year to under 800. The crack issue sent the murder rate soaring to over 2,200 in the early 90s – that number was down to 293 in 2017.

Boyce took great pride in solving the infamous Prospect Park rape case – one that gave the NYPD a black eye in 1994, when investigators doubted the woman’s claims, and some described her account as a hoax. New DNA tests were able to separate samples, leading to the arrest of a serial rapist already serving time.

“That young lady, when we knocked on her door she immediately began crying, and she knew, she said, ‘I knew it was going to be solved,” Boyce said.

He credited the #MeToo movement with creating solidarity among sex assault victims.

“They come forward, they support each other, and it’s great,” he said.

While high-profile sex assault cases like Karina Vetrano and Harvey Weinstein stick out in Boyce’s mind. He says the department is making a concentrated effort to get more survivors to come forward, and to combat sex assaults all the way down to misdemeanors.

“People should be allowed to move around the subways without fear of being taunted or harassed. If you touch someone that’s against the law, it’s a misdemeanor,” he said.

Boyce is proud of record low crime stats, shootings, and homicides, but he’ll also look back fondly on another career watershed moment -- blowing the whistle to start the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“You really wanted to make an exclamation point when you leave,” he said.

Boyce says new technology has, and will continue to help the NYPD, but none of it will be possible without hard core police work. Now, it’s up to the next guy to carry the torch.