New to the Beat: Officer Flood starts a new chapter in a career of law
Published 10:39 am, Wednesday, April 19, 2017
DARIEN — Some people are just drawn to certain careers.
“It’s just something I always wanted to as a kid,” said Flood, 44, who retired from the Eastchester, NY police force in 2016. “I can’t explain it. Callings are for priests, but it’s something I can’t explain. I was drawn to it.”
After graduating Eastchester High School in 1990, Flood began testing for different police departments. After a semester at Pace University, he got hired by the New York City Department of Corrections and got assigned to work on Rikers Island, home at the time, to 14 different correctional facilities.
Despite landing on his dream career path, Flood quickly found working on Rikers Island was not for him. He was commuting from Westchester to Queens to work 16 hour days. His travel time also included trying to drive across the traffic-clogged bridge to the island, parking in a massive lot and walking a quarter mile to the bus that would take him to his facility.
“It was a lot of time,” he said. “A lot of wasted time I could afford when I was that age, but not with a family.”
Working as a correctional officer meant Flood was also missing out on a lot of the community police work he craved.
“It was difficult,” he said. “I was figuring out what I wanted to do. I learned a lot about working with people. You’re dealing with people at their worst and I learned to communicate with many different people on many different levels.”
In 1996, Flood left Rikers Island to join the New York Police Department where he worked in the Bronx.
“I had a lot of fun there and it was gratifying and more of what I wanted to do,” he said.
However, after a year in the Bronx, Flood had an opportunity to work for the Eastchester Police Department where he’d tested before joining NYPD. Having been born and raised in Eastchester, Flood decided to go back to his roots.
“I decided I’d be attracted to suburban style policing,” he said. “There’s community involvement everywhere, but it was my own community.”
Flood spent 20 years in Eastchester, a suburb about 45 minutes outside Manhattan that’s only five square miles. There, Flood rose to the rank of sergeant and worked in patrol, emergency response, and traffic. He also got the community interaction he wanted, dealing with property crimes as opposed to the robberies and drug deals he combated in the Bronx.
“In New York City, you barely have time to make any difference,” he said. “You’re running calls all day. Those guys make a difference and that’s the front lines, but I got a better opportunity.”
That’s not to say Flood didn’t see his fair share of excitement in Eastchester. He recalls, in particular, a time where he saw a suspicious man sitting in a park. When he asked the man if he needed help, the man asked Flood to arrest him. The man then revealed he’d cut his wrists and had also cut up his wife and left her for dead in their apartment in the Bronx. A call to NYPD proved there's been an assault call from that address and Flood assisted in getting the man treatment and turning him over to NYPD.
After retiring from Eastchester last July, Flood wanted to continue his law enforcement career and began to look at departments in Connecticut, where he, his wife and five-year-old son have been looking to move to from New York. He was drawn to Darien for the fine reputation the department has, he said.
“I really enjoy being a cop,” he said. “And Darien is the best run agency I’ve worked for.”