NEW YORK -- NYPD veteran Edward Conlon explains his edge over the average inquisitor when chatting up cops for the department’s new podcasts.
“When they couldn’t figure out if I was a reporter or not," he says with a laugh, “having a shield and a gun put them a little bit at ease."
Welcome to “Break in the Case,” the official department podcast that debuted in late October with a look at one of the NYPD’s most chilling and memorable cases: A five-part series on “Baby Hope.” The murdered 4-year-old child was found stuffed inside an Igloo cooler in a wooded stretch off the Henry Hudson Parkway back in 1991, a case that would take 22 years to close.
The widely-covered story, rather than recounted by a journalist, is told directly by the investigators who never gave up on the long-cold case — including Detective Joe Neenan and then-NYPD Lt. Joseph Reznick. The insider’s view is a key part of the podcast’s cachet.
“We’re taking you inside the investigations,” announces Detective Carrie Reilly at the start of episode one. “You’ll learn how the job gets done in the words of the men and women of the NYPD.”
Two more tales lie ahead in season one: The first focuses on an obscure case, the 2015 discovery of a dismembered and still-unidentified Brooklyn corpse, while the other spins the tale of Larry Davis — a violent Bronx criminal acquitted after shooting a half-dozen police officers back in 1986.
“We had a list of 20 cases that we whittled down to these three,” explained executive producer Jill Baurle. “We didn’t want to tell a story for the sake of telling a story. We wanted something relevant today in the retelling.”
The podcast debuted Oct. 29, and has already notched 55,000 downloads. Conlon is teamed with Bauerle and Kenzie Delaine, a producer and writer, in putting the pieces together.
Bauerle wrote the tale of Monique, whose dismembered hand was found on the rocks along the shoreline of Brooklyn’s Calvert Vaux Park by a bird-watcher on Jan. 4, 2015. A foot, a rib cage and other body parts were later recovered, with a tattoo of a red heart, a rose and the name “Monique” providing the lone clues to her identity.
The case remains unsolved.
And Delaine took a deep dive in the world of the notorious Davis, a a crack-era criminal so bad that he was once rumored to have cooked and eaten a chihuahua. He was convicted of a 1991 Bronx drug murder, and later stabbed to death in prison while serving 25-years-to-life.
Conlon’s involvement is bit of a happy accident. The son of a cop, he retired in 2011 after 16 years on the job where he earned a detective’s badge and published the best-selling memoir “Blue Blood.”
He spent the next seven years as a civilian, finishing his novel “The Policewomen’s Bureau,” before rejoining the NYPD last year in a newly-created position inside the police commissioner’s office.
He believes the podcast offers the average New Yorker a new perspective on the city’s 38,000 cops.
“The fact is that there’s a million crime stories," said Conlon. "But these are the only ones I know of told from the inside and produced by the NYPD. That’s a nice change for us.”
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