NYPD Officer Tyler Barbour and his partner, Officer Harley Greco, share a place to live, Long Island; a friendship forged over long shifts, and a bond after one of them nearly died on the job.
Add to that their shared love of surfing, fishing and hunting, and it would all seem more than enough to cement a partnership between Barbour, 25, of Bay Shore, and Greco, 26, of Port Jefferson, that would make the NYPD brass proud.
But the officers, who work out of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side, recently discovered they share something else — a bloodline.
Word of the partners' shared pedigree came courtesy of Greco's grandmother who, after online DNA testing, discovered that the officers' great-great-grandmothers were sisters.
"I was just in complete shock,” Barbour said. “I always loved working with Harley and then out of nowhere, ‘by the way, you guys are cousins.’ It’s just a crazy story.”
Greco said he was equally stunned to learn he had a cousin for a partner.
“It felt weird,” he said. “We definitely have this bond together and it’s kind of crazy. You are partners with this guy and best friends with this guy and then all of a sudden you find out … you are related.”
Their connection became known after Greco’s grandmother traced her DNA through two online companies that try to identify people's ancestors. She then posted something about it on the Facebook page for the 19th Precinct.
One of Barbour’s cousins saw the posting. In a response, Barbour's cousin said she thought there might be a family connection. Soon, the cops learned they were related.
Greco found out first and texted his newly discovered cousin while Barbour was on a Caribbean honeymoon.
“How’s the honeymoon?" Barbour recalled of Greco's text. “Then he goes, ‘We’re related.’”
The close friendship, the love of surfing, fishing and hunting, it all started to make sense. Their newfound family bond also added some perspective to the day Greco almost died in a subway responding with Barbour to a call.
They had received a report of an assault in progress with a weapon. The pair arrived to discover that the suspect had run down into a nearby subway station.
Both cops ran downstairs and into the subway station. While chasing after the suspect, an oncoming train struck Greco, knocking him off his feet.
“Next thing I know I hear a loud ‘clap,’ ” Barbour said. “And I look over and I just see Harley hit the ground.”
Barbour pulled him away from the train, and soon got him in an ambulance to a hospital. Greco escaped serious injury.
“I got very lucky,” Greco said.
Barbour said he was also relieved.
“I would consider him one of my best friends," he said of Greco, "and I almost lost one of my best friends.”
Now that he knows they are related, Barbour said their work partnership has a deeper meaning.
“It’s just exciting to have somebody that you could trust so well on patrol," Barbour said, "and it turns out they are your cousin.”