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40-year police veteran takes on the subway beat

A 40-year veteran of the NYPD is now the top cop — underground. Chief Raymond Diaz, 62, was appointed in March to oversee the 2,600 officers patrolling the subways for the NYPD Transit Bureau. The fast-talking, avid bike-riding East Harlem native sat down with amNewYork to discuss how it’s going:

What was policing like when you started 40 years ago?
(Harlem) was just unbelievable. You couldn’t go into the apartment without seeing needles all over the stairwells.

Do you have faith in the transit crime stats?
I’m very comfortable with them. We’re very, very cautious with how we classify a crime.

What’s the most common subway crime?
People snatching phones out of people’s hands is the No. 1 issue we have. A lot of these happen as the train door is opening or closing.

Any favorite subway movies?
Someone just gave me “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” the old one and the remake. I’m a movie buff, but I haven’t had the time to sit down and watch [them].

Do you like the subways?
My father knew the train system in and out. I always said that’s what I would want to do when I retire is ride the trains all over. Now I can do it on police department time.

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