When I graduated from the police academy, I was sent to the 24th Police District, which was arguably the most violent, drug-filled district in the city. It was a war zone where shootings were the norm and homicides occurred daily.
I came the the 24th District during the summer vacation period, and since we were shorthanded. I was given a map, a car, and told to “have fun.” It was a harrowing experience, because I didn’t really know what I was doing, didn’t know the area, and didn’t know any of my fellow officers.
Then I met Cynthia “Cindy” Felicetti.
Cindy was pretty – as you can see above – funny, and one of the best police officers I have ever known. Cindy weighed about 100 pounds and was approximately 5’5″, but good lord could she fight. I saw her take down people twice her size one minute, then saw her comforting a victim the next minute. We worked the overnight shift, and when the radio slowed down, she and I would park our cars next to each other and talk, or in her case, catch a few winks.
Cindy was high-octane. She ran from job to job, never slacking, because she loved the job. So when she would pull into the Ruth Street parking lot, she would crash. It was always, “Make sure you wake me up,” as if I was going to leave her there…
I made a mistake with her one time, and only one time. While I was in my sector, I stopped a stolen car and didn’t notify radio. I stopped the vehicle, and was busy trying to arrest the guy before he decided to run. Radio tried to give me a different job, and I wasn’t answering. Cindy and Mary went to Ruth Street and I wasn’t there. They drove a block away and saw me putting the offender into my car. I heard the wagon coming and said to myself, “Crap.”
Cindy got out of the wagon, walked up to me and said, “What the hell are you doing? Why didn’t you go over the air? What if you got hurt?”
I had no response, besides, “I’m sorry.” Cindy and Mary pulled the guy out of my car, and Mary had to stop Cindy from beating the guy to death. When he was in the wagon, she gave me the death stare, hopped in the wagon, and didn’t talk to me for a few days.
I made it up to her when I was the first to arrive to a homicide, and calmly gave radio the information about the shooting, location, make and model of the vehicle, and when the medics arrived. When Cindy showed up, she said, “You sounded like a veteran over the radio. You did well.” It was probably the best compliment I ever received.
Cindy taught me more about the job in those first few years than I have learned in the next twenty-five. Cindy transferred to the Narcotics Unit, then was a member of the Criminal intelligence Unit. Our paths occasionally crossed and we always said hello, but I hadn’t seen her for a while.
Cindy passed away on January 7, 2021 after a long battle with salivary gland cancer. Thanks to Covid and the slow-walking of everything in this wretched department, I did not find out she passed away until July 1st. I cannot adequately describe how I felt when I saw the email. It was devastating, like losing your best friend, your sister, and your mentor.
I cannot overstate what Cindy meant to me in those first few years. She didn’t need to reach out to me, but she did. She didn’t need to scream at me when I screwed up, but she did. She didn’t need to be my friend, but she did.
Thank you for everything, Cindy. I will never, ever forget you. May you be at peace with the Lord.