U.S. Navy photo by PH2 (AW) Jim Watson

Keeping the NYPD Going

have time to stop and reflect about the terror and destruction that struck Manhattan on September 11. Instead, the deputy commissioner of management and budget for the New York City Police Department shifted into high gear with the 600 civilians and police officers under his command. Building maintenance workers delivered and set up light poles and generators at the disaster site. Plumbers fashioned portable eye-wash stations built out of fire hydrants. Carpenters constructed ramps enabling large fire trucks and extraction equipment to move amid the rubble. Electricians rerouted power lines to support emergency lighting and generators.
      “It was quite an operation,” says Lam, who earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School. “Every day I’d visit them and try to keep their morale high and make sure they knew their boss was in this with them. The first couple days I don’t think anyone slept. We were up around the clock here at headquarters and down at the scene. After that, I slept in my office for the first week. We were working about 100 hours a week. It was non-stop.”
      Lam’s office was responsible for obtaining and delivering thousands of breathing masks and biohazard protective suits. After fulfilling these and other unexpected supply requests, Lam struggled to put together a revised budget and assess what resources the department might need in the future. “No one really knows what’s going to happen next,” he says.
      Lam estimates that nearly one-third of the department’s total budget, or approximately $1 billion, will be spent on the disaster, including overtime costs and replacing or repairing equipment. Lam, however, tries to be optimistic. “We’re getting a lot of equipment donated, especially vehicles, because we lost a lot of them at the scene,” he says. “We’ve got a large amount of money coming in from people donating to our widows and orphans fund. All those things are helping us get through this.”

—Margaret Costello

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