1999 IRWIN RUTMAN AWARD
On October 21, l999, at Harry's Hanover Square, the Society of Professional Investigators (WWW.SPIONLINE.ORG)
presented the Irwin R. Rutman Award to Detective Anthony S. Senft, NYPD.
This was the 43rd Annual Awards Dinner to be held by the Society. The Society was established in 1956. Since that time, the list of SPI Award Recipients include persons such as: Robert F. Kennedy, Louis Lefkowitz, Clarence Kelly, Michael Codd, Robert McGuire, James Sullivan, Richard Nicastro, Rudolph Giuliani, Patti McDonald (wife of Steve McDonald), Joseph Borelli, James Fox, William Bratton, Raymond Kelly, Curt Wargo, and the family of Police Officer Anthony Mosomillo, NYPD.
The person who received the award is truly worthy of it. But, it is important in presenting such an award, that we remember the person for whom it is commemorated.
The program for the 43rd Annual Award Dinner has this memoriam on it:
On October 29, 1990, Irwin R. Rutman (1935-1990), a retired New York City Policeman
(1961-1984) was shot to death on a New York City subway when he attempted to stop a robbery in progress.
Being retired from the force, Irwin Rutman, was no longer required to take action; however,
his instinct and twenty-years of experience, would not allow him to stand idly by. This was to be his last heroic effort as a New York City Policeman/Retired, as it cost him is life.
Detective Anthony S. Senft was presented with this year's award by
President Anthony J Luizzo with a reading by Past President Rainer A. Melucci, The family of Irwin R. Rutman was in attendance. Detective Senft is the President of the Self Support Group of
the New York City Police Department. Detective Senft was severely injured on New Year's Eve, December 31, l982. An account of the bombing incidents that occurred that night can be found in the
book "CopShock" written by Allen R. Kates. Here is a brief excerpt:
On New Year's Eve, around half past nine Tony and his partner Richie Pastorella, had just finished dinner in the
precinct house. The phone rang. A bomb had gone off at 26 Federal Plaza, a towering office building that housed many U.S. agencies including the local headquarters of the FBI and the Justice Department.
They rushed to the site. Tony saw several stories of shattered glass on the sidewalk. Fire trucks and ambulances were everywhere. Fortunately, no one was injured. While looking
for the seat of the bomb, they heard an explosion not too far away at l Police Plaza, police headquarters.
Again, when they got there, they saw a mountain of glass and a bomb crater. But this time
they found a wounded officer, his leg blown off. A few minutes later, another bomb exploded, ravaging the U.S. District Courthouse at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.
It was now only three-quarters of an hour since Tony had finished eating a sandwich. WCBS radio received a call from a man saying, "This is the FALN. We're responsible for the
bombings in New York City tonight. Free Puerto Rico. Free all political prisoners and all prisoners of war."
Moments later, police officers discovered two small boxes at St. Andrew's Plaza beside the federal courthouse, just west of police headquarters. A bomb-sniffing dog checked them
out and sat down, the signal for explosives. Tony and his partner three blast-absorbing blankets over the bombs and began to clear the kill zone.
"A number of Chinese people were walking through the area," Tony said. "Once we started screaming 'Police!' they froze. So we had to physically go out and pick people up and move
them. I picked up a woman and then a child and after I did that a couple of times, they realized what was happening and got out of the way. Meanwhile, we lost time."
The officers zipped themselves into their bulky bomb suits. The suits were made of thick kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests, and were reinforced by steel plates covering
the chest and groin. The officers did not wear helmets because the visors would fog up from their breathing and obscure their vision.
Tony and Richie prepared to tackle the first bomb, which consisted of four sticks of dynamite. Wrapped in newspaper, the sticks were attached to a nine-volt battery and a
pocket watch detonator and stuffed into a fast-food box.
Tony thought the device was so crudely constructed, it would be easy to dismantle. He
opened a toolbox behind Richie who bent over the bomb and lifted the blanket.
Richie took the brunt of the explosion. "It blew him back and blew me over and we were on fire," said Tony.
Richie lost both eyes, the fingers on his right hand and most of his hearing. Chunks of concrete punctured his body.
For ten days, Tony was delirious and blind. Every bone in his face was smashed. His hip was broken, and most of his body was bruised and torn.
Reprinted by permission of Allen R. Kates, "CopShock", Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), (Tucson: Holbrook Street Press, 1999) pages 202-203.
Copyright ©1999 by Allen R. Kates. All rights reserved.
The name of the police officer who was seriously injured in the explosion at One Police Plaza was Police Officer Rocco Pascarella. Rocco lost his leg as a result of the bomb blast.
Detective Richie Pastorella and Detective
Senft are still active members of the NYPD. They continue to serve their fellow police officers with the NYPD Self Support Group. Both of these men founded and shaped this organization
designed to offer emotional support to injured officers. They help police officers that have sustained severe injuries in the line of duty. They offer peer support that
only another officer who has sustained a similar injury can give. Detective Senft is the current President of the Support Group.