American Police Beat October 2002


Experience pays off

Officer Mubarak Abdul Jabbar takes number three spot at the PBA of New York City

Mubarak Abdul-Jabbar    

After two decades as a cop and union delegate, Officer Jabbar brings his considerable experience to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. Mubarak is a Muslim officer and the first African-American to sit on the five-member governing body.

 

There is no argument that New York is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities on the planet.

In a move designed to reflect that diversity in police association leadership, the PBA, the union representing patrol officers in the NYPD, has named Officer Mubarak Abdul-Jabbar, 46, to the number three post in the association's five-member governing body.

Jabbar is a well respected street cop with lots of experience in labor. According to PBA President Pat Lynch, Jabbar's many years on patrol and long experience as a union delegate made him the best man for the job.

There have been perceptions among minority officers with the NYPD that the PBA was something of an old boys club and not necessarily inclined to addressing their concerns, but Jabbar's new job with the PBA should change all that.

Jabbar, a practicing Muslim, is optimistic about positive change in the organization, the department and the city. But it's definitely optimism tempered by the realism of the street cop's perceptive.

    Patrick Lynch and Jabbar
  PBA President Patrick Lynch (right) and Officer Jabbar who has joined the union's governing board, survey the damage at Ground Zero last fall.

"We're not going to eradicate racial injustice in society overnight, or the perception of racial injustice," Jabbar said. "But with respect to having a seat in the leadership, minority officers who have felt left out should have an improved outlook on the organization."

"To the disenfranchised officer, this is obviously an opportunity," Jabbar continued. "The upper echelons of leadership have changed. It's no longer forbidden ground."

Jabbar is tall and thin with a quiet manner and an easy smile. He grew up in Harlem and the South Bronx, before attending Hunter College and Columbia University. He eventually left school to clerk for a judge to support a growing family. After a few years, he joined the Transit Police, which merged with the NYPD in 1995.

His legal experience and personality have made him an outstanding delegate. Jabbar is replacing NYPD Officer Loud, a 33-year vet with 30 of those years on the street. Loud is nearing retirement and played a key role in the appointment of Officer Jabbar.

Loud and Patrick Lynch were active in reaching out to the minority community during the campaign for the PBA presidency two years ago, which Lynch won.