New York Post
January 12, 2001


THESE OFFICERS HAVE 'LAW' AND ORBACH ON THEIR SIDE

By STEVE DUNLEAVY

ACTOR Jerry Orbach, who isn't a cop but plays one on "Law and Order," escaped from shooting yesterday to give support to The Finest.

He had given up sleep, a lot of sleep, to be there and the scriptwriters didn't put these words into his mouth.

"See, basically, unlike these guys, I can go home when I go out and it's OK," he was saying. "These men and women don't know when they are coming home, if ever."

Goodbye Alec Baldwin and hello to a nice guy called Jerry Orbach, who lives and breathes New York City.

He needed no Hollywood BS. He froze like all of us on Barclay and Broadway, that wondrous day yesterday when thousands of cops didn't get angry, they just got hurt.

"Hey Rudy . . . thanks for nothing," said the signs, and PBA leader Paddy Lynch would give a speech that was so fired up that Al Gore should mark, read and inwardly digest if he wants to look human ever again.

In Shakespearean terms of the street to that sea of great guys and gals, Paddy Lynch talked about Aug. 13 last year when he aborted a mini-vacation in Montauk with his wife and kids.

"The beeper went off and it came across, 'Cop shot,'" said Paddy.

Four cops had been shot and wounded by a wacko. Then Paddy's youngest and second son asked him as he was racing to Kings County: "Did they get the bad guy, dad?"

Yes, came the distracted answer. Then out of the mouth of babes: "Does this mean the cops will have to go to court and get in trouble?"

That was a child talking and I don't know whether Paddy could answer it. Because over these decades, I sure as hell can't answer it, can't guarantee a cop won't get lifted by some nut district attorney for keeping me safe.

So Jerry Orbach, who probably has sacrificed millions of bucks to stay in New York and not get a facelift in Los Angeles, was looking around and he didn't have to have a scriptwriter to tell him about this sacrifice of zeroes for heroes.

In front of him was Stephen McDonald, paralyzed forever after a teenage mutt shot him in the back.

Slightly behind him was Margaret Mosomillo whose husband Anthony, 36, managed to gasp "I don't want to die" before he actually did.

To Jerry Orbach's left was Terry Gillespie, wife of Kevin Gillespie, who was gunned down in The Bronx.

"They didn't pay him enough money to live and they sure didn't pay him enough to die," she said.

In front of Jerry Orbach to the left was Maria Dziergowski, whose husband was killed on St. Valentine's Day two years ago in heroism you could write books about.

Of course, Mayor Giuliani was always at the hospital saying to the widow as cop became corpse: "Anything I can do for you, just ask."

Then there was Andra Schwarz, husband of officer Chuck Schwarz, who today is still in jail for something he never did in the Abner Louima affair.

"Chuck is doing better now. He's no longer in segregation and his appeal comes up in March. He will be free but five years of a brave life have been wasted," she said about her husband, who was called as a Desert Storm Marine.

Way out of the way were Bob and Grace Volpe, mother and father of Justin Volpe, who was convicted in the Louima assault.

"We came here to give solidarity," said the veteran cop and father of the man who did the unthinkable to Louima.

Bob Volpe showed me a picture of himself, Grace and son Justin in prison.

"He's doing better now. He knows what he did and we are suffering," said Bob.

Yes, the senior Volpes were victims too. So many wounded souls and Jerry Orbach was there, not to promote his show (he never said a word about showbiz).

"This is all about fair pay . . . you know, pay these men and women a fair day's work, they are incredible these guys and girls, just pay them fair, that's all, nothing more," Orbach said.

And while I should have been jailed for my arithmetic as a child, I figure the equation this way: Death, maiming or jail equals starting pay at $350 take-home.

Are you out of your tiny mind?

Jerry Orbach, a good guy, can tell his scriptwriters where to go for material.

Jerry has the map.