In The Pipeline: After 9/11, cops become 'brothers'

September 07, 2011|By Chris Epting
  • Jack Paholski, Christ Tatar and Eric Ramsey of the HBPD work at ground zero.
Jack Paholski, Christ Tatar and Eric Ramsey of the HBPD… (Chris Epting, HB…)

Growing up in New York, I watched the twin towers of the World Trade Center going up in the early 1970s. I recall how, at times, one of the buildings was rising a few floors faster than the other. But once it was all said and done, there they were — those two monolithic, perfectly symmetrical towers that, while nowhere near as ornate and distinctive as the Empire State Building, still managed to add a sleek modern touch to the classic Manhattan skyline.

The morning of 9/11, I watched numbly — as did we all — as the towers, and by extension our nation's psyche, were attacked by a monstrously calculating enemy we'd soon know a lot more about.

We all have our stories and memories from that catastrophic day. As divisive as the political climate is today, it's not hard to remember the unity and call to arms that many in this country felt as the tons of rubble finally came to rest.


That event, for better or worse, has defined a good part of this country's mood, balance and culture since it happened, and so on this upcoming anniversary, there will be an expected (and, in my opinion, appropriate) amount of attention and spotlight put back on it.

Here in Huntington Beach, for a number of police officers, there will also be thoughts of friendships that were forged in the brutal aftermath of 9/11, when a new brotherhood was formed.

Motor Officer Bobby Frahm, who has been with the Huntington Beach Police Department since 1992, explained to me how his life changed 10 years ago.

"After the event, the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn. wanted to do something to help the departments back East that lost so many officers," he said. "So we started selling T-shirts to raise some funds. The department got really involved in helping to get the word out, and then the community responded and it really took off. In just a few months, we actually raised $90,000. In December of 2001, about 12 of us flew back to New York to present the money, which was split equally between NYPD, the Fire Department and the Port Authority."

And while they were back there, Frahm said, bonds began to form.

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