A message from Ray Hassett:
‘So, whatever became of Sal’s Meat Market after it was disbanded? As mentioned, John Ratzenberger went on to work in film and television and ended up as ‘Cliff’ the hilarious mailman on the award winning sitcom, Cheers, as well as other business ventures. I also went on to work in film, playing characters in Superman, Ragtime, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Empire Strikes Back, and Body Double to name but a few. In the mid eighties, having grown tired of industry politics, I began looking for a new career. Something a little different. Something where I could build on all that I had learned as an actor and a writer. Something with an element of risk, and something that was a big challenge. And in 1987, I found that career when I entered the Police Academy to become a Police Officer. And as many of us will tell you, once you enter the Police World, it is like no other. In my case, I began working in a mid-sized urban city, a short distance from New York City, at a time when violence was rampant. It was a time when, in many neighborhoods, ‘crack addicts’ walked like zombies throughout the night. Drug dealers controlled neighborhoods through fear and intimidation, gunfire was a routine refrain most night, and good people hunkered down, many trapped in their own homes, with no one to trust, least of all the police. It was about as far from theatre or film as you could get. But it was People. People fighting for respect. People at their worst and their best. And I loved it from the moment I started…
After working two years as a patrol officer responding for calls for service, I was recruited to work undercover in an organized crime investigation. The assignment would be covert and last two years, and would require me to publicly leave law enforcement to assume a new identity in order to complete the investigation. When I look back now, this assignment , aside from the stress and danger of constantly doing this kind of work, becoming a villain was an actor/writer’s dream. You are building a character which constantly has to grow and darken over the course of the investigation. You must always be ready to improvise as things can and will change in a minute. And they always did. And I learned that in this type of work, a good review meant people believed you, and if they believed you, that meant they did not try to hurt you, or worse…. So this was my introduction into my new career. After I concluded the undercover investigation, I resurfaced as a detective working in Narcotics, and then on to major investigations. Along the way, I became a Hostage Negotiator, of which I am most proud. After that, I was promoted to Sergeant and then to Lieutenant and District Commander, where I ran one of the busiest Police Districts for fourteen years. In 2012, I retired from my Police Career.
Today, I train Police Hostage Negotiators to be better negotiators (through the use of improvisation) so more lives can be saved. I also work as an instructor, teaching the art of Hostage Negotiation to Foreign Police Agencies in The Middle East, Philippines, and India…’