‘At some point along the way, I somehow got the nickname “The Baby Whisperer.”’
“The two influences that led me to becoming a police officer were that my dad works for the Yankees and worked for George Steinbrenner, who was a huge proponent of the police, and my stepdad is a retired member of the NYPD. When my mom and dad split up, I was about 4-5 years old, and the next influential person in my life was my stepdad, who is an incredible role model. I couldn’t have picked a better person for my mom than him.
“I’m the oldest of the kids in the family; I have four little brothers and a little sister, so I was always the one in charge if my parents weren’t around. I always felt that big-brother responsibility, and when people say, ‘Oh, you have half brothers,’ or something like that, I say, ‘No, I have brothers and a sister,’ because we’re all a close-knit family. I definitely helped out with diapers and things like that, although I would try to save those things for my parents!
“I had played baseball in college and got a degree in sports management. Job opportunities popped up around the country, but I wasn’t ready to leave New York, so I started to work in business finance, thinking I could make my way back to sports from the financial side. But before I could transition back into sports, a friend of mine who was a Suffolk police officer told me the police test was coming up, and I should take it. I did and got a high grade. So I talked to my family, and they all said if it’s what I wanted, they were on board. So that’s how I became an officer.
“When you train to become a Suffolk police officer, you need to be a certified EMT, and childbirth is one of the things we covered, as well as things like infant and child CPR, or what to do when a newborn isn’t breathing — but we train on what looks like a Cabbage Patch doll, and we watch a video. Then one night in August 2017, I was working overnight in the Mount Sinai area. I had stopped for a snack and heard a call going over about a mother going into labor in her kitchen.”
He says the baby is out but hasn’t taken a breath.
“They asked for a car to respond, and I was about a quarter-mile away. Within a minute or two, I was in front of the house, and no other help had responded yet. I see a man at the front door. He says the baby is coming out. I run in, and he grabs me by the shoulder. He says the baby is out but hasn’t taken a breath. The baby was born with his umbilical cord around his neck, and the dispatcher was able to talk the father through removing it, but he still wasn’t breathing. The mom is laying on the floor holding the newborn, and he was turning blue. That’s when the training kicked in: I said we needed to clear his airway, but I wasn’t equipped with the same tools a paramedic would have. We needed suction, so I asked for a turkey baster, but he couldn’t find one. I then asked for a plastic syringe, and thank God he had one. I was able to extract the liquid blocking the baby’s airway, and after that he started breathing and crying. He’ll be 6 this year.
“When something like this happens, you’re only thinking about what you’re facing. I was scared out of my mind, but what I did was almost instinctual, and during it all I was thinking out loud, taking the steps necessary while the clock is ticking. In 2018, the parents were planning the christening, and they asked me to be the baby’s godfather. I’m still very close with my godson and his parents.
“A few months later, there was a call about a woman in labor in Selden, and she and her husband thought they could get to the hospital themselves even though an ambulance was on the way. I had just left the precinct and had stopped for coffee when I heard that the ambulance got there but no one was home. At the same time the parents called for help, they pulled over thinking they weren’t going to make it to the hospital. I got their location, and I just happened to be two minutes away, so I said I’d go over. I get there and see the dad standing outside the car, flagging me down. I pull up and he’s like, ‘The baby’s coming! The baby’s coming!’ I open the back door, and the mom was there. We could already see the head. Within 2-3 minutes, the baby was fully delivered. We wrapped him up and kept him warm until the ambulance got there.”
That’s when the jokes started: “Are you driving around Long Island looking for pregnant women?” and “This guy, he knows when all the babies are due.”
“That’s when the jokes started: ‘Are you driving around Long Island looking for pregnant women?’ and ‘This guy, he knows when all the babies are due,’ things like that. The following year in the summer, there was a call about a woman in her Port Jefferson Station home. Once again, I was grabbing a snack, but the woman’s home was about two blocks from where I was, so I threw out what was left and got there, although this time there were two other officers and the Terryville FD on the scene. I looked at one of the paramedics, and he recognized me and said, ‘You’re helping with this one, too.’ We realized she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital, and we delivered the baby in her bedroom.
“Of course, the jokes started picking up even more, but now I was starting to get national attention. Some news outlets around the country picked it up, which was pretty cool. I also thought it was cool for people to hear about the sort of things police do every day, but maybe don’t get recognition for — not me, I’ve gotten plenty of recognition — but police all over the country. I’m happy my story can help bring that to light.
“It was 2020 that I helped deliver a fourth baby. It was during the peak of COVID. It was in a woman’s house, in her bathroom, in Port Jeff Station again. She was home with her mother, and when I showed up to the call, the same paramedic from last time was there, and he was like, ‘Not again, you again, no way!’ We walked in, and she said she felt like she needed to start pushing, so we laid her down and guided her through it. In a few minutes, the baby was born, and we got everyone into an ambulance. This time though, we needed to wear more PPE, masks, gloves, things like that, and we had to work around the social distancing, so it was tough. It was a scary time going on calls during those days, but sometimes contact with people was unavoidable. The jokes within the department kept coming, but I didn’t get the same kind of news coverage, as there was so much else going on in the world. There was a lot more to report about at that time.”
Once the news broke that I was part of a fifth delivery, the attention whirlwind started.
“The fifth baby was born right before Thanksgiving of 2022. At this point, I was in a new precinct and had been promoted to sergeant. It was a quiet Saturday morning, and sergeants don’t respond to every call; it’s a different role. But I heard this call come over, and it sounded like the other calls involving a newborn I had been on: The mother was home alone in Shirley and felt like she was going into labor, so I started driving in that direction, even though there were already cops on the way. However, the officer already on the scene called and said she was starting to push, so I started driving faster.
“When I arrived, there were two officers in the house and one outside waiting for an ambulance. They were all pretty new, so I went inside with them. Within a few minutes, the baby was out, and this time it was pretty great as all I really needed to do was supervise! This time I let the new guys do the catching of the baby. As soon as the ambulance left, I was talking with the other officers, as it was their first childbirth, when I get a call from headquarters to call them back. I call, and they were like, ‘Did you just deliver another baby?’
“Once the news broke that I was part of a fifth delivery, the attention whirlwind started. At some point along the way, I somehow got the nickname ‘The Baby Whisperer.’ I forget where it started, but it took off. You can just Google that name, and I come up, which is crazy. I honestly don’t feel an expert at delivering babies. I’m always glad to see the ambulance show up. The more trained hands you have on deck, that’s always better for any situation; they can give me guidance and tell me what to do. I’m not a dad, and people ask if I think my experience will ever come in handy if I become one. I say maybe, but if and when I have children, I hope it doesn’t come down to my skills! I’d rather it be a more traditional setting, like a hospital, with nurses and doctors. But in a crunch, I guess I would know what to do.”