NYPD Officers Patrolling Subway Platform Save Visually Impaired Man Who Had Fallen onto the Tracks
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) honored two NYPD officers with “Hero of the Subway” commendations, the highest honor the MTA bestows on anyone who is not an employee of the MTA, for their roles in saving the life of a visually impaired man who had fallen onto the tracks in Brooklyn on Wednesday, May 18. The officers were reunited with Suleiman Rifai, 61, for the first time since the incident at the MTA’s monthly board meeting.
Police Officer Jason Macaluso and Detective Henry Greco were patrolling the Grant Street subway platform in Brooklyn when they saw Rifai fall face-first onto the tracks. The two officers rushed to his aid as an train approached the station.
“Detective Greco and Police Officer Macaluso were patrolling the Grant Avenue station on May 18, when they saw Sulieman Rifai fall onto the tracks, said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. "We all know the road bed is a dangerous place and this case particularly so, because Mr. Rifai is blind. With a train about to pull into the station, Detective Greco and Officer Macaluso had to act quickly to get Mr. Rifai to safety and they didn't waste a single second."
“We did hear the train coming towards us at first and then we saw the light of a train coming,” said Detective Greco. “I waved my arms and used my flashlight to wave down the train to slow it down.”
Officer Macaulso spoke to Rifai in an effort to guide him back towards the platform, “I felt he’d be comforted by the sound of my voice and used it to guide him towards us.”
The officers grabbed Rifai, pulled him to the platform and had him sit down on a nearby bench.
“I want to say thank you for the officers who rescued me last week,” said Suleiman Rifai. “Without you I would never be here today, so I really am grateful for you being there at the right time. And when I heard your voices, I knew I would be okay. And I'm okay today and again from the bottom of my heart, you are my friends for life for saving my life. And I really appreciate you.”
Detective Greco and Officer Macaluso are Neighborhood Coordination Officers, normally part of Police Service Area 2 but were assigned to patrol the Grant Street platform as part of Mayor Adams’ Subway Safety plan that deploys officers from precincts around the city to perform inspections underground in subway stations.
“The mayor and police commissioner made a commitment to get more cops out in our system, not only on platforms, but actually riding trains,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “This is the result of that initiative, two officers who, a month ago, may not have been there, were on the scene, took action and saved a man’s life. New Yorkers deserve to feel safe when they are in the system, and we are focused on the improving the customer’s experience.”
“We’re housing cops,” said Officer Macaluso. “Normally, we’re in buildings walking up and down stairs on patrol. We don’t have trains rolling towards us.”
“They do a lot for the community,” said Chief of the NYPD’s Housing Bureau Jeffrey Maddrey. “They worked with the youth when we used to run sports programs. During the whole COVID pandemic they got food trucks to come out into the Brownsville Community to serve people who were dealing with food insecurity. These two officers do an awful lot for the community. They go above and beyond for the community, and they truly are heroes.”
PHOTOS: MTA Honors Two Police Officers Who Rescued a Man from the Tracks in Brooklyn
New York City Transit
Updated May 25, 2022 2:45 p.m.