An NYPD lieutenant who's a turntable whiz is finally getting some recognition for his day job.
Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Park Slope recently honored Lt. Acu Rhodes — who often performs as a scratch DJ under the name "DJ Ace" — as Cop of the Year.
The 78th Precinct's commanding officer recommended Rhodes for the accolade in part because of Rhodes' history of using his DJ skills to build positive relationships with young people, according to the precinct's community affairs officer Det. Brian Laffey.
The 78th Precinct's Lt. Acu Rhodes receiving a "Cop of the Year" award at Park Slope's Sixth Avenue Baptist Church. (Photo: Erika Clark)
When he's not spinning records, Rhodes has plenty to keep him busy at the 78th Precinct. He's in charge of 13 police officers and one sergeant as the Barclays Center detail lieutenant, and also serves as the 4 p.m. to midnight shift platoon commander, supervising 24 police officers and three sergeants.
Rhodes grew up in Bed-Stuy and served in the U.S. Marine Corps before following in an older brother's footsteps to join the NYPD. This April will mark his 20th year with the NYPD.
One of his proudest moments as a police officer isn't a typical tale of bravado.
Early in his career when he was working as a sergeant in the 84th Precinct, Rhodes responded to a 911 call about an emotionally disturbed man who was threatening to cut his own wrists with a knife, he said.
When Rhodes got to the scene, the man recognized him from the neighborhood and greeted him with a friendly "Hey Sarge!" Rhodes didn't remember the man, but pretended he did and developed a rapport with him.
Eventually Rhodes convinced the man — a homeless Vietnam vet with psychological issues and addiction problems — to drop the knife. Rhodes and the man struck up a friendship and stayed in touch. The man eventually got treatment and today he's married and living in Queens with his wife, Rhodes said.
"It just makes me have a good feeling about being a police officer," Rhodes said of that happy ending.
As for his officer of the year award, the soft-spoken Rhodes said he was humbled by the honor.
"When my boss first told me, I thought he was joking," said Rhodes, a married dad of three.
The Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, on Lincoln Place and Sixth Avenue, started giving out the award five years ago, said Pastor Richard Johnson.
Johnson decided to start the yearly tradition when police at the 78th Precinct came to the church's aid during a run-in with a con man who wound up going to jail, he said.
The first Cop of the Year was the one who helped Sixth Avenue Baptist with the con man situation, and since then, the precinct's commanding officer has selected each honoree, Johnson said.
With police nationwide increasingly under scrutiny for shootings of unarmed black men and other charged social justice issues, Johnson said he wanted his church to spread a different kind of message about law enforcement.
"The vast majority [of police] do a great job and no one ever says thank you," Johnson said. "The mission of the church is we want to applaud righteousness. We want to be a positive force in our community."