72nd Precinct detectives: Dress to arrest
By Beth Sarafraz
These gents spend their days investigating crime in the 72nd Precinct in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn and they do it well.
In a single day, they may be called upon to visit schools, courthouses, hospitals or bodyguard dignitaries from other countries and then -- without missing a beat -- race to a gory crime scene to gather clues and evidence. In order to apprehend a perp, they may have to show up at places where the bad guys hang out, and arrest them on their own turf.
Unlike patrol officers and police supervisors, detectives don’t wear uniforms. They wear suits. But these gentlemen know that the off-the-rack department store-types suits are just not good enough.
The detectives dress to arrest.
That’s where a guy they call the “Suit Man” comes in. His name is Stewart Altschuler and he makes house calls to police precincts (by appointment only), to outfit NYPD detectives, gang squads and narcotics squads.
Altschuler, who used to be president of a clothing manufacturing company, decided to specialize in law enforcement apparel five years ago. He says he is the only one doing it. “I’m a one-man show,” he says. “Nobody works with me.”
The suits displayed at the 72nd were stunning -- with a difference. “My stuff is specially cut for customers in law enforcement,” Altschuler explains. “For example, the suit jackets are cut wider, so guns and other weapons are covered. They are made wider in the shoulders to give detectives more flexibility if the have to wrestle someone into handcuffs. The pockets may have slits in the bottom, in order to reach in and grab a gun. The inside lining is soft, so if you are grabbed by a perp, the jacket will come off and you’ll be able to escape. And the colors are power colors -- mostly black and navy.”
In addition to the suits, Altschuler offers cashmere coats and a dazzling array of ties. The prices are ultra reasonable -- wholesale for law enforcement and elite personnel.
72nd Precinct Detective Chris Karolkowski, who previously bought a dark brown jacket and charcoal suit from Altschuler, said, “I’m confident this is the best product in comfort and it’s not hard on your wallet.” Karolkowski, persuaded to pose for a picture, looked like a million bucks. And unlike TV show detectives Vincent D’Onofrio and Chris Noth, he’s the real deal. “You want to look professional at all times,” Karolkowski said, “because you’re representing the best police department in the world.”
Detective Joseph Fills, also at the 72 Precinct, agreed: “This is good quality stuff.”
Altschuler, who has a martial arts background himself, says that in addition to outfitting the NYPD detective, narcotics and gang squads, he also dresses the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Detective’s Endowment Association, members of the D.A.’s office and the elite bodyguard security personnel for celebrities.
He’s currently working with Donald Trump’s security people in New York and Las Vegas, outfitting them with suits. He has also makes yearly appearances on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
“One time,” Altschuler recalls, “I was walking down 34th Street in Manhattan and a detective’s car came up on the sidewalk, with its sirens blaring. The detectives in the car were calling out, “Suit Man, we need you!”
Stewart Altschuler can be found in his Manhattan office at 147 West 35 Street, Room 410, e-mailed at [email protected], or phoned at 212-695-1303 or 516-395-4844. If you want to look classy and elegant with a gun in your pocket, he’s your man…your “Suit Man.”