If a former NYC police commissioner comes to town and no reporter is present to write about his talk at the Fort Smith Public Library, was he really here?
Yes! Howard Safir is a member of the U.S. Marshals Museum's Foundation board and spoke to a room full of local residents Tuesday night.
Safir spent time at the U.S. Marshals Service, where he ran the USMS Witness Protection Program. Safir talked to the audience about his experiences with protected witnesses, and his work as New York's Fire Commissioner and, later, Police Commissioner - following in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt.
Safir also talked about the U.S. Marshals role in keeping air traffic controllers out of the nation's control towers after the famed ATC firings.
Perhaps the most interesting story of all centers on an interview Safir was ordered by the Attorney General to conduct with a famous "investigative reporter." The reporter clipped Safir's sound bite and aired a response out of context. Safir successfully sued the former ABC correspondent. Care to investigate further? Google "Howard Safir" + Geraldo.
Safir spoke fondly of the U.S. Marshals, their broad powers, their proud tradition, and their silent loyalty to our nation for almost 220 years. He's sold on the U.S. Marshals Museum and will, no doubt, use his influence and his respect for the Service to tell the story of the museum that's coming soon to an Arkansas River location near you.
Yes, I heard Mr. Safir speak, and I am even more convinced that the people of Fort Smith will be worthy custodians of a national destination honoring the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service.