True Crime: New York City Behind the Crime: Bill Clark

Behind the Crime: Bill Clark

A talk with True Crime's police advisor, Bill Clark, about his time as an officer and how he's helped in the development of the game. This interview was provided to us by the good folks at Activision.

1. Let's start by giving the readers a quick intro to who you are. Tell us a bit about your background, how long you were a cop, your specialty on the force, etc.

I was a Police Officer on the NYPD for 25 years, including 17 years in homicide and also did some undercover work. I retired as a 1st Grade Detective. One of my specialties on the force was interrogation. This is a critical aspect of police work, getting suspects to tell you the truth. I developed an expertise in this area over time and was able to become a very effective interrogator, which allowed me to extract the truth from many suspects.

I was very fortunate to have worked on a number of “headline” cases during my time on the NYPD. I participated in cases ranging from the Son of Sam to mob cases and was able to take many other violent criminals off the streets.

After retiring from the NYPD, I became the Executive Producer of a new show called NYPD Blue, where I was able to translate my experiences into creating an authentic police drama. The show turned out to be very successful, where I was nominated for 9 Emmy’s, and won 2. I was also recognized for other awards for my work on the show, including:
• 2 Peabody Award
• 2 Humanitas Awards
• A Writer’s Guild Award

2. What areas of policework did Activision consult you about?

Activision approached me because they were setting out to create a really deep cop game in New York City and felt I could provide insights into what it is really like to be on the front lines and do police work in the city. They felt the more they knew about the realities and details of the job, the better game experience they could make.

Specifically, they wanted to know everything - how interrogations work, how we use informants, what type of weaponry is available to officers, how we train, the ranking system, how you become a detective, how precincts work, what members of the Street Crimes Unit do, how murder investigations work, what the badge looks like, how crime tracking stats work, how officers talk, the most dangerous parts of New York, the types of crimes I encountered, some of the stranger situations I’ve encountered, the humorous stuff that happens on the job, what undercover cops wear, the dangers of undercover and more.

I also looked at the game itself for authenticity – to give them advice on how to make NYC look and feel real. I also reviewed the script to give them tips – having helped create an authentic cop drama, I was able to help them translate the realities into an entertaining game experience.

3. For an officer, what are the toughest areas of New York and why?

When I was on the force, Harlem, Manhattan North, and the Lower East Side were the most dangerous and toughest areas of the city. Lotta guns!