“He wasn’t a bully or anything like that, or a real pushy guy,” said John Reilly, 67, a retired lieutenant who supervised Mr. Webster. “Just one of the guys. Some cops are very aggressive and stuff like that — he really wasn’t.”
Mr. Brigida said former military personnel like Mr. Webster were generally a cut above. “One step ahead of the new cops,” he said. “They know how to deal with the public. They know how to handle stressful situations.”
He worked in public housing complexes in the Bronx, and later, on the streets in plain clothes. While working high-crime assignments, he never fired his weapon, which is not uncommon throughout the Department, but his supporters suggest it shows an ability to de-escalate conflicts without rushing to last resorts. He drove an hour to work from his home in the rural village of Monroe, N.Y., on a street near a lake where he counted two other officers and a retired military couple as neighbors. He developed an interest in dirt bikes and A.T.V.s, collecting a small fleet and teaching older children in the neighborhood how to ride.
“He always took us to the races, he always showed us the trails,” said Matthew Moritz, 27, who lived near Mr. Webster as a teenager, and who now owns an A.T.V. dealership. “Without him, I probably would have fallen out of the sport,” he said.
At work, Mr. Webster was eventually transferred to the Department’s firing range to train officers. That posting, Mr. Brigida said, is indicative of Mr. Webster’s good standing in the department.
“You do not get assigned to the New York City police firing range unless you have a good reputation,” he said. “That’s not where you would hide somebody with a checkered past, put it that way. You hide them in a closet somewhere at 1 Police Plaza to answer a telephone.”
Later in his career, as 2010 approached, he was again transferred to another prominent position, in an intelligence detail that protected Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Mr. Webster was posted, in uniform, at the mayor’s events and appearances, his lawyer, James E. Monroe, said in a filing. His performance evaluations, submitted in court by Mr. Monroe, are consistently satisfactory. “Officer Webster is able to assess a situation, and use the facts available to make correct decisions and take proper action,” Mr. Reilly, his supervisor, wrote in a typical review.