It was 8:05 PM Two plainclothes police officers were patrolling up Eighth Ave near 52nd St when they spotted what they were looking for: A parked navy Eldorado with a telephone inside and the initials “FEC” on the license plates. It was, the officers said, Frank Cruz’s pimpmobile. The officers are members of the Pimp Squad, a seven-member police unit formed 10 months ago to cut down on prostitution in NYC by going after the pimps who promote it. The officers crossed Eighth Ave and entered the San Souci bar, which they described as “the most notorious pimp hangout in the city.” There at the end of the smoky bar, was Mr. Cruz, standing with a group of about 10 other flashily dressed men. He was wearing a studded, rose-colored suit and a wide-brimmed hat. The Pimp Squad, believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, was formed last April 15 in response to the growing number of pimps and prostitutes in the midtown area and to their increasingly brazen behavior. At the time, city officials were eager to get the area cleaned up before out-of-town visitors descended upon the city for Operation Sail and the DNC. As of Feb 11, squad members had arrested 82 pimps and 13 of their associates. “Sometimes you get the feeling that it’s us against the cruds,” said Sgt George Trapp, a tough, 14 year police force veteran who heads the squad. “But it’s very rewarding when you pull even one idiot off the street and lock him up. Sgt Trapp, who formerly headed a prostitution task force, estimated that he knew personally about 1,100 of the city’s 2000 street prostitutes and 100 of the 600 pimps. About 20 percent of the prostitutes are under the age of 16, he said.
Judy Klemerrud NYT 2/21/77