Following a Master Plan
Paul and Barbara Talty's Cape Cod in Wantagh, N.Y., was already crowded when there were just two children, Paul Jr. and Lauren. With a third was on the way, it was time to raise the roof.
Having worked as an electrician and carpenter before joining the New York City Police Department in 1993, Officer Talty tackled most of the work himself.
He built a full second-story addition, working after his shift and on days off to get the place ready for Kelly, who was born in August.
Officer Talty built his career the way he remodeled his house — combining disparate elements in a master plan.
"Paul wasn't driven to be a hero like some others on the force," said his sister-in- law Lisa Talty. There are many teachers in his family, but no policemen. "He became a policeman because he wanted to take care of his family."
Officer Talty was nonetheless dedicated to police work, especially after joining the emergency services unit.
"You knew that if it came down to it, Paul would do whatever needed to be done,"said his friend Joseph McAuliffe.
Officer Talty, 40, loved the beach, and looked forward to vacationing in Naples, Fla., each winter.
He considered taking the police officer's test there, and going into teaching after he retired.
"Paul would have made a great teacher," said his wife, Barbara. "I always said 'I wish you were a teacher. It's a much less dangerous career.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 18, 2001.