9/11 responder shares experience as Broward College professor

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - One of the first crime scene investigators to respond to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has since found his calling as a college professor in South Florida.

Jack Hackett spent 27 years investigating crime scenes as a member of the New York City Police Department. In 2004, three years after he responded to Sept. 11 as a crime scene investigator, he began teaching crime scene investigation at Broward College.

“I love teaching. I love imparting my knowledge to the students, and I like showing them things,” Hackett said.

He was one of the first investigators on the scene after the attacks on the World Trade Center towers that day.

“The first things I saw were those iconic steel beams standing up in mid air with smoke and dust around them, and I was truly dumbfounded regarding the destruction,” he said.

Hackett said they searched for survivors for as long as they could.

“We were actually digging, with my hands making an effort to find people, making an estimate where, maybe stairwells were where people may have been,” he said. “We would call out to see if anyone would respond to us.”

Like so many other first responders, Hackett lost many friends that day.

“Just about everyone in the NYCPD knew someone who died.”

A few years later, he left the department and decided that the best way to use his experience was to share it.

“One day you’re going to wake up, it’s going to be a beautiful day, as it was on Sept. 11, and the next thing you know you’re in the middle of a complete mess. You’re not sure what to do,” Hackett said.

He hopes the students he teaches will know what to do.

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.