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Readying for his new job on "NYPD Blue," former child star Rick Schroder learned from some real Big Apple cops.

Riding along with police, Schroder recently spent a day racing around New York, visiting the sites of two homicides, a suicide, the city morgue and watching undercover "buy-and-bust" narcotics operations.

"It was intense and extensive," Schroder said in Sunday's Daily News. "These guys do a hell of a job."

Fans of the gritty TV crime drama weren't the only ones surprised by the casting of Schroder, 28, to replace Jimmy Smits.

"I feel like I won the lottery," Schroder said.

A native New Yorker, Schroder first appeared in a TV commercial at age 3 months. Dozens of other commercials followed, and he went on to co-star in "The Champ" with Jon Voight and in the sitcom "Silver Spoons."

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