Tuesday, April 30, 2002


After a 35 year career, Joe Heffernan - Commanding Officer of Brooklyn North Homicide - is retiring!

An article in the Tuesday, April 30 edition of the NY Daily News, written by Michelle McPhee, tells it best.

�A tough veteran of one of the city's busiest homicide squads has decided to call it quits. Lt. Joseph Heffernan - the commanding officer of Brooklyn North Homicide who has investigated murder and mayhem for more than 35 years - will turn in his badge and gun to ease into retirement after finishing his last tour today. "Thirty-five years, that's a lot of murder," Heffernan mused yesterday, as the 56-year-old leafed through stacks of yellowing papers documenting some of the high-profile homicide cases he has worked on over the decades. "It's very, very hard. But everybody goes sometime. It's probably the most difficult thing to do to walk away from something that you do very well and you enjoy," Heffernan said. "But I figure, why wait until you are unhappy or hurt or old, and guys are saying, 'I remember the days when that guy was the best guy out there.'"

Known for his �nuggets of street-cop wisdom�, they include "Who speaks for the dead? We do." "Why are we detectives? As they say in the movies, 'This is the life we chose.'" "After being out here for so many years, you start to think you've seen it all. But in Brooklyn North, you've never seen it all."

Heffernan entered the Police Academy in 1966, when hippies began roaming Washington Square Park demonstrating for peace, love and happiness. Upon graduation, Heffernan hit the streets, working in a tactical patrol unit that rotated through the city's toughest precincts in the South Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn. He earned his detective shield in 1973 and was promoted to sergeant in 1983. Eighteen years ago, he was transferred to the 90th Precinct detective squad. He's been in the Williamsburg building since, becoming the commanding officer of the homicide unit in 1995.

End of an Era But now, Heffernan will retire to Smithtown, L.I., and lead a quiet life caring for his elderly mother. Lt. John Cornicello, 75th Precinct commanding officer, replaces Heffernan. "Joe Heffernan is one of the last true dinosaurs left on the job. His experience was invaluable as he worked through the Knapp Commission, the layoffs, the crack epidemic, and the high-crime rate of the early 1990s," said Lt. Tommy Joyce, commanding officer of the 79th Precinct detective squad. "I will miss him as a mentor and as a friend."

Joe will be missed as a source of valuable information, but will hopefully continue to attend the monthly Squad Commanders Conference. Surely some grog will be flowing passed "The Loo's" lips this evening!

Joe: Thank you for everything! You leave behind some mighty big shoes to fill.


A recent e-mail I received I found to be interesting, and thought you would too. Many of these items pre-date the Minister - and many of my readers, but are a good look into the past that is worth mentioning. See how many of these you remember from personal experience, and how many from stories passed down from the vets:

-Sunday day tour, washed and waxed the RMP in the days crews were permanently assigned.

-Washing your sector car at the local bus garage.

-The Rules and Procedures-before there was a Patrol Guide maintaining your assigned sector car-NEVER putting it out of service if you could help it.

-Getting your 15 alarms before turning out. (And for some, recording your "Post Condition Cards" on the back pages of your memo book).

-The desk officer marrying and divorcing couples to settle domestic disputes.

-Having to plug in patch cords on TS duty.
(How about the TS duty being assigned to a Sergeant, to make assignments to foot cops by calling them on the call boxes?)

-Outside station house security post and the desk lt. would have your ass if you let someone bother him.

-The most important form in the NYPD, a UF-33, (and if you don't know what that is, you're no hairbag.)

-Broome Street, the day after being sworn in, getting your equipment and gun.

-Bringing 50 cents to your swearing in-to pay for the shield pin.

-When you didn't need shoulder patches for people to know you were NYPD.

-5 and a 56, 5 and a 56, 4 and 80 duty chart.

Car seats made of gray alligator vinyl that never wore out but had a two craters.

-When you didn't see the inside of a sector car for at least two years. Maybe.

Getting your scratch the last hour of your tour because you didn't salute the sarge properly the day before

Your first time in a car and the hairbag saying "Sit down; don't DO anything; don't SAY anything; and don't TOUCH the damn radio without me telling you to. Clear?"

-Learning to spin your night stick without breaking either your kneecap or a store window.


-When real batons were made of wood-preferably cocobolo.

-Day sticks


Getting a few "sees' from the sarge before you got your "scratch."
-Making your rings to the sergeant and they better be from boxes at opposite ends of your foot posts. (Some lucky fellows even carried their "call boxes" with wires and alligator clips in their pocket.)

-Foot posts with NO portable radio. (There were no portable radios)

-The KG file.

-"Routes to Post" and "Post and Sector Relieving Points," and finding the shoofly waiting there for you.

-When you needed 5 years on the job before you could TAKE the sergeant's exam.

-When desk lieutenants were Godlike and precinct captains were only whispered about.

-"Hey kid, to you it's a homicide, to me it's an aided case."

The author of this - and many more like them - asks if you have any recollections not mentioned, you can add them by sending them to Richard C. Wolowski at:


I am once again referring to Det.1(Ret.) John Reilly, who keeps this column up and running sometimes with his stories from the past.

He recounted life working Narcotics as it was in the 1960's when he first was assigned there.

The Narcotics Bureau was home to about 130 field investigators to cover the whole city. Most men were detectives, but you worked as a white shield for two or three years. When we would complain about the time it took to get the gold shield compared to men working in detective squads, the answer usually was yes but you have an expense account ($40 per month).

He started in Group No. 1, that had a total of 1 Lt; 1 Sgt and 16 men (within a few months down to 12) to cover all of Lower Manhattan from 42nd Street south to the Battery and Staten Island (no bridge then, take the ferry).

After making an arrest each individual detective had to take the narcotics evidence to the Police Lab, which was located on the top floor of the 84th Pct, Poplar St, Brooklyn (many know it as the former IAB site). For a short time there was an annex to the Lab located in 400 Broome St. This was closed down after the new lab opened in the Police Academy building, 20th St. As the police chemist had to testify before the Grand Jury in each felony narcotics case, the G/J only heard narcotics cases one morning a week. In Manhattan it was Tues morning from 10am to 1 pm. You had to hustle to get your cases in, or it was come back next week. In the Bronx narcotics cases were only heard on Monday morning, Queens was Weds day morning. Brooklyn was another day, but uncertain which one. In the 1960s after a Bronx Borough Detective Commander was appointed Chief of Detectives, he transferred a number of detectives from the Bronx to Midtown Squads in Manhattan. All of these men (about 8-10 men) had done good work in the Bronx and he told them " that they had worked in rag shops long enough�.

Thanks again to John for these great stories. John, a true police historian, values the past as much as many of us do. I�d like to get John together with Paddie Boyle - now that would be some conversation!!!


Here is the homepage for the President's Office of Homeland Security. Provides current information and news from the Director, Gov. Tom Ridge.



A newsletter devoted to news and issues concerning Homeland Security.



Each and every day brings another notice via department mail of a retirement dinner, luncheon, etc. The end seems to be nowhere in site, as talented investigators and supervisors move on to another stage of life.

A site could be devoted to this subject in total. Each review of the "Orders" listing retirements brings a new onslaught of stories and memories.

The 77 Squad recently got together to honor some of the retirements in that office. These retirees (and one soon to be, maybe, retiree) combined for over 100 years of experience, and thousands of hours of laughs and good memories.

People like John Barba, Brian Gundlach, Bobby Moore, Fred Neglia, Al Dieumegard, Andy Banahan (soon to be leaving) cannot walk out of the door and be replaced anytime soon. We wish them, and ALL retirees, the very best. You worked hard for many years, you know from experience what it is like to "do more with less", and you have led the way.

Let the torch, as it is being passed, reflect for just a moment longer on those in front. Thank you is not enough, but Thank You from our hearts is all we have.

Thank you!

Monday, April 22, 2002


�Taking the fifth� is such a common occurrence these days, that it�s interesting to find out when it was first invoked.

The Outfit � the organized crime entity that controlled Chicago and points west, was the originator in the invoking of the Fifth Amendment when called to testify.

Curly Humphreys, taken under Al Capone�s wing, was the brains behind the Outfit and the Capone gang. He was the legal tactician that developed some novel defense strategies, and was better known �to negotiate with cash than muscle�.

In 1951, acting on Humphrey�s advice, Outfit bosses befuddled a Senate panel led by Estes Kefauver that was looking into organized crime. Citing their Fifth Amendment privilege, they refused to answer investigators questions. This tactic sent the Senators in a spin.

Although the refusal had been voiced in criminal courts earlier, Congress had not experienced this tactic, and believed it could not be used in their venue. They cited the bosses for contempt of Congress, but much to their consternation the committee learned that Humphrey�s precedent-setting ploy was in fact legal!

It was earlier, in November 1940, that the Fifth Amendment was brought forth b y the Outfit during a criminal trial. Curly Humphreys, the consigliere for the Outfit, devised a plan for a trial regarding the strong-arm tactics used over the takeover of the bartenders union. This resulted in the dismissal of the case against the Outfit bosses, including Frank Nitti. As the only witness the state had was disqualified, the case fell apart; due to the �double jeopardy� standard, the case was lost for good. A double win for Humphreys, and a setback for the state.


Did you know that at one time, in an effort to fight organized crime, artichokes were actually illegal in New York City?

Ciro ��The Artichoke King�� Terranova was born 1889. He died February 20, 1938. Ciro was known as �Artichoke King� because he controlled this Italian delicacy as a front to his organized crime work. The mayor of New York made the sale of artichokes illegal
inside the city limits in an effort to rid the city of Ciro. He and his brother-in-law, Lupo the Wolf, and half brothers, the Morellos, were NYC powers at various times of the first thirty years of the century.

Lupo The Wolf, The Artichoke King, Neil the Hat, Three-Fingers Brown... You gotta love it!


The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program was created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. This act authorized the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to designate regions within the United States that face drug
trafficking threats affecting other areas of the nation as HIDTAs.

The HIDTA Program's mission is to enhance and coordinate America's drug-control
efforts among federal, state and local agencies in order to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking (including the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of illegal drugs and money laundering) and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States.

The HIDTA focuses its efforts on reducing the number of drug- and firearms-trafficking organizations through intelligence-driven law enforcement operations, while assisting local governments in implementing effective drug treatment programs for hard-core offenders. It also promotes innovative prevention programs involving partnerships between law enforcement agencies, community organizations and local government in an effort to reduce the levels of drug-related violence and crime within the HIDTA region.

The HIDTA Program provides resources to assist each HIDTA in developing and implementing a strategy to address its regional drug threat. Each HIDTA strives
to create partnerships between Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and promote a coordinated, intelligence driven response to its drug trafficking problems.

We are most familiar with the Intelligence Center that HIDTA operates here in the New York City area.

The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) is responsible for supporting Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with intelligence reports and technical assistance and developing national, regional and state drug threat assessments

Here in New York City, in addition to operating the Intelligence Center, HIDTA operates a Fugitive Task Force. Comprised of members of NYPD, US Marshal�s, and other US Department of Justice agencies, the Fugitive Task Force acts as a coordinated fugitive
apprehension team for federal warrants and other high-risk local warrants.


My last posting to this site made reference to the Chicago Crime Commission�s Chief Investigator, Wayne Johnson. Anyone who visited their web site learned, as I did, that Wayne is no longer their Chief Investigator. The position is �Open�, (they�re accepting resumes, if interested). How many readers caught this faux pas?


Mentioned in the book �Memoirs of a Murder Man�, it was brought to my attention by Det.1 (Ret) John Reilly that the 3rd Precinct Station House was located at 160 Chambers Street. It was originally built as a three story dwelling, and later made into a police station house. In 1867 the building was remodeled by adding another story, the cells were rebuilt, and the interior layout was changed.

In April of 1875 the 3rd Pct. was abolished. The area was merged into the 5th Pct, located at Leonard St. and the 27th Pct, located at Liberty St.After the building was closed it was made into a fire house. It remained a fire house for many years, then the fire house closed and the building was sold by city. The building is still standing on Chambers
St., and is a religious goods store.


Here's an EXCELLENT site dedicated to the MOS who were killed in the WTC attack.


CRIMETIME.COM - Site for private investigators offering numerous
records searches, most of which are free (phone directories,
criminal records, death records, real estate holdings, etc.).


Heres another good site with multiple links for all kinds of investigative resources:


Tuesday, April 16, 2002


Organized crime goes by many different names: The Mob, Mafia, La Cosa Nostra to name a few. In Chicago, it�s known as The Outfit.

The Outfit is the secretive organized crime cartel that began its reign in Prohibition-era Chicago, then moved on to become the real puppet-master of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C. The gang pioneered many diversions now taken for granted: off track betting, casino gambling, Top Forty record listings, and music videos. They also helped make block-buster movies and elect presidents.

A recently released book on the subject, THE OUTFIT, by Gus Russo, gives the �never before told story of the great Chicago crime family known as the Outfit�.

Different somewhat from the New York Mob, their invisibility was their strength and what kept their leader from ever spending a single night in jail. It �moved effortlessly with upperworld corporate leaders, Hollywood moguls, and national political icons�. It was only after a fifty-year run that their world started to crumble in the 1970�s.

This 500-plus page text is providing some very interesting reading, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Organized Crime and its effect on modern day America.

The Outfit, by Gus Russo.


Readers may recall an earlier posting to the site on the Chicago Crime Commission, and its fight against organized crime.

In the book THE OUTFIT, some of the efforts of the Chicago Crime Commission are recounted, including some attributed to its Chief Investigator, Wayne Johnson. Wayne was profiled in ESQUIRE magazine approximately a year ago, and has corresponded with The Minister since.

Hats off once again to Chief Johnson, and the Chicago Crime Commission. If you�d like, you can read more about the CCC at its web site:



This month�s �Investigators Tip� from the John Reid Company deals with the interview of the sexual assault complainant. �Evaluating the Truthfulness of a Reported Sexual Assault� contains some very valuable suggestions for interviewing these complainants.

Check out the text of this on the John Reid web-site at:



Did you know you could find some famous people buried here in Brooklyn? Some notorious New Yorker�s are lying at rest here in Brooklyn.

At Holy Cross Cemetery, located at Tilden Ave and Brooklyn Ave:

Willie Sutton: This famed bank robber who explained why he robbed banks because �that�s where the money is��. When he was turned in on February 18, 1952 by Arnold Schuster, who had spotted him on the street and followed him, Albert Anastasia became so angry that he had the man killed.( Incidentally, the arresting officer was none other than Donald Shea, then a Patrolman who couldn�t believe who he collared. Donald, a friend of The Minister, went on to get his gold shield, working in the 73 Squad and later making grade and retiring from the Joint Bank Robbery Task Force. Another example of how all roads lead to Brooklyn North).

At Greenwood Cemetery, located at 25 Stret and 5th Avenue, could be found:

Albert Anastasia Born 1902; Died 10/25/1957. He was murdered while sitting in a barber chair in 1957.

Joey �Crazy Joey� Gallo Born 1929; Died 4/7/1972. He was famous for being murdered at Umbertos at 129 Mulberry Street, NYC. He was dining on a late-night plate of
linguine with clam sauce during the tumultuous time of New York gangsters.

Evergreen Cemetery at Bushwick Ave and Conway Street is the resting spot for:

Sai Wing Mock aka MOCK DUCK Born 1879; Died July 24, 1941. Mock Duck showed up around the turn of the century and became leader of the Hip Sing Tong. Known to carry a pair of 45 revolvers, a hatchet and wear chain mail armor. Famous for his favorite
fighting stance, squatting in the street, eyes closed and twirling with his blazing guns. Sometime after 1912, when he was finally convicted on a gambling charge, he moved to Brooklyn and came to Chinatown in his limousine only during peaceful times.


I have been trying to replace the twice-weekly postings to this site with a once-a-week posting that contains more items. It just seems to work out time-wise that way.

I am always interested in any anecdotes or other tales, suggestions, etc. from readers, who can contact me at:


Tuesday, April 09, 2002


John Reilly, a Ret. Det.1st, provides the following information on some of the forgotten arts of the detective.

Back when I came into the job and until the early 1970s all persons arrested for a felony or certain misdemeanors had to be fingerprinted by a detective. The detective was also responsible for completing all the required information on the fingerprint cards. Uniform officers were not permitted to fingerprint anyone. As a uniform officer he can remember what a problem it was if an arrest was made at 3am or 4am and you had to get a detective to fingerprint a prisoner.(They were probably all out on night surveillance duties).

A greater problem for a detective was if the fingerprints were rejected as unclassifiable by BCI. A letter was sent to the Squad Commander ordering the detective to report to BCI for retraining. If there were any further instances of rejected prints the detective was in danger of being sent back to the bag!

Detectives were required to fingerprint their own prisoners, but some were unable to do it. As a young detective in the 14th Squad he recalls two 1st Grade Dets from the Pickpocket Squad who whenever they brought in a collar having to beg someone in the squad to print their prisoner as they could not do it themselves.

Another forgotten requirement for detective was that of attending the lineup. Every morning in the 4th floor lineup room at 240 Center Street, a lineup of prisoners arrested the previous day or night took place. Every morning 2 detectives from various squad had to send men to the lineup. Attendance was checked and anyone who missed the lineup was in big trouble. The object of the lineup was for detectives to become familiar with the city's criminals. In the early days of the lineup detectives wore masks so that the criminals would not be able to recognize them at a later date. The lineup was ended in the mid 1960s.


The first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty was Isaac Smith, who was killed on May 17, 1792. and in the Bronx too!!

At the time, the Bronx was Westchester County. He was a Westchester County Deputy Sheriff, and was placed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. two years ago, after proper documentation was provided.

My thanks to Mike Bosak for this info!


This site was found as a link to some obscure search, but was found to be pretty enjoyable. I�m certainly not advocating the replacement of sketch artists, but found this site to be quite interesting. I recall several years ago field testing a computerized version of this process - the recreating of a face by computer. It doesn�t have the touch of an artist-investigator, but the possibilities are astounding. Check it out and have some fun!

You can re-create a person's face on the Internet. Kind of limited on options, especially ears, but this site can be useful or entertaining depending on what you are looking for. http://flashface.flashmaster.ru/


Largest FREE Public Records Database Collection. Too many Categories to list - Check It Out

IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION AND SURVIVAL - Offers a guide to pre- venting personal identity fraud. Find suggested readings, a photographic gallery and links to professional services.


Here is an excellent site for a wide variety of crime topics. It includes a good forensic link which can provide helpful information to the investigator. It has been mentioned here before, but is worth doing so again. Bookmark this site!



The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has an excellent site devoted to the issue of Identity Theft. In addition to providing good information they have a downloadable Identity Theft Affidavit - a document which can act as an excellent tool for the investigator to provide to a complainant. While the limitations we have investigating these crimes may not be properly understood by a person who has been so victimized, the assistance we can provide them in helping them get their life back together will surely be appreciated. I have downloaded copies of this affidavit and made copies available to my detectives, and suggest you take a look at the site and consider the same. My feeling is that any help we can provide will go a long way.



These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A. Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've

Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke
that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.


The Minister has added some new books to the shelf, and I�d like to share this with you.

Thanks to a good friend who is retired in Florida (along with just about every other retired MOS over the age of 60?) I have added another copy of the book �CHIEF�. This book, written in 1974 by Al Seedman, the retired Chief of Detectives, are the memoirs of this legendary detective commander.

This book was already included in my collection, and the cover photo of Seedman is also framed and on the wall over my dest.

This newer copy, though, has the autograph of the Chief, inscribed to me, wishing me � continued success�. What a fantastic addition!


I heard that a certain RAM Sergeant spent a recent week in Florida, at Disney.

No, I mean I actually HEARD him. While visiting Miami myself this past weekend, I actually heard a certain RAM Sergeant (guess who!) discussing the lines he was waiting on while at Disney, some 200 miles away! Guess the wind was blowing right.

(They don�t call him Loud for nothing!!!)

Is it true Jimmy Leake tried to stowaway in a suitcase?

I also heard that you flew to Florida. I guess you decided against the Nicky Dimonda "drive-for-life" trip to Florida!

Monday, April 01, 2002


It was on a Sunday morning, March 25th 1990. The emergency message that went out from the Operations Unit was that over 80 people had died in a Social Club fire in The Bronx. As hard as it could be to imagine such a sight, it was accurate. Many calls came in to verify the info, which, unfortunately, was entirely accurate. So started the investigation of the 87 people killed at the Happy Land Social Club on Southern Boulevard in The Bronx. (Ironically, the worst previous fire in New York City was also on March 25th. The year was 1911 and the fire was at the Triangle Shirt Factory where 146 people perished.) Julio Gonzalez was convicted of setting the Happy Land Social Club fire and sentenced to 3000 years in jail.

To learn more about this tragic incident you can check out the following web site. It�s set up by author MARK GADO, and is titled �A River of Tears:Happy Land�



Great site for learning how to find company information.


The following site, �Lawyers Weekly�, has links to news items of interest to lawyers, including topics on criminal law.


Security Weekly News:

Want a quick, easy way to keep up with the news specific to corporate, commercial, industrial and government security executives? SECURITY Magazine's Web site at:

They have a DAILY NEWS service that's run in conjunction with the recognized LexisNexis information service. Nearly 100 full-text articles are posted daily in topics ranging from Fighting Terrorism to Life Safety and New Security Technology.

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The Malaysian Police are �mystified� over a recent burglary, as reported recently on many of the news wires.

A burglary of a large warehouse was discovered, and a search of the premises revealed the following. It seems the only property taken was $526,000. worth of �Fisherman�s Friend Cough Drops�.

Go figure!