Monday, March 31, 2003

(Note: Amended to correct typo problems)


On March 11, 2003, following a homicide in a laundromat in the 77 Precinct on Atlantic Ave, and the third ballistics match to the same 40 caliber handgun, a special homicide task force was established by Chief of Detectives George Brown to investigate these pattern crimes.

Under the command of Deputy Inspector Vito Spano,I along with four Sergeants and twenty Detectives comprised the nucleus of this Special Homicide Task Force. I am pleased to report that, in just under three weeks, we have apprehended and arrested this serial killer, who is responsible for four incidents in which he killed four people and wounded a fifth male, all because, as he explained it, "bad vibes" which then caused a "bad situation".

Much has been written and televised over the past several weeks concerning this pattern and its investigation, and I will not repeat specifics. I would like to make a few comments and observations, though.

The detectives and supervisors involved in this investigation worked so well together that you could not have chosen a better group if you tried! The basics of detective work were regularly practiced: run down leads, follow up on "hunches", be in the street talking to people, handing out flyers and photos, and knocking on doors. "Leave no stone unturned" was a motto repeated by someone often during this process. Follow up on tips, take any lead to its end, and start the process all over again. The work paid off.

I have to recognize the work contributed to this effort by some outside commands as well. I can safely say that the components of the Detective Bureau reacted properly, swiftly, and effectively whenever asked to perform.

The Crimestoppers Unit, led by Lt. Joe Lacorrazza, assisted in getting the word out with their "Tips Van", and then cutting through the red-tape to get flyers, posters, and Reward signs prepared for distribution in the street.

TARU, including Det. William Lappe among others, provided assistance in the recovery, review, and enhancement of surveillance footage that was so essential to this investigation. They truly performed above and beyond. I assure you that if you need to get a photo enhanced, they can do it. We tried commercial sources as well; they didn't work any better, and took longer. When telephone work needed to be done, they were there for us. I have said in the past, and I say it again, "When Detectives Need Help, They Call TARU"!The staff at TARU was truly in the game.

Also on board were those in Firearms Analysis, commonly known by their old term, Ballistics. Det?s Pete Liotta, Kevin Barry, and the entire staff at Ballistics were there whenever we needed them. I?m sure Pete Liotta sees the 40-cal striations and markings in his sleep! Also in the game were those in Latent Prints. Whenever we had a new lead, they answered our call and made comparisons quickly and efficiently. They were in the game.

The Medical Examiner's Office of Forensic Biology, once they were "pushed", got themselves into the game as well. DI Spano has a wealth of knowledge on DNA and its uses, and a lot was learned from him.

In the Chief of Detectives Office, Lt. Billy Donohue answered the call and jump-started those other "support" services that had a hard time seeing the mission. I cannot recall ever seeing a UF49 put anyone in handcuffs, although there are still those that must believe so. Billy Donohue helped get the work done first, so the mission could be worked, and the paper could follow. No small task, believe me. Thanks Billy.

The SWAMP of OCCB was also on board, and helped in the production of still photos, and the color copies for distribution. Also on board were the staff at Staples in the new mall on Erskine Street (off the Belt Pkwy) in the 75 Pct. They reproduced color copies of a flyer and prepared color copies of a surveillance photo for our distribution in the street, and did so quickly and without some of the red-tape we were getting used to. Staples didn't need the triple-endorsed 49, and had us out the door in 20 minutes. Sgt. Mike McGovern and Sgt. NORMAN Horowitz, of the Chief of Department's Office, also helped us in getting work done from support units that presented obstacles. Their help was greatly appreciated.

The Task Force, consisting of detectives from three separate Detective Boroughs and a fourth Detective division, sounds like a combination that could not work. But it did, and worked extremely well. The dedication of the members of this unit, and their desire to get the job done, made the task seem easy. Cooperation, information sharing, and a respect for each other and their investigative abilities, where each detective brought something of value to the table, is what allowed us to apprehend this monster in just under three weeks. Some will say it was luck. I say that luck is what comes from hard work.

My congratulations to each of those that worked so hard. You truly are deserving of the title, "The Greatest Detectives In The World".

The .40 Caliber Task Force:

DI Vito Spano Cold Case Squad
Capt. Patrick McAndrews Brooklyn North Detectives-Major Crimes
Lt. John Cornicello Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
Sgt. James Fenrich Queens Homicide Squad
Sgt. Michael Joyce 70 Squad
Sgt. Oscar Ferrufino Queens Robbery Squad
Sgt. Charles Ribando 75 Squad
Det. Kevin Barry Ballistics
Det. Frank Classi 106 Squad
Det. Wes Creegan 106 Squad
Det. Victoria d?Angelo Brooklyn North Narcotics
Det. Patrick Dolan Queens Cold Case Squad
Det. Robert Fragoletti Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
Det. James Gaynor Brooklyn South Homicide Squad
Det. Jay Genna 77 Squad
Det. Chevin Hutchinson Brooklyn North Warrant Squad
Det. James Kuhlmeier Brooklyn North Intell Team
Det. William Lappe TARU
Det. Peter Liotta Ballistics
Det. Michael Martin 72 Squad
Det. Kevin McMahon 63 Squad
Det. Ronald Orgias 77 Squad
Det. Robert Ortero Latent Prints
Det. Michael Panichi 77 Squad
Det. Louis Savarese Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
Det. William Schmittgall Queens Homicide Squad
Det. Harold Salters Brooklyn North Warrant Squad
Det. Michael Sullivan 71 Squad
Det. Georgina Valentin Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
Det. Anthony Viggiani Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
Det. John Warner Queens Robbery Squad
Det. Paul Wasiliewski 75 Squad
Det. Richard Wendelken Brooklyn North Intell Team
Det. Edward Wilkowski Queens Homicide Squad

Sunday, March 30, 2003


I have to thank Ret. Capt Frank Bolz for his recent correspondence adding to the �Detective Tradition�.

One of the things Frank recalls was a word he was taught as being important for almost any investigation. This goes back to his Detective days in 1958, in a Brooklyn North squad, at the urgings of an old-time detective squad commander.


Get Off Your Ass and Knock On Doors! Certainly essential, as was noted previously as one of the Four Essential Steps of homicide investigations. It also reinforces the other prior noted quote by Insp. Francis Phillips.

You won�t have any �stoolies�, and don�t expect the phone to ring, if you�re not out there �pounding the bricks�. Canvassing by the detective is like cold-calling to the salesman. The slogan �Talk To Me� may be used by the Hostage Negotiation Team, but is certainly apropos to basic detective work.

�Talk To Me�, could also become �Tell Me�!


As noted by the renowned Frank Bolz, when he made Detective in 1958 no one threw his new shield, but they did throw his fedora out the window.

He recalls the Chief of Detectives telling him, �Hey kid, get a hat if you�re going to be a detective�.

Another lost detective tradition, the fedora!


Here�s some more classic lines from the Brooklyn North Squad Rooms:

Det to perp: �There�s an allegation against you��
Perp: �Officer, I gotta talk to the alligator!�

Perp to Det: �I demand a polygram!�

Sign on a car repair shop:
�We Fix Automated Transitions�



Wednesday, March 26, 2003


I recently received an e-mail from a retired Detective from the 81 Squad, asking me if I ever heard of the tradition of throwing the shield of a newly promoted Detective as a sign of good luck. I have to admit that I had not heard that. I asked Ret Det1 John Reilly the same, and he also had not heard this.

Throwing the new detective shield is, in fact, a tradition known to other Brooklyn North Detectives.

Det1 Lou Savarese confirmed this tradition. Louie stated this is a long-standing tradition, as a sign of good luck, going back many years.

Louie recalled being a newly promoted gold shield in the 79 Squad, and having one of the �old timers� throw his shield � right out the window onto Greene Avenue! No one seems to recall how this started, or when, but it certainly has a history around here.

If any other readers can add to this tradition, please send me an e-mail.

Sean Jennings, retired from the 81 Squad, recalled throwing his friends shield into another room after his promotion and being thanked for doing so. John Reilly added that perhaps this was a Brooklyn North tradition that did not make its way into Manhattan, where he worked when he made Detective. According to John, the only tradition he recalls was that when he got his shield he had to take the squad out for drinks, and that when promoted to First Grade you were expected to throw a party for yourself.


As noted previously on this site, and taken from Lt. Sundance Panzarella and the legendary Ret. Lt Dan Kelly, the following are the �Four Steps That Solve Homicides�:

Crime Scenes

Crime Scene processing for the preservation and recovery of evidence is essential.

Talking to people, canvassing the area, and the debriefing of individuals is one of the most important steps to a good investigation. A good detective is like a good salesman; talking to others constantly, seeking information, is what makes a detective a �good� detective. Never discount the importance of a canvass. A canvass is NOT a tedious task assigned to those for the sake of making �busy� work; canvasses are essential investigative steps! Do them with a positive attitude, and you will receive positive results. (A little elaboration by The Minister here).

Record searches, background checks, and computer database reviews are the tasks that put a good case together.

Surveillance, observation, and the apprehension of the identified suspect, which you derived from completing the other three tasks, closes your case with positive results.

Interviews produce tips that lead to surveillance and apprehensions!


Forensic Firearm Identification: An introduction to forensic firearm identification.
This is a very interesting site, that was referred by Mr Compstat himself.



When a bullet strikes an object, such as clothing, a bullet entrance hole is created and in a lot of cases the bullet will pass through the object and produce an exit hole on the backside.

Bullet entrance holes typically have very even margins. Almost all non-contact bullet entrance holes will be smaller in diameter than the bullet due to the elasticity of the fabric. Some firmer materials and larger caliber bullets with large hollow point cavities may cause bullet entrance holes to be closer to the actual bullet's diameter but in most cases the diameter of the bullet entrance hole will be of little help in determining the caliber of the bullet.

Contact entrance holes will typically show extreme damage to the material of a garment. Generally speaking, the higher the velocity of the cartridge the greater the damage to the garment in a contact gunshot.

Bullets that strike a target at an extreme angle will usually leave an elongated hole. These holes typically will still have fairly even margins.

A common characteristic of bullet entrance holes is the presence of bullet wipe residue. Not always apparent on darker colored materials, bullet wipe residue is a darkened ring around the immediate margins of the hole. This ring of residue is caused by lead being wiped from the surface of the bullet as it passes through the material. Lead bullets normally leave the heaviest deposits of bullet wipe residue but it is not unusual for jacketed bullets to also deposit bullet wipe residue. Lead fouling in the barrel and lead primer residues can be on the surface of a jacketed bullet.

More on Exit Holes in a future posting!
(Thanks to the Forensic Firearms site for this information).


Hope all of the Hostage Negotiators will be able to attend the Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration of the Hostage Negotiation Team, being held on Thursday, April 3 beginning at 8 am.

The event will take place at John Jay College, and will feature guest speakers such as Ret. Capt � and one of the HNT founders � Frank Bolz along with Dr. Harvey Schlossberg, also a Retired Detective and original HNT member.

Your $20 registration fee will be good for a catered breakfast and lunch as well as a special commemorative gift for all who attend.

Please contact Lt. Jack Cambria of HNT at 646-610-8763 for more info.


E-Mail at:

Sunday, March 23, 2003


Policewomen served in a separate bureau, the Policewomen�s Bureau, until 1967, when 180 women were assigned to precinct desk jobs.

In 1972, 15 women volunteered to go on patrol as an experiment.

The following year, with the experiment deemed a success, both the Policewomen's Bureau and the title of "policewoman" were abolished. A new title of "police officer" was established for both male and female members of the service, and hundreds of female police officers joined the NYPD patrol force.


Reverse Directory- Here is a good one to check out:

Here�s yet another multi-link site. Good starting point for internet searches, mapquest, and telephone directories.


Raymond Pierce, a Retired Detective from NYPD, was appointed to the New York City Police Department in 1970, and in 1973 he was promoted to detective. He worked predominantly in the Seven-Five (75th) Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn.

He was later assigned to the Sex Crimes Squad, and soon after attended a Profiling Seminar conducted by the FBI in Quantico, VA in 1985.

In 1985, Pierce had a year long fellowship in psychological profiling at the FBI National Academy, Quantico, Va. After his FBI fellowship, he established the Criminal Assessment and Profiling Unit of the NYPD Detective Bureau. That unit assisted investigators with serial crimes and unsolved major case investigations.
From 1986 to 1998, he assisted federal, state, and local investigators in over one thousand criminal investigations. Detective Pierce has lectured to thousands of investigators nationally and internationally on homicide and sex crimes investigation, Criminal Investigative Analysis, stalking, interview and interrogation, serial murder, threat analysis, white collar crime, suspect evaluation and advanced investigative techniques. He also was the primary lecturer and coordinator of the Now York City Police Department's Homicide Investigator's Course from 1986 to 1998.

He retired from the NYPD in October 1998 and established RMP International, a consultant firm located in Crestwood, N.Y., specializing in psychological profiling, wrongful death evaluation, threat analysis, and other specialized security matters. He advises attorneys, corporate security and private investigators, and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Raymond Pierce holds a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science and a master's degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. He is also a contributing author to the Criminal and Civil Investigation Handbook, and appears often as an expert on criminal profiling and sex offender patterns.


On May 23, 1845, a municipal police force of 800 men was established by the Board of Aldermen in New York City.

While the men wore no uniform, they were equipped with a star-shaped copper badge worn on the left breast of their coats.

They soon came to be called the star police and later �coppers� and �cops�.

The first set of printed rules was issued to the force in 1848. Uniforms were introduced in 1853. In 1857 the state took over the administration of the city�s police. The Metropolitan police District, responsible for the counties of New York, Kings, Richmond and Westchester, replaced the Municipal Police. Three years later, the Metropolitan Police District was extended to include the towns of Newtown, Flushing and Jamaica.

In 1863 the police force surmounted its greatest crisis, putting down the Civil War draft riots, in which 1200 rioters were killed and 7,000 injured.

In 1870 the state legislature ended the Metropolitan Police in New York City and created a Police Department under a Board of Police consisting of 4 Commissioners appointed by the Mayor.


At local taverns, pubs and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts."

Hence, the term "minding your "'P's and Q's."

Monday, March 10, 2003

Kid, the police lab is fine and our fingerprint identification procedures are the best in the world. There�s no police department that has the wonderful, scientific aids to crime detection that we have. But the most important pinches I�ve made came because some stool I knew phoned me and said, "You�ll find the hood who did the West Side Killing in Room 314 at the Bedford Hotel�.

1955- Insp. Francis J. Phillips
NYPD, C.O. Detective Bureau


One of the world's more unusual crime-solving organizations meets on the top floor of the historic Public Ledger Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The members of The Vidocq Society honor Eug�ne Fran�ois Vidocq, the 18th century French detective who founded the S�ret�, by applying their collective forensic skills and experience to "cold case" homicides and unsolved deaths. At Vidocq luncheons, (much like at the Conference of Brooklyn North Detective Squad Commanders luncheons) Vidocq Society Members (V.S.M.'s) evaluate, investigate, and often solve the unsolved crimes that are brought to them.

V.S.M.'s are composed of both forensic professionals and other private citizens who, as a public service, donate centuries of deductive, scientific and other talents for the common good.
If a case meets Vidocq criteria and the investigating agency welcomes their participation, V.S.M.'s serve in the background in a re-investigation that may result in the prosecution of the person or persons who are responsible for the crime.
The current 82 Vidocq Society Members (VSM's), one for each year of Mr. Vidocq's life, comprise a unique group of forensic experts from around the world. Only 150 people have ever been chosen to wear the distinctive Vidocq red, white, and blue rosette.

The Vidocq credo is Veritas Veritatum - The Truth of Truths.
Perhaps we in Brooklyn North should consider wearing a green, blue and white rosette when we meet for our Conference luncheons?


The Retired Emergency Man's Association.

This organization �was created to keep people in touch with others who were assigned to, or had a connection with, the NYPD Emergency Service Unit after they have gone on to other endeavors.�

"Once an E-Man, Always an E-Man". The E-Spirit continues on as strong and important in our lives as ever.

They have a very good web site with a lot of interesting information; why not check it out and bookmark it for the future?


I apologize to the readers of this site in that I failed to formally recognize that February 26 was the 15 Year Anniversary of the death of PO Edward Byrne.

Fifteen years ago Edward Byrne was assassinated in what was one of the most highly publicized, brutal slaying to take place in many years.

Little introduction is needed to recall that morning, when Byrne was stationed in a radio car guarding the home of a drug witness, when he was assassinated without warning.

Friends and fellow officers from the 103 Precinct commemorated Byrne this past February 26, when they gathered on the corner of 107 Avenue and Inwood Street, South Jamaica, placing flowers and lighting candles in his memory.

Never let the memory of Edward Byrne be lost.



Contains lots of resource centers dealing with various aspects of investigation, with multiple articles, links, resources, reviews and more!

Multi-Link Source for Investigators


Supreme Court To Weigh Police Liability

Md.'s Chief Moose Faces Ethics Review


In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair.

Commonly, a long wide board was folded down from the wall and used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Once in a while an invited guest would be offered to sit in this chair during a meal whom was almost always a man.

To sit-in the chair meant you were important and in charge. Sitting in the chair, one was called the "chair man."

Today, in business, we use the expression/title "Chairman."


You can send e-mail to...

Monday, March 03, 2003


Shield 4721, come in to Operations� Operations to Shield 4721

I remember that radio transmission as if it was coming over the air at this minute.

I was working in the plainclothes Citywide Task Force, Transit Police Department. It was September 21, 1984. I was working with my steady partner, Jimmy, who came to the Task Force from District 33 the same time I did. We were two white-shield plainclothes cops working a �Train Patrol� post in the Bronx. We were looking to make arrests and write summonses. The Task Force was the department�s career path into the Detective Division. Anyone from Transit will recall the Task Force and �Dunlap�s Pie� � the measuring stick created by Capt. John Dunlap to evaluate the Police Officers, and ultimately rank them for entrance into the Detective Division � and the gold shield.

Jimmy and I had just stepped off a southbound #4 train at 161 Street. With Yankee Stadium as the backdrop, we were writing two summonses for people smoking on the train. The Task Force of the Transit Police was doing quality-of-life enforcement as a means to repressing crime long before it was chic to do so.

Shield 4721, come in� Operations to Shield 4721...

I recognized the identifier immediately; Shield 4721 was PO Irma �Fran� Lozada. I recognized the shield because I worked with Fran in District 33, where we went after we graduated the Police Academy in the spring of 1982. Fran was still working in District 33, in the Anti-Crime assignment that I left behind to take the Task Force spot I was in. If you wanted to be a detective, you had to go to Task Force. I was there, Fran stayed in District 33. She went for the interview, and was approved for the Task Force the same time I was. We would have gone to Task Force and partnered up, having worked together in District 33, but she was talked out of the move by a current boyfriend from District 1. The work in Task Force was ridiculed by him, and she listened. Fran stayed in District 33, I left for the Task Force.

When you understand the radio system of the Transit Police at that time, you understand how it was that I was monitoring this radio transmission. I was in the Bronx, Fran worked Brooklyn. Why was this coming over the air?

The Transit Police radio system was a simplistic one; there were only two radio frequencies. One frequency for the above-ground RMP�s, a second for all the other portable units on patrol. One frequency, with many different repeaters and antennas throughout the transit system. The dispatcher would activate the closest antenna for the unit he was broadcasting to. The dispatcher in Brooklyn would activate the Brooklyn antennas; in the Bronx, the Bronx antennas. All radio broadcasts over the same frequency, but only those radios closest to the underground antenna would receive the broadcast (in theory). Much has been written about the transit police radios; their operability was always an unknown, at best. Anyway, if you were above ground � as I was in the Bronx at the time � you could pick up all sorts of radio transmissions from the outdoor antennas. Hence, I was receiving the Brooklyn broadcast in the Bronx.

Shield 4721, come in to Operations...

They would never receive a reply to that call. Shield 4721 could not answer her radio because she lay dead in a vacant, weeded lot in Bushwick. She was shot with her own gun, after pleading for her life, by a low life whose only other claim may be that he shares a similar name to a Yankee great.

Fran Lozada was the first female police officer to be killed in the line of duty in New York City. She chased a chain snatcher from the train at the Wilson Avenue station of the �L� line, as we had done times before. She was alone at the time; in plainclothes, working in Anti-Crime, she was separated from her partner. Had they split up for their meal period, with plans to reunite at the end of meal? Had they been separated when they entered the train en-route back to the command for meal? Does it really matter? Fran chased the culprit from the station onto Cooper Avenue, through a lot next to the train tracks, into a weeded area. She chased him because she was a cop. That�s what she did, alone or not. The Transit PD Communications Unit received no radio broadcast from Fran; maybe she was in a radio dead spot, maybe she never got to her radio. The fact remains that after a chase, then using a ruse that she was looking for a lost dog, she confronted the thief at gunpoint in an empty lot. When she tried to cuff him � alone � she was overpowered by the creep. Court records indicate that she pleaded with him. He shot her to death with her own gun and fled.

She lay in the garbage strewn lot behind a cemetery building for several hours.

I was seated in the District 11 Office inside the 161 Street Station, with my partner, completing our paperwork, when we learned that a female cop in Brooklyn was found dead. The report said she had been missing, and after several hours of searching, she was found in an empty lot, the victim of gunshot wounds. We learned it was Fran, and hitched a ride with two PBA Board Members who were heading to District 33. Their plans to make a PBA election speech before the roll call had quickly changed. We drove there in a Board Member�s VW bug; a somber and silent ride.

I was at the lot, and saw Teddy, the District 33 cop I shared an RMP with times before. Teddy was the low keyed, experienced cop that let nothing bother him. Teddy was a practical joker who opened himself up to the rookies. He was assigned to an RMP that night, his regular post, and when I saw him I instantly knew he was the cop who found Fran in the lot. Years later, when I ran into him at a Home Depot, we chatted for a good fifteen minutes. Neither of us could bring up that night.

A Lieutenant who later became Chief of the Transit Bureau grabbed me by the arm, and walked me away from the scene. �You don�t want to go in there, John�. When he was a Sergeant in District 33, it was he who teamed Fran and myself up in plainclothes, when the District Captain was worried about two people still on probation (we were the first class with an 18-month probation period) working in plainclothes. We showed him he made the right choice by coming back having written a book of summonses the first night, and with two collars the next night. He walked me away from the scene.

I was standing in the street when I learned the scant details of what happened. She was working with her regular partner, who now had become the target of blame by some of his peers. I can�t even think about that.

I spoke with the Desk Officer when I called from the Bronx. The Desk Lieutenant was a solid professional; a great cop, and the one who talked me into making the move to Task Force. He convinced me the chance of a gold shield was there at Task Force; he couldn�t convince Fran of the same. He was still there on the Desk when I got to District 33. A lot of finger pointing was to be done soon: why was there a delay in commencing an all-out search, who notified whom, things to that effect. After that night it�s safe to say that he would never be the same again.

I was there when the Sergeant cleaned out Fran�s locker. Your personal belongings placed in a plastic garbage bag. No one ever wants that task.

I was there when her partner walked back into the District from that horrific night. I watched him walk into the command, around the desk, and commence filling out his overtime slip. He filled out his overtime slip. I wished I had the nerve to do what another cop did on the street with him.

Fran�s killer was caught quickly. Some great detective work went into a canvass that produced a witness; some greater detective work went into convincing the witness to tell what she saw. These same detectives picked up the creep, and conducted a great interview that included an admission that would help send him to jail for the rest of his life. A senseless killing. What a waste.

Shield 4721, come in� Operations to Shield 4721�.