Thursday, April 13, 2006


When the policing in New York City was in its infancy, back in 1651, the first people involved in the job of law enforcement were citizens selected as �watchmen� who would patrol their neighborhood at night.

If the watchman needed assistance, they would simply twirl a wooden ratchet or �rattle� that they carried; hence the tour of duty became known as the �Rattle Watch.�

Ninety years later, watchmen turned in their rattles for a bell and lantern, making it much easier for other members of the public to find them at night. The �bellmen,� as they were now called, also carried an hourglass, as they were required to inform the public of the time every hour which, not only made it easier for the public to find them, but it also proved that they were still awake.

This primitive method of using a hand-held bell to summon assistance may have been fine for a small town or village, but as New York City grew, so did the need for a more advanced system.

It was no surprise that when the Municipal Police (later known as the New York City Police Department) was officially founded in 1845, that one of the first orders of business was to adopt the latest miracle of technology, the telegraph. Instantly successful, precincts now had the ability to communicate directly with Headquarters, but cops on the street had to wait until 1885 before the first telegraphic signal boxes would be installed on the streets.

Once the experimental boxes were set up patrolmen, using Morse Code, were now able to contact the precinct in a matter of seconds, and the desk lieutenant could now be alerted of emergencies in the field, such as a fire, in a more rapid manner.

Required to carry a signal box key at all times, patrolmen also carried a code book and originally rang the precinct at whatever frequency the duty captain had ordered. Exempt from these regulations were a small group of �responsible citizens� who had also been given keys. Later, patrolmen were required to signal the house three times each tour, which was recorded in a special signal box log at the stationhouse. (Did you think there wouldn�t be a log for this??)


The February 1962 issue of SPRING 3100 in the 81 Precinct�s �Looking �Em Over� column, notes a fine arrest made by an even finer gumshoe!

�Ptl Catrone teamed up with Det Bolz to nab a team of burglars that specialized in burglarizing Puerto Rican homes.�

Det Bolz is none other than Retired Captain Frank Bolz of Hostage Negotiation fame, and avid reader of this blog site!! Frank is very proud to say his roots are in Brooklyn North (although back then I believe it was Brooklyn East).


The June 1957 issue of Spring 3100 notes a heroic action by an off duty Detective from the 77 Squad.

Hero Detective Nathaniel Greer of the 77 Squad received honors from the Journal-American newspaper and the Daily News, for the month of April 1957.

At about 1:15 am on April 25, 1957, the sleuth was walking his dog on Saratoga Avenue when he heard the scream of a 23-year old woman who had been followed from a subway station and pulled into a hallway by a mugger.

When Greer reached the woman, he found her being held artound the neck with a knife pressed to her back by the tyhief.

As he saw the thug holding the woman, the detective identified himself and grappled with the man. In the ensuing struggle the robber ran out of the hallway. The detective pursued him north on Saratoga Avenue to Macon Street, but the officer�s warning shot failed to halt the mugger.

The chase continued for three blocks when the man forced open the door of a 4-story tenement and raced up the stairs to the darkened roof. As Greer approached him, the man suddenly attacked the officer, lashing out with a 3 �� knife, cutting the detective on the finger. Greer was able to fire a shot from his weapon, hitting the thug and felling him.

Great collar by this detective, who was accompanied to the award ceremony by his wife, his 4 children and his mother.

I particularly associated with this story � Detective from the 77 Squad, incident in 81 / 79 Precinct confines, victim walking from a transit location � but it left me with a few questions as well.

What did he do with the dog he was walking? And did you notice the mention of the �warning shot�?


Back when I was in the 77 Squad, a dear friend, John Barba, started keeping track of some fantastic, actual quotes � stuff you couldn�t make up even if you wanted to.

Well, John is gone, and I miss him everyday. But one of the things he did for me was to make a copy, and send me, his log of �quotable quotes�. Every time I hear another gem of a quote I can just picture John Barba�s sly smile and that look in his eye to let you know he caught it as well.

Some of these I may have printed on this site in years past � but nevertheless, they are certainly worth repeating. Keep in mind that these are actual quotes � some from complainants, witnesses, prisoner debriefings � and many from other Detectives!


�That�s putting the horse before the cart�

�If you don�t like the smell of Ben-Gay, try using the senseless kind�

�I got a mind brain headache (migraine headache)�

�He�s like a bull in a china closet�

�Behind every cloud is a silver platter�

�Go through everything with a fine toothbrush�

�Too many fires on the iron�

�We�re all making some shingles� (shekels)

�Let�s shake some feathers, or ruffle the trees�

�What time was the pronunciation�? (pronouncement of death)

�He�s in a seduced (induced) coma�

�I want her arrested, she kicked me in my test cycles (testicles)�

�She�s my wife-in-law� (common law wife)

�The statue of liberties (statute of limitations) passed on that charge�

�I�m an oppartunour.� (entrepreneur)

�I don�t speak English, I speak American�.

�I�m no criminal, I�m on parole�.

�I shot in self defense, I�m a defendant�.

�He don�t drink, he has sore roses (cirrhosis) of the liver�.

�She speaks English and Spanish, she�s bilateral�. (bilingual)

�I took one of those elastic altitude (scholastic aptitude) tests when I was upstate�.

�Can I play solitary on the computer on my break?� (solitaire)

�He�s got Al�s-Hammer (Alzheimer�s) disease�

�It was one of those 2 lebonese girls that live down the street�. (Lesbian)

�I got minstrel (menstrual) pain�.

�The bullet went in my thigh and missed my tentacles (testicles)�.

�The doctor said he got trouble with his veins from flea bites (phlebitis)�.

�The Arabs got biodegradable weapons.� (Biological weapons)

�He�s not a Baptist, he�s an Episcopal Alien�.

�I had a depraved (deprived) childhood�.

�I got an upper repository (respiratory) infection�.

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

�He can�t come to work. He has conductors eye sores�. (Conjunctivitis)

�Somebody has to come here to sign the affa-davis�. (affidavit)

�You know, that Ornamental (Oriental) Chinese looking guy down the block�

�That�s one of them bomb dogs, it�s a Laboratory Receiver.� (Labrador Retriever)


It�s always a nice time of the year, as spring takes over and the weather changes for the better. It's also that time of the year when barbs fly around the squad room over whose team will be better - Mets versus Yankees, and then there's always the Red Sox connection - when Spring Training becomes opening day. What�s been going on around the Squad Rooms?

Congratulations are definitely in order for Bobby Rivera of the 77 Sqd, who recently received a very deserving promotion to Detective First Grade! I had the privilege of working directly with Bobby in the 77 Squad, and he personifies a First Grade Detective for sure. Maybe we�ll keep him around Brooklyn North a little longer?.... I know Dave Stein is certainly hoping so. Look around every squad room, and the story is the same. Where have all the Detectives gone? Hoping to see an influx of some new gumshoes in the near future�. Some familiar faces from the past made their way to the recent retirement celebration at Russo�s. Joe Ferrara had a great turnout, of family and friends, celebrating his retirement after 40 years. A former partner, John Howard, made it in from California, bypassing that of Mike Chason who came in from Chicago to see Tommy Joyce!.... Tommy Joyce, who also looked great that night, is another big loss to this department. Tommy often helped ease my mind acting as a sounding board when things weren�t going just right, or as a conciliator to aggravating times. Tommy is sorely missed by me, and by the department � a true caring leader, who has gone on to a next life. I sorely miss Tommy at Brooklyn North events, especially supervisor�s meetings � at a time when I would be the �quiet� one!�. Mike McWilliams looks great as always, enjoying the retired life that comes with great ease. Fishing, keeping tabs on the boat and watching out for Danny Powers sure keeps Mike busy enough�. Chuck Ribando hasn�t been getting out as often as in the past at familiar Farmingdale haunts, now that he has taken over as Chief Investigator for the Nassau County DA�s Office. Congratulations to Chuck, and as a Nassau resident I feel safer already!.... John Muller sure looked very spiffy, as retirement seems to be suiting him well. He�s been doing some super-secret work for another former Brooklyn North sleuth, Bo Dietl; wonder if Bo lets him feast on martini�s and sushi? Sorry that I didn�t get the opportunity to share a cigar with John, but hoping to be able to make up for that real soon�. One pleace I didn�t want to find myself was having a conversation standing between Steve Feeley and Sal Brajuha � two six and a half footers with my small portly frame between them, must have looked like some sight! It�s always great to see Steve, though, and catch up on going�s on with him � Steve�s retirement was a great loss to us in Brooklyn North, and we�re still trying to make up for it! �. Neil Tasso looked great as always, and the way things are going we may have to start assigning cases to him and Jerry Rupprecht again! �. Porkchop Joe Herbert does still exist! Seriously, it was great to see Joe, who is always busy keeping Terrorists on the run. Joe is another of those great losses we�ve had to endure in Brooklyn North; I miss Joe a lot, and don�t get to see him nearly enough. I know that murder is still in Joe�s heart (I mean that in a good, �buffy� sort of way), and wish I had more time to spend with him�. Does anyone know what happened to Steve Stemmler�s hair? What was that little spike move on top? �. Was that Angel Jimenez walking out with doggie bags of food? �. We�re still trying to make sense out of what happened to a certain Detective in Homicide who volunteered for the department�s peer assistance program, to be a counselor, but was rejected. We wonder what could have gone on at that interview session to be rejected as a volunteer peer counselor? Guess his hope to become a Hostage Negotiator should be re-evaluated?... Speaking of baseball, have you seen the new SNY channel for Mets fans? Jay Genna must be doubly happy - the Mets have their own channel, and their loss to Fox Sports channel has left them with a programming assignment - and it seems they've introduced a Boston Sports show to their network! We all know how much of a Red Sox fan Jay is; one can't wonder if he had anything to do with getting that show onto Fox? .... Remember hockey? Well, the Rangers are gearing up for the playoffs, and playoff tickets are sure to be around. Timmy Duffy has had a smile on his face for a few weeks - could it be Stanley Cup fever? ... Note to Johnny K: The "new" coffee club is great - we have pretzels, peanuts, little tiny chocolate candies, a water cooler - but we have no more milk or sugar! How about some half & half? ... Be safe out there!


April 12, 1929 Ptl Andrew McLean-Wood, NFI
April 13, 1961 Ptl Robert Dugo, 6 Pct, LOD heart attack
April 13, 1988 PO Anthony McLean, PSA2, Shot- investigation
April 14, 1907 Ptl George Sechler, 16 Pct, Shot � arrest
April 14, 1929 Ptl William Schmeller, 32 Pct, Accident � auto pursuit
April 15, 1857 Ptl Stephen Hardenbrook, 9Dist MetroPDNY, Stabbed-arrest
April 15, 1932 Ptl James Morrissey, Traffic F, Auto accident on patrol
April 15, 1968 Ptl John Banks, ESU, LOD heart attack
April 16, 1907 Ptl Alfred Selleck, 16 Pct, Shot � arrest
April 16, 1955 Ptl Andrew Reynolds, 107 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
April 17, 1925 Ptl Thomas Kelly, 12 Div, Shot � arrest, GLA
April 17, 1938 Ptl Humbert Morruzzi, 9 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
April 18, 1936 Ptl Leroy Sheares, 32 Pct, stabbed, arrest
April 19, 1963 Ptl Kenneth Cozier, ESU, LOD heart attack


Spring seems to be busting at the seams; hoping all get a chance to enjoy some quality time with friends and loved ones!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I�ve written previously on this site about Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino � the only NYPD member to have been killed in the line of duty on foreign soil.

Well, a recent article in the New York Sun that was written by James Coll, a Detective assigned to ESU1 adds some additional information that is worth repeating on this site.
It was noted that the intersection of Kenmare and Lafayette Streets in Manhattan is a triangular park named in memory of Lt Joseph Petrosino. (This park is across the street from a bar of very recent notoriety � The Falls.)

Giuseppe Petrosino was appointed to the NYPD on October 19, 1883 (Shield # 285). In November of 1906 he was promoted to Lieutenant and made C.O. of the NYPD�s �Italian Legion�. Lt. Joe Petrosino was assassinated while walking through Marine public square in Palermo, Italy on March 12th, 1909, after NYPD Police Commissioner Theodore A. Bingham held a news conference and with stupidity announced that the NYPD had an undercover police officer working on the �Black Hand� in Italy.

�In March of 1909, newspapers throughout the city, across the nation, and around the world lamented the death of Giuseppe "Joseph" Petrosino. Mourners, estimated at 200,000 strong, turned out to line the streets of the city to watch the funeral casket pass by in procession. He had lived as he had died: A hero of the metropolis.�

Petrosino arrived in New York City in 1873 as a young boy from Salerno, Italy. Only ten years later, not long after sailing into New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty to begin his life in America, he found himself among the ranks of the New York City Police Department.

In 1895, Petrosino was appointed detective sergeant by then-Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.

Petrosino's heritage and commanding presence - despite being only 5 feet, 4 inches tall - made him a natural to lead a new unit known as the Italian Squad. This select group of New York's Finest was a precursor to the present-day Bomb Squad. It was formed to combat the unusually high number of bombings perpetrated by the Black Hand against Italian merchants and shopkeepers who refused to comply with the organized crime syndicate's extortion attempts.

Many immigrants at the turn of the century had been distrustful of patrolmen. Yet in Petrosino and his squad, the cautious new arrivals found men they could trust. Before long, the activity of the arsonists and bomb throwers had been cut in half and, in 1906, Petrosino was rewarded with a promotion to lieutenant.

Lawmakers in Washington in 1907 also tried their hand at putting down such violence with the passage of a law aimed at keeping would-be immigrants determined to commit crimes from coming to America. The law called for the deportation of any immigrant within three years of arrival who had concealed from American officials a previous criminal record in their native country.

Naturally, the department selected the best man for the job to help implement the new legislation. Lt. Petrosino was aware of the dangers such an assignment presented. Despite the threat to his own safety, and with a pregnant wife at home, he traveled to Italy on what was supposed to be a secret assignment investigating the police records of such criminals.

The police commissioner and the mayor, however, were so proud to send Lt. Petrosino to his country of birth that they boasted to reporters, who did their job readily and printed news of the supposedly clandestine excursion. Upon arrival in Palermo, Petrosino was to meet with two men who would provide valuable information.

Instead of meeting informants, as Lt. Petrosino waited beside a statue in Marina Square he was met with an assassin's bullet. The mafia, no doubt, had heard of the lieutenant's arrival as well.�

An aside to this story, added by Ret Sgt Mike Bosak, notes that what the author, James Coll, is kind enough to omit is the fact that Gen. Theodore A. Bingham, an autocratic and headstrong police commissioner (January 1, 1906 - July 1, 1909) had actually announced the above to the world at a press conference. Since the department had actively publicized Petrosino's police career, his Italian heritage, and his work on the 'Black Hand'; it didn't take a brain surgeon to put two and two together. This effectively sealed Petrosino�s fate.

Today, a century after Petrosino made his final, tragic journey across the Atlantic Ocean and as New York detectives are now similarly stationed around the world to combat international crime and terrorism.

The Department of Parks and Recreation recently announced a $2 million renovation project of Lt. Petrosino Square. Preliminary plans call for an expansion of the park and an up-to-date revitalization of the immediate area.

Editors Note: This story illustrates how the official release of confidential law enforcement information can be even more harmful than the unauthorized release of inconsequential information.


Looking over an old edition of Spring 3100, from April 1976, uncovered a small blurb that�s worth mentioning.

In the �At Your Command� section, some good collars were noted in the 23 Precinct.

Among them was a good arrest fro Robbery by (now Retired Lt. Joe) FERRARA, and a good burglary arrest by (DB XO- Asst. Chief Robert) GIANELLI. Good work by this crime-fighting duo!

Joe Ferrara just recently retired, noted previously on this site as Lt-CDS of the 75 Squad, this past January with over forty years on the job, and Chief Gianelli is still going strong as the Detective Bureau�s X.O.

By the way, that same issue saw some real estate listed for sale, including an 4-bedroom colonial on 100 x 100 property in Babylon for $42,000, and a 6 room home in the Gibson section of Valley Stream for $46,500. My how real estate prices have changed!


Raymond Chandler�s classic gumshoe Philip Marlowe has been described as the quintessential American detective. Starring in such stories as �The Big Sleep�, �Farewell My Lovely� as well as some six other hard-boiled crime fiction collections, he displayed effortless masculinity, smoldering sexuality, and a verbal fleetness that remains the embodiment of cool. He liked liquor, women, and working alone, and combined a rough exterior with an unshakable code of honor.

Here are some quotes on Philip Marlowe�s guide to life.

On Blondes:
�It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick in a stained glass window.�

On Booze:
�There was a sad fellow over on a bar stool talking to the bartender, who was polishing a glass and listening with that plastic smile people wear when they are trying not to scream.�

�I don�t drink. The more I see of people who do, the more glad I am that I don�t.�

On brass knuckles:
�If you�re big enough you don�t need them, and if you need them you�re not big enough to push me around.�

On coffee:
�I went out to the kitchen to make coffee � yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life-blood of tired men.�

On cops:
�An honest cop with a bad conscience always acts tough. So does a dishonest cop. So does almost anyone, including me.�

�Cops are just people,� she said irrelevantly. �They start out that way, I�ve heard.�

�He was the kind of cop who spits on his blackjack every night instead of saying his prayers.�

On crime:
�That�s the difference between crime and business. For business you gotta have capital. Sometimes I think it�s the only difference.�

�Crime isn�t a disease, it�s a symptom.�

�We�re a big rough rich wild people and crime is the price we pay for it, and organized crime is the price we pay for organization.�

On dames:
�I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.�

�I didn�t ask to see you. You sent for me. I don�t mind your ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch bottle. I don�t mind your showing me your legs. They�re very swell legs and it�s a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don�t mind if you don�t like my manners. They�re pretty bad. I grieve over them during long winter evenings.�

�Then she lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theater curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.�

On death:
�A dead man is the best fall guy in the world. He never talks back.�


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The last posting to this site noted the line of duty deaths, in 1978 of PO�s Cerullo and Masone of the 79 Pct, and the 1972 murder of Ptl Cardillo of the 28 Precinct.

Please note the following, which has been previously published on this site, but certainly worth repeating for any who may have missed them.

April 2, 1978: PO Norman Cerullo & PO Christie Masone, 79 Pct
Officers Cerullo and Massone were shot after stopping two men on a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in the 79 Pct.

The radio car partners were slain in a gun battle in the early hours of April 2, 1978 when they stopped to question 2 men near an alley at Willoughby Street and Throop Avenue, in the 79 Precinct in Brooklyn.

Officer Masone noticed a gun on one of the men and when he attempted to remove it the man began grappling with him. As PO Cerullo came to his partner�s aid, the second suspect opened fire with a 9mm automatic pistol. Although PO Cerullo managed to get four shots off, both he and Masone fell mortally wounded.

The man who attacked Masone was also killed in the gunfire from his former associate.

The killer, although wounded in the groin, managed to flee the scene by car, but only drove a few blocks before he crashed into several parked cars.

Off-duty PO James Dennedy of the 79 Pct Anti-Crime unit arrested the man at the scene of the collision.

Both Cerullo and Masone were highly decorated officers having earned over 34 citations between them.


Ptl. Phillip Cardillo, #26620 of the 28 Precinct, was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 14, 1972, and what has become known as the �Murder at the Harlem Mosque� incident.

This incident, which is one of the most controversial department incidents of recent times, started out with a radio call of an anonymous and unverified �10-13�.

A brother officer's life might have been in, danger. So that was all Ptl Phillip Cardillo and his partner, Ptl. Vito Navarra, of the 28 Pct., were concerned about as they sped to the location transmitted by Sixth Division Radio as "102 West 116 Street, on the second floor," on April 14, 1972.

Arriving first at the scene, the officers raced into the building, which was a Black Muslim Mosque. They heard scuffling on the above floor. As they made it up the staircase they were intercepted by 15 to 20 men who forced the officers to retreat down the stairs and back into the hallway.

Meanwhile, Ptl. Victor Padilla and Ivan Negron, 25 Pct., along with additional units, arrived and entered the premises. The officers, who were out numbered, were then attacked and overwhelmed.

All of them except Ptl. Cardillo, Padilla and Negron were forced out of the building. A steel door was closed behind them.

Ptl. Padilla was then beaten and blackjacked into semi-consciousness while his partner fought off several men who were trying to grab his revolver. With his back to the door, Ptl. Negron suddenly heard shots. He turned and saw a man with a gun in his hand who seemed to be getting up from the floor where Ptl. Cardillo now lay shot. Negron, managing to free himself from his attackers, drew his revolver and fired three shots.

It is not known if the man with the gun was hit; he escaped.

There were 20 to 25 men in the hallway when Ptl. Navarra and Ptl. Rudy Andre, 28 Pct., who had been beaten out of the Mosque moments earlier, broke a glass on the metal door and saw the patrolmen inside on their backs.

They fired several shots through the broken glass into the hallway. This scattered the men who had been assaulting the officers and enabled Ptl. Negron to unbolt the double metal door. During the melee, Ptl. Cardillo and Padilla, seriously injured, had their service revolvers taken from them.

Immediately upon getting out into the street these officers were rushed to St. Luke�s Hospital. Despite intensive efforts on the part of surgeons, hospital personnel and numerous blood donors, a week later Ptl. Cardillo died. His chest wound was inflicted by a bullet fired at such a close distance that powder burns were on his jacket.

Ptl Padilla never fully recovered from the brutal beating he received.

An investigation of the incident disclosed that the original ''assist patrolman" phone call, made by a man who identified himself as a detective, was unfounded. Two men have been arrested on assault charges. The person responsible for Ptl. Cardillo�s murder has never been identified. An Inspector's Funeral was given to Officer Cardillo. The five-year-veteran of the force left behind a wife and three children.

This controversial incident, and the department�s response in the aftermath, was documented in an excellent book by Sonny Grosso, who was one of the officers on the scene that day.

If you ever have the opportunity, I urge you to read this book. Although it�s out of print, you may be able to find a copy in your public library, or on line through one of the used-book-selling sites.


April 4, 1947 Ptl Jack Chason, 79 Pct, Shot-robbery
April 5, 1926 Ptl Charles Reilly, 13 Pct, Shot-Robbery arrest
April 5, 1952 Insp Thomas Boylan, Airplane struck auto
April 6, 1937 Ptl Daniel Sullivan, Mcy Unit, motorcycle accident
April 6, 1953 Ptl Sam Katz, 32 Pct, Shot-investigation
April 6, 1955 Ptl John Conlon, 28 Pct, Injuries sustained on patrol
April 10, 1937 Det Michael Foley, 9 Sq, Shot-robbery arrest
April 10, 1950 Ptl Louis Balzano, line of duty incident
April 10, 1960 Ptl Vito Valenzano, 20 Pct, LOD heart attack
April 15, 1857 Ptl Stephen Hardenbrook, NFI