Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The limits are endless...

I've discovered a way to post a photo to my Blog...

Stay tuned for the new and improved version of The Squad Room!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006


During a recent visit to New York of some visiting Metropolitan Police investigators (Scotland Yardies), I had the opportunity to discuss homicide investigations, and the role of the Squad Commander in London policing.

I learned that the major task of the Squad Commander (the Detective Chief Inspector) was to commit to writing his/her �Investigative Plan�.

Enacted several years ago, this is intended to be used to show at what stage an investigation is currently in, and what facts are being utilized to determine the next stages of an investigation.

This task consumes the majority of the commander�s time � even more than we spend providing Compstat updates to the armies that require them!

The Detective Commander must, in writing, indicate what course of action he has directed the Detective Inspector to pursue, and what his reason for this is based on.

Try and think what that would involve on your investigations, and you can get a small understanding of the magnitude of this task.

In this manner, the reason why a particular person may be brought in for an interview must be delineated, what the basis of this interview will be about, and what is hoped to be obtained � all committed to a written report by the Commander.

A cumbersome task for sure!


Department historians, and buffs in general, should recall the name �Johnny Cordes� in the history of the NYPD.

Cordes (pronounced COR-des � his father was Alsatian) was appointed to the department on August 24, 1915.

When he retired as a Lieutenant � Squad Commander in 1950 he had the distinction of having been awarded the Medal of Honor on two separate occasions.

While still in the Police Academy he was taken out and put into plainclothes work, as his youthful appearance was put to good use. He was appointed a Detective on February 11, 1918, and worked variously in the Strongarm Squad and various other squads, but spent most of his time in the Main Office Squad out of Headquarters.

It was in 1924, and again in 1928, as a Detective, that he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, on both occasions, during a shootout from commercial robbery incidents.

He was promoted to Sergeant on February 15, 1928, remaining in the Detective Divisiion, and on March 2, 1934 he was made an Acting Lieutenant. He commanded the Riverfront Squad from 1938 until his retirement in 1950.

In 1940, upon his achievement of 25 years of service with the department, the members of the Riverfront Squad presented him with a solid-gold Lieutenant�s badge � slightly smaller than the actual shield � engraved on the reverse side with his name and the recognition for service.

Within the past month I have acquired this solid gold shield, and am making arrangements for a suitable display of such a notable item.


Since the modern medal era came into being in 1915, when the name of the highest NYPD award �The Department Medal� was changed to �The Medal of Honor�, only three members of the NYPD have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice.

Only one of these recipients, JOHNNY CORDES, lived to receive his second award. The other two were awarded them posthumously.

The first multiple award was to Detective Timothy J. Connell who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1922, after he was wounded during a shootout in which he killed a hold-up man. He also received a posthumous award of the medal in 1926, after he was killed in another shootout with four criminals in 1924.

The second multiple award was to Detective John Cordes. He received the medal in 1924 after a shootout in which he was wounded five times during a stickup in a store. He received it again in 1928 for a second shootout.

The third recipient was PO Robert Bilodeau, Street Crime Unit, who was awarded the medal twice, posthumously, at the 1981 Medal Day Ceremony. The first award was for an incident on April 5, 1979, when while making an arrest his throat was slashed, an injury that required 63 stitches to heal. The second award was for an incident on February 12, 1980, when he chased a gunman into an alleyway. The gunman turned and shot Bilodeau three times. Before he died he was able to wound his assailant.


The word "Police" means, generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure that the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. The word also denotes the force of peace officers (or police) employed for this purpose.

In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote:
"The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquillity, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained."

In attaining these objects, much depends on the approval and co-operation of the public, and these have always been determined by the degree of esteem and respect in which the police are held. One of the key principles of modern policing in Britain is that the police seek to work with the community and as part of the community.


In New York we simply call them �cops�.

In Chicago, the slang becomes �coppers�.

Well, in London, the police are slangly referred to as �Old Bill�. But why?

According to the Official Encyclopedia of Scotland Yard, there are about a dozen possibilities for the origin of the phrase:

Old Bill referred to King William IV who came to the throne in 1830, a year after the Metropolitan Police were founded.

Old constables of the watch were sometimes nicknamed for the bills or billhooks they carried as weapons

The 'old bill' was in Victorian times a bill presumed to be presented by the police for a bribe to persuade them to turn a blind eye to some nefarious activity

In the 1860s a popular Sergeant Bill Smith at Limehouse was referred to as 'Old Bill'

Many police officers did wear authoritarian looking 'Old Bill' moustaches like Bruce Bairnsfather's famous WW1 cartoon character, the wily old soldier in the trenches. In 1917, the government adopted Bairnsfather's cartoon character in posters and advertisements putting over wartime messages under the heading 'Old Bill says..' and for at least some of these, the figure was dressed in Special Constable's uniform.

The original vehicles used by the Flying Squad (the mobile force of the Metropolitan Police of London) had registration plates with the letters BYL.

According to the late author Robin Cook, 'old bill' is a racing term for an outsider or unknown quantity; hence a dodgy prospect for an illegal gambler's point of view.

All rather interesting theories nonetheless, but not as practical as the copper buttons used on American police uniforms being interpreted to the now familiar police term � �Cops�, shortened from the proper (Chicago) �Coppers� term.


The summer of 1979 was a sad time for this department.

PO Michael Russell of the 75 Pct, who was 30 years old at the time, was the first of four officers slain that summer within a span of 45 days.

PO Russell was at bat during an evening softball game on August 2, 1979, between off-duty 75 Precinct police and a neighborhood team in the East New York section, when an argument broke out between a civilian player and three men who had strolled onto the outfield.

One of the men drew a revolver and fatally shot the player in the abdomen. Though unarmed PO Russell led a contingent of police in pursuit, cornering the gunman in a nearby garden. In a struggle PO Russell was mortally shot, and the gunman and Sgt. Donald Keneally were wounded.

On the force nine years, PO Russell was cited twice for bravery. He left behind a wife and 2 children.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I�ve made mention here numerous times in the past how I collect, and enjoy reading, old issues of the department�s magazine, SPRING 3100.

As most of you could relate to growing up reading Sports Illustrated, and looking back at old issues that bring back memories � I do the same with the Spring magazines, especially those from the 1960�s.

My father was sworn into the department in 1956, and retired in 1990. I can recall awaiting each new issue of the magazine to be brought home by him, and even today I will recall a particular cover, or read an item, that I will remember having seen or read in those �old days� of childhood. (What can I say? Does �buff� mean anything?)

I remember not too long ago asking Dad whatever happened to those boxes of Spring magazines that were in the basement � and finding out they were �thrown away � they were old and taking up space!� We don�t share the same aficionado of police history, you could say.
Well, just the other day Sgt. Bob Kelly of the 90 Squad made my day (well, not exactly, but it was a bad day up to then) handing over some old Spring magazines he came across, with issues dating from 1959-1961. I�ll certainly have more to write on some of the topics covered in them in future postings, but for now I thought I�d share the following.

I always enjoy perusing the �Looking �Em Over� section of the magazine. That�s the section where the precinct/command reporters write on the goings-on in their command for the month. Just like we have now in the current Spring magazine.

I always browse through, looking first at the 79 Precinct entry � where my father started his career and worked until 1969 � then looking over the other entries, and generally I will always come across a name from my past. People who worked with my father in the 79 that I knew, names I�ve heard him mention, even those who grew to be life-long family friends. You get the picture.

Once in a while I will even come across a blurb about my farther, Freddie Cornicello.

Looking through the latest issues I see names mentioned for good collars � names from my past like Manzo making a homicide collar, Palumbo returning from a stint in the Army, Fineo for a Burglary arrest. Here�s one that notes Priola made a gun collar, Manzo made a Burglary collar, and Zigo in the 73 arrested 3 for a robbery pattern of cab drivers. Manzo again making a GLA arrest � Vinny Manzo sure was an active cop in the 79!

Then I came across this item.

�Anyone interested (especially pitchers) in being a member of CORNICELLO�S BOMBERS, see Freddie in the 124 Room.�

Come to think of it, anytime I�ve seen Dad mentioned in the Precinct report, it�s had something to do with the softball team, or the bowling team, or the promotion �racket� he ran.
As is often said, work should be fun!


The department�s Annual Report of 1885 mentions the qualifications for a police candidate.

There was first a physical exam that needed to be passed, then an Intellectual Exam, which tested the candidate on general knowledge, �to insure an intelligent performance of police duties.�

The police candidate had to be able to read and understand English �understandably�. He also and to be US citizen and a resident of New York State for at least 1 year prior. The physical qualifications included being not over 30 years of age, and at least 5 feet 7 � inches tall, and at least 140 pounds.

If qualified, the candidate went to the Chief Clerk to get an application form. He then had to obtain signatures of 10 persons who could vouch for his character. These people had to also state that they had �never seen him drunk or heard of him having been drunk�.

The Chief Clerk would then make an inquiry with the candidate�s local precinct captain, before scheduling the physical exam.

Having passed the physical exam, the Intellectual exam, and the investigation, he was then placed on a list of qualified applicants, to which the Board of Police would review and make a selection for hiring.

Before being appointed, the candidate had to also sign a statement declaring if he �ever had rheumatism, a fit of any kind, or piles, and how long since�, and lastly had to answer if he had �paid, or promises to pay, or given any money or consideration to any person, directly or indirectly, for any aid or influence towards procuring your appointment�.

The salaries in 1885 were noted as $2,000 for a Captain, $1600. for a Sergeant, and $1,000 for Patrolman 3 Grade. After having served for 1 year, the Patrolman rose to Patrolman 2 Grade and received $1100 per year, and after 3 years went to Patrolman 1 Grade with the top pay of $1200 per year.


Local Crime Mapping

The National Institute of Justice maintains a frequently updated list of links to cities and counties nationwide that have online crime mapping. Some sites, such as the one operated by Oakland, California, are searchable by date, zip code, police beat and type of crime. San Diego has a sophisticated system that allows for searches by address. The Los Angeles crime map also includes incident report numbers.

Educational Institutions

Find a private or public school, college or library at the National Center for Education Statistics, searching by name of school, city or zip code. Add a radius range of 1 to 50 miles to get other area institutions.

Finding a Phone on a Map

Take the first 6 digits of a North American telephone number and instantly plot it on a map. The NPA-NXX Geolocator, USA/Canada phone prefix location lookup tool, is useful for quickly finding the town in which the phone number is located, because, as we know, the exact location can�t be determined.

All things telephony are elucidated at the Telephony Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Telephony


The 1964 Self Portrait of Spring 3100 outlined the various duties and functions of the patrol force, and in particular the Patrol Organization.

It was noted that the patrol precinct commander, the captain, was assisted by four Lieutenants.

These �desk� lieutenants worked a four day, eight hour tour around the clock with a forty-eight hour swing. In the absence of the captain, they were in charge of the precinct.

Ask any �old-timer� and they will tell you exactly how in charge the desk lieutenant was back then � nothing, and I mean nothing, went on that the desk lieutenant didn�t know about.

And don�t ever have tried to �get over� on the desk lieutenant � it wouldn�t be long before you paid for your action.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Sixty years after the Medal of Honor replaced the Department Medal as the NYPD�s top award for valor, the department decided to change its design.

In 1972, a contest was announced to pick a design for a new medal. The winner was Ptl. Alfred Young, a police historian and later curator of the Police Museum. His design was based on the star-shaped badge worn by the New York City Municipal Police Department officers from 1845 to 1857. The medal hangs from a green ribbon on which 12 white stars are clustered. A top bar is inscribed with �Valor�. A gold palm leaf on the ribbon indicates a second award. Since 1997, the medal has been made of gold.

The first presentation of the new medals were made on October 23, 1973, to the widows of five officers: Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, 9 Pct., Elijah Stroud, 88 Pct., Phillip Cardillo, 28 Pct., and Det. William Capers, 16 B/L Sqd, who were slain in the line of duty during 1972. Two other awards of the Medal of Honor were also made that day to Sgt. William Manos, ESD 4, and Officer Frank Buono, Bx. FSA.

At the 1985 Medal Day ceremonies the first awards of the NYPD Medal of Honor to a female police officer were made to PO Tanya Braithwaite, 41 Pct, and PO Sharon Fields, 40 Pct. Each officer had engaged in a shootout with a gunman who had just murdered another police officer.

It is noted that in 1984, a female police officer with the NYC Transit Police Department, Irma Lozada, was killed in the line of duty and awarded the Transit Police� Medal of Honor posthumously.

Since 1921, when posthumous awards were first made, approximately 70% of the Medals of Honor awarded have been to officers who died in the line of duty, with the majority killed in shooting incident.


On August 27, 1921 Ptl. Daniel J. Neville of the 23rd Precinct (Midtown South) was killed in the line of duty.

Ptl. Neville entered a lot at 39th St. and Eleventh Ave. to investigate a report that a group of young gangsters were using the watchman�s shanty for card games and for the distribution of drugs. When he was about five foot from the shanty he was shot in the left chest, which resulted in his death. Witnesses had reported that they saw one man run out of the yard and that two men were seen climbing over the fence of the year after the shot.

Ptl. Neville was appointed to the NYPD in 1907; he was married and the father of five children. Ptl. Neville was Posthomously awarded the NYPD Medal of Honor.

(Special Note: In 1918, One of Ptl. Neville�s former partners, Ptl. Joseph Nolan, was killed in front of 526 W. 39th Street by a brick thrown from the roof ).


A recently release publication by the national Institute of Justice focuses on the ever increasing problem of Identity Theft.

Law Enforcement Agencies and Identity Theft, (NCJ 205701) a 64 page booklet, is a new COPS POP Guide, addresses the problem of identity theft, and reviews the factors that increase the risk of it. Identity theft is a new crime, facilitated through established, underlying crimes such as forgery, counterfeiting, check and credit card fraud, computer fraud, impersonation, pickpocketing, and even terrorism.

You Can Access full text at COPS Online:


Michael Connelly is better known as the best-selling author of the Harry Bosch series of crime novels, all taking place in Los Angeles. His more popular works include THE CLOSERS and THE NARROWS, along with the bestselling novels THE LINCOLN LAWYER and BLOOD WORK.
Connelly got his start as a journalist, working as a crime reporter in South Florida covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat.

His latest book is a collection of some of his true crime stories, taken from these earlier newspaper pieces. It will make a decent �summer read�, as I found it to be somewhat interesting, but probably a lot more so for someone who doesn�t do this every day for a living.

I particularly found interesting two items that he mentions early on in this book, in his first chapter, taken from the story he wrote for the Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1987 after spending a week with the Ft Lauderdale Homicide Squad.

He describes homicides in two categories � �whodunit� cases and �smoking gun� cases. These are the cases I have heard referred to as �mysteries� and �ground balls�.

No matter where you are some things never change when it comes to homicide investigations.

One of them is time.

�There is a rule to murder investigations; as more time elapses in a case, the chances of solving it grow slimmer�.

This is one of the key points I try to bring out when teaching at the Homicide Course and instructing new detectives. He also states that �whenever possible, depending on constrictions of time, the overtime budget, fatigue and so on, all available hands are put on the initial stages of a case�.

That�s the very point I make when I discuss the �24 & 72 Rule� of homicide investigations � go back on your victim�s last 24 hours to help decipher the motive, and the suspect; and the effort you put into the first 72 hours of the investigation will lay the foundation for success or failure in your investigation.

The second item of interest is one that many of the veteran detectives will also appreciate, and one that Ret. Capt. Frank Bolz brought to my attention several years ago.

On the wall in the Ft. Lauderdale Homicide Squad�s office was a sign that says �Get off your ass and knock on doors.�

GOYAKOD, the sign that Frank remembered hanging on the squad room wall when he started as a new detective in the 81 Squad back in the early 60�s, and the sign that hangs on the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad office today.

Rule number one in detective work � getting someone to talk to you and tell you what happened. Sometimes the only way to do this is to �pound the pavement�, doing what �gumshoe� work is all about � knocking on doors and talking to people!

Some things never change.


As noted in a recent NY POST article, on June 16, 2004, Sgt. Patrick Beneventi of the 109 Pct. was recently honored.

On June 16, 2004 Police Commissioner Ray Kelly presented the Theodore Roosevelt Award - which honors NYPD cops who survive a medical hardship - to a Queens sergeant who fought back against cancer.

"I had a little bad luck with my health. Thank God everything is OK. I had a little surgery and I feel fine now," said Sgt. Patrick Beneventi.

Beneventi became ill in July 1999 and underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his spine. He returned to work - only to be twice diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he has been cancer-free since March 2003.

The Roosevelt Award honors the legacy of the former NYPD commissioner and childhood asthma victim who became the 26th president.

Kelly lauded Beneventi not only for beating his illness, but for supervising three cops from the 109th Precinct who have had a remarkable impact upon crime in Flushing.

The trio - Officers Brian McCloskey, Dennis Kim and Jerry Svoronos - logged 366 arrests in 2003, an average of an arrest a day. Through March of this year, they had nabbed 157 suspected criminals, a rate nearly twice that of last year.


The following statements, taken from DD5s, could easily have been written by Yogi Berra if he was a detective.

�They were living domesticatally.
They�re habitating at �
Seeking the location of his whereabouts�
He was of Jamaican assessment.
Seeking to identify his identification.
Identified a pattern of unrelated incidents.
Was wearing a multi-colored white tee shirt
Known to congregate by himself.
The eyewitness is blind and did not see anything.
They went into a feet pursuit.
He has numerical arrests on his rap sheet.
The bus driver was working off duty at the time.
The information was received from an anonymous CI.
His sister states that she is not related to her brother.
The suspicious package was examined and determined to be not suspicious.
The unarmed security guard fired two shots at the perp.
All the calls that day happened another day.

Also, does anyone know when the word �conversating� became a recognized word in the English language?

�It is not how they died that makes them a hero, but how they lived their lives�.

Aug 1, 1913 Ptl Bernard O�Rourke, 146 Pct, Dragged by horse
Aug 2, 1922 Lt Albert Duffy, HQDiv, Explosion investigation
Aug 2, 1966 Ptl Edward Monzillo, Mcy2, Auto pursuit
Aug 2, 1979 Sgt Michael Russell, 75 Pct A/C, Shot:Off duty arrest
Aug 4, 1851 Sgt Michael Foster, NFI
Aug 4, 1913 Ptl Patrick Cotter, 65 Pct, Shot making arrest
Aug 4, 1928 Ptl Arthur Fash, 52 Pct, Electrocuted
Aug 4, 1953 Ptl Henry Ergen, 79 Pct, Assaulted
Aug 5, 1927 Ptl Hubert Allen, 52 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
Aug 6, 1861 Ptl David Martin, 2 Pct, Stabbed during burglary
Aug 6, 1917 Ptl Robert Holmes, 38 Pct, Shot, robbery in progress
Aug 6, 1925 Det Richard Heneberry, DD, Shot-GLA arrest
Aug 6, 1926 Ptl Oscar Oehlerking, 9 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
Aug 6, 1935 Ptl Thomas Burns, 5 Pct, Injured on patrol
Aug 7, 1927 Ptl. William Goddy, 7 Pct, Line of duty injury
Aug 7, 1928 Sgt James Barry, 9A Pct, Auto accident on patrol
Aug 8, 1926 Ptl Frank Murphy, Mcy Dist, Shot-GLA arrest
Aug 9, 1930 Det Harry Bloomfield, 44 Sq, Shot by prisoner
Aug 11, 1926 Det John Singer, DD, Shot by prisoner
Aug 11, 1937 Det Isadore Astel, MODD, Shot � Robbery in Progress
Aug 11, 1937 Ptl John Bosworth 43 Pct, Trolley Car accident
Aug 11, 1937 Ptl Joseph McBreen ESS10, Building collapse
Aug 11, 1949 Ptl George Connelly 19 Pct, Line of duty accident
Aug 12, 1952 Ptl James McGillion 34 Pct, Shot during investigation
Aug 12, 1966 Ptl Harold Levine Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
Aug 14, 1924 Ptl Frederick Thomas 9 Pct, Shot-robbery investigation
Aug 14, 1980 PO Harry Ryman 60 Pct, Shot-investigation
Aug 15, 1865 Ptl Thomas Walken 29 Pct, Arrest-assault
Aug 16, 1988 PO Joseph Galapo BSNarco, Shot during arrest
Aug 17, 1947 Ptl Thomas Gargan 6 Pct, Shot-burglary in progress
Aug 17, 1969 Sgt Cornelius McGowan 114 Pct, Line of duty heart attack
Aug 17, 1979 PO Thomas Schimenti, MTS Pct, Shot-robberyAug 19, 1974 Ptl Thomas Pegues, TPF, Shot-auto checkAug 20, 1971 Ptl Kenneth Nugent, 103 Pct, Shot-robberyAug 20, 1987 Det Myron Parker, BxNarco, AssaultedAug 21, 1931 Ptl Walter Webb, 40 Pct, Shot-Robbery in progressAug 21, 1931 Ptl Edwin Churchill, McyDist, Shot-robbery in progressAug 22, 1924 Ptl Harry Blumberg, 10 Pct, Auto accident on patrolAug 22, 1925 Ptl David Sheehan, 4 Pct, Shot-burglary arrestAug 22, 1941 Ptl Harold King, TrafficB, Shot-GLA arrest
August 25, 1864 Ptl John OBrien, 19 Pct, Arrest-robbery
August 25, 1928 Ptl Joseph Dursee, 8A Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
August 25, 1946 Ptl Michael Zawoltk, Traffic K, Shot during arrest
August 26, 1918 Ptl William Barrett, 13 Pct, Thrown from horse
August 26, 1936 Ptl Richard McCormack, 20 Pct, Injured on patrol
August 26, 1971 Sgt Joseph Morabito, 1Div Narco, Shot during investigation
August 27, 1921 Ptl Daniel Neville, 23 Pct, Shot during investigation
August 28, 1939 Ptl Clarence Mihlheiser, Hwy3, Auto accident on patrol
August 28, 2002 PO Disdale Enton, 113 Pct, LOD injury chasing perp
August 29, 1977 Det Joseph Taylor, 83 Pct, Shot during investigation
August 31, 1962 Ptl Nicholas Panico, 62 Pct, Shot by EDP
August 31, 1969 Ptl Kenneth Keller, 19 Pct, LOD heart attack