Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Did you ever get a musical theme stuck in your head, and can’t figure out why?

The other day I found myself walking around humming the theme song from THE GREEN HORNET.

Now I have no idea why; it’s not like this was one of my favorite shows, but the tune is one of those catchy television themes you just can’t get out of your head.

A little research revealed the following.

The Green Hornet was originally a radio series that ran between January 31, 1936 to December 5, 1952.

It was created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who also created The Lone Ranger.

It used “Flight of the Bumblebee" as its theme song.

The series detailed the adventures of Britt Reid, debonair newspaper publisher by day, crime-fighting masked hero at night, along with his trusty sidekick, Kato, a Filipino of Japanese ancestry.

With the outbreak of World War II his Japanese heritage was almost completely dropped, leading to the common misperception that the character's nationality had been switched by the show's writers. (When the characters were used in a pair of movie serials Kato's nationality was inexplicably given as Korean.)

The leading character Britt Reid is explained to be a close relative of The Lone Ranger.

In the original introduction of the radio show announcer
Mike Wallace proclaimed that the Green Hornet went after criminals that "even the G-Men (FBI agents) couldn't reach".

The show's producers were called by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover who prompted them to remove the line implying that some crime fighting was beyond the abilities of the FBI.

Inspired by the success of the
Batman series, ABC brought The Green Hornet to television in 1966-67, an adaptation which introduced martial arts master Bruce Lee to American audiences and starred Van Williams as the Green Hornet.

Unlike Batman, the TV version of Green Hornet was played straight, but in spite of the considerable interest in Lee, it was cancelled after only one season. However, Bruce Lee’s career skyrocketed from this point. Lee's popularity in
Hong Kong, where he was raised, was such that the show was marketed there as The Kato Show.
While the music of "Flight of the Bumblebee" was strongly identified with The Green Hornet, the theme used for the television series was written by Billy May and was played on trumpet by Al Hirt.

Years later, this music was featured during a key scene in the
2003 film, Kill Bill, which paid tribute to Kato by featuring dozens of swordfighters wearing Kato masks during the film's key fight sequence. (Check the link at the end of this site to hear the theme song for yourself, and tell me if you don’t find yourself humming this for hours!).

The TV series featured the Hornet's car, Black Beauty, which was a
1965 Chrysler Imperial. The car's regular headlight cluster could be flipped over to reveal green headlights. It could fire tiny explosive charges from tubes at its bumpers, which were said to be rockets.

The TV series also employed an audio device from the radio show. In its era, the engines of cheaper cars made a lot of noise; the expensive Pierce-Arrow was reputed to be extremely quiet. So, when the Green Hornet said, "rig for silent running," the hornet-like buzz on the radio show was turned off and the listener was left to imagine that the car really was silent. On TV, the car sounded like a modern car, but the noise was removed from the soundtrack after this command.

Green Hornet Theme Song: http://www.mythemes.tv/series/greenhor.htm


I’m sorry to have learned that RET. DET FIRST GRADE JOHN T. REILLY passed away this past week.

John passed away a week ago Monday (October 16) in South Carolina of congestive heart failure at the age of 77 years.

Readers of this site will recall my often-made reference to John as the eminent department historian.

John worked most of his career in Manhattan Detectives and without a doubt was the greatest living NYPD police historian ever.

He was described by Mike Bosak, another wealth of department history, as “intelligent and wise; he was a consummate perfectionist and displayed unlimited perseverance in the search for forgotten truths”.

John was very instrumental in the work that resulted in the addition of 100 MOS who died in the line of duty over the years who, for some reason or another, had been omitted from the department’s memorial wall at 1PP. He also authored a great text on the department’s medal’s and honor recipients.

John would answer any inquiry I had promptly with accuracy and background to prove a point. I don’t know how he did it, but he will be sorely by missed by all who had the pleasure, in one way or another, to know this fine man.

Truly a kind and gentle, loving person. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family.


A recent story in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice “Crime and Justice News” notes a recent nationwide crime trend.

In Many Big Cities, Crime Rises While Police Forces Shrink.

The article goes on to note the following:

“Violent crime increases in many big cities are "reasons for concern but not alarm," says criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University.

Still, Fox believes that the crime picture may be worse than was indicated by a recent Justice Department victimization survey because robberies have increased markedly; the total has remained down in large part because of a decline in reported simple assaults, which Fox says often amount to "people shoving each other."

Fox spoke at a panel sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Boston. A decline in police staffing has hit many of the same cities where crime is rising, he noted. Cities with populations more than 250,000 have suffered cuts totaling more than 9 percent since 2000, Fox said. By contrast, smaller police department numbers have remained steady.

At the same discussion, Police Chief Dean Esserman of Providence, R.I., lamented that many Americans "seem to accept" the fact that "we lose 16,000 people every year" to homicide, five times as many as were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. "We are burying our children and becoming used to it," Esserman said. He called for a re- emphasis on "hometown defense" as well as homeland security”.


If you find yourself on Route 109 in the area of West Babylon, near Suffolk County Police Department’s First Precinct stationhouse, stop by Jimmy Leake’s Bagel Shop and say hello. (It’s not called “Jimmy’s”, but you can’t miss it – it’s a block away from the stationhouse).

The shop is located just to the north of the police station, also on the east side of the street.

Jimmy retired from the 77 Precinct a few years back on a medical disability, having survived a motorcycle accident, and spent his last year performing clerical work in the 77 Squad. Consistently tortured by “Loud” Mark Pouria while he was working, some things never change as Mark makes it a point to stop by often to make sure Jimmy’s doing his job properly!

Stop by, say hello, ask for Jimmy – and tell him The Minister of Investigation sent you in. It should be good for a cup of coffee, at least!


Current Military Service:

To determine if an individual is currently serving in any of the military services, you can use this public information website: HYPERLINK


You'll need his/her SSN and last name or last name, first name and DOB. It won't tell you where they're serving, only if they're serving and in what branch.

Cell Phone Carrier:

Det Phil Schurr of the Major Case Squad wanted to pass on this web site which you may find valuable.

Neustar will tell you if a cell number has been "Ported".

You can register for this free service as law enforcement at

and go to the law enforcement section. They will assign you a pin number to use.

It appears that Neustar is contracted by the FCC to provide this service.

For example, if you switch your Nextel to Verizon and keep your number, this service will let you know it has been “ported”.



I heard this one morning as I awoke, as a news story on TV, and wasn’t sure I heard it correctly.

Another example of a litigious society over-reaction?


October 19, 1929 Ptl Charles Saver, 76 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
October 20, 1967 Ptl James Dandridge, 32 Pct, Shot:Accidental by MOS
October 22, 1907 Ptl Eugene Sheehan, 3 Pct, Shot by prisoner
October 22, 1931 Det Guido Pessagano, 20 Sqd, Shot-arrest
October 22, 1970 Ptl Gerald Murphy, 9 Pct, Shot-Arrest, off duty
October 22, 1972 Ptl Joseph Meaders, 63 Pct, Crushed by oil truck
October 24, 1935 Capt Richard McHale, 109 Pct, Shot by disgruntled MOS
October 24, 1939 Ptl Anthony Buckner, 32 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
October 24, 2002 Det Salvatore Cafiso, SI Narco, Heart attack, LOD
October 26, 1897 Ptl Frederick Smith, 14 Pct, Shot-burglary in progress
October 26, 1910 Ptl James Mangen, 144 Pct, Head injury, rescue
October 28, 1888 Ptl James Brennan, 21 Pct, Assaulted during arrest
October 28, 1945 Ptl James Bussey, 18 Pct, Shot-investigation
October 29, 1962 Det John Tobin, BCI, LOD Heart attack
October 29, 1982 PO James Whittington, PBBN FIAU, Shot-off duty

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It was October 20, 1981 – a short twenty-five years ago – I stood in an auditorium of a forgettable school, raised my right hand, and repeated after another, for the start of my career as a Police Officer in the City of New York.

I started as a member of the Transit Police Department and in March 1995 became part of the Police Department of the City of New York. I can rightly say that I am proud of both!

This Friday will be my 25-year Anniversary. Some call me old, others call me insane – I just call myself proud, and a little bit honored. What more could I ask for?

I grew up around cops – my father spent 32 years on the job before retiring at age 60. I spent summers at The Police Camp in upstate New York, surrounded by other cops families, growing up just a little bit more each year. My father eventually became a Sergeant, and was part of the Bureau. Working in Queens Homicide, with stops along the way at Sex Crimes, Zone Homicide, and Division Robbery in Manhattan.

Mr. Zigo was a Detective, though, and I wanted to be a Detective. Dress nice, show up on the scene of some capers, put crooks away.

I’ve carried six different shields in my left-front pocket over the past 25 years. Do the math, how do I come up with six, with only 4 different ranks?

One Police Officer shield, number 4559. That was replaced by the “gold shield” of the Detective, numbered 934. I chose that number as it was the closest I could get to what was my fathers Sergeant’s shield number – 1934. Transit Detective shields began with a 3-digit 7, 8 or 9 number. I took 934. My promotion to Sergeant saw a new shield, 437, which I carried until it was lost – right before my promotion to Lieutenant – on the one of only a few times I wore it on a belt clip. Never used a belt clip since! My Lieutenant shield from the New York City Transit Police Department was replaced in March 1995 by the one I currently carry, from the City of New York Police.

That’s six shields. I think Jeff Aiello had six PO shields alone!

Always in the front left pocket. Tactical advantage. Left hand accessible, the non-shooting hand. Front pocket, because I carried my wallet in the back pocket – also tactical advantage. (“Give me your wallet” could be complied with the non-shooting hand, right?). Also, I couldn’t see sitting on the shield that meant so much to you. So it’s always in the front left pocket (and NOT on the belt clip).

“You should write a book”, people say. Alright, maybe not a lot of people, but some people anyway. Yes, maybe some day, is always my reply, but really, who would want to buy it?

I had lots of fun along the way. Patrol in District 33, citywide plainclothes task force, Decoy Squad, Detective, Sergeant in Decoys, back in the Bureau, then to Lieutenant and back into the Bureau.

Twenty five years, with twenty of them in Detective Bureau assignments. No reason to be disappointed. I’ve met a lot of good people along the way, and still do. Work should be fun, and it continues to be. Despite the minor (OK, sometimes not so minor) bumps along the road, it’s still a good life.

I used to start my day as a rookie cop donning a uniform, having a cup of not-so-good coffee and some pancakes, work days on through at Central Booking, come back and do it all over again. Make collars, fight crime, put crooks away. A very simple thought for sure.

Today, I start the day with a much better grade of coffee, some oatmeal and a handful of medication (none of them purple, by the way!) and some vitamins, and go off to fight the same good fight.

I’m still driving the Belt Parkway, and it still gets backed up at the slightest hint of rain. I’m still driving through Highland Park, and to Bushwick Avenue, and it’s still dreaded in the early morning and late afternoons!

If I started to begin naming people along the way I know I would unintentionally forget someone. I’ll save some of that for another time; I’ve already taken up too much of your time reflecting on my little career here in Brooklyn.

Indulge me to at least commemorate my Twenty-Five Year Anniversary on this web site. I congratulate all of my brothers and sisters who are doing so for themselves, wherever they may be. Some of them are still on-the-job; more of them have retired, and some of them have passed on.

We’ve become Dinosaurs!

Fighting crime, and catching crooks. I’m very proud to say I’ve spent my twenty-five years on the frontline, chasing bad-guys. You have to be somewhere, that’s where I am. It sure beats the alternative.

“Give me my cuffs for another fifteen years, then I’m getting the hell out”.

Fighting crime, catching crooks.


I would just like to mention two very special people I’ve met along the way who are no longer here to celebrate with me. Irma “Fran” Lozada, and Glenn Davidson. A place in my heart is there for you.

Friday, October 13, 2006


“We can apply a sorting algorithm to these social security numbers and help us take a closer investigative look.”

What the heck does that mean?

Well, that’s exactly what was done on a recent episode of this television cop-show, NUMB3RS.

Yes, I spelled it correctly – this cerebral cop show uses the inverted 3 in place of an “E” in its title – get it? It’s a cop show about… numbers?

Maybe I’m old fashioned. I still think detectives should wear a fedora in the rain, chomp on unlit cigars, and use phrases like “kid” and “caper”. (And NEVER use an umbrella at a crime scene).

My idea of some good cop-shows include Kojak, Homicide- Life on the Street, and the current running “The Wire”. Give me a good episode of Columbo, even Law & Order or NYPD Blue. But a cop show about “numbers”??

This show, which airs on Friday nights, is described as being “inspired by actual cases and experiences”. I always like the way things are “inspired by” actual events – seems like they’ve taken a pretty broad use of the term in this case. “Numb3rs depicts the confluence of police work and mathematics in solving crime”.

Now, there are probably some real life investigators reading this who are trying to remember the last time they were faced with a “confluence of mathematics and crime solving”. (Incidentally, confluence means a “coming together”, a union or joining together; but you already knew that.)

In the show, an FBI agent recruits his mathematical genius brother to help solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles from a very distinctive perspective.

We all use math everyday. Now we are finally able to show the rest of the world the big secret of being a detective – the way we use math to solve murder! The big secret is out!

Now I’ve been asked some pretty crazy inquiries by people in the interest of trying to “help” solve crime.

I’ve been asked if we’ve considered speaking to a criminal profiler, if we thought a hypnotist could help, and even asked if it would help us to speak with a psychic. But a mathematician?

Well, the world already thinks we solve crime by consulting an elderly writer of mystery books. They also think we can wave a wand over some fluid and detect DNA, a la CSI.

Who knew we were missing the boat by not having Professor Algebra on our consulting staff?

Mark my words, one day – probably real soon – someone will be asked at a COMPSTAT meeting whether they had tried to apply a sorting algorithm in an effort to solve the shooting.



NYC has launched “Operation Exposure” aimed at thwarting out unwanted gropers and flashers.

Check it out at:



History of Scotland Yard



An e-mail that has been going around recently to many law enforcement types has to do with the good-old “Remember when…” tales.

Some of them are rather good, and worth mentioning here for the benefit of those who did not yet see them. You’ll probably find yourself shaking your head in agreement to more than a few of them.

I remember when…

Ink could be blue and guns were black.

Silver guns weren’t authorized because they didn’t look real.

Nightsticks were wood, not plastic.

Gloves were grey.

Everyone in a radio car had a transistor radio because the RMP’s didn’t even have AM radios.

Bosses never had to get involved with cops who didn’t pick up jobs, the other sectors took care of that FACE TO FACE.

You didn’t head inside until you saw the next platoon coming out of the station house; and the next tour made sure they got their a**es out the door so you could come in.

The first order of business for most cops was to get a good cup of coffee. Not chocolate milk, not a protein shake, not a double-mocha-java-latte – just coffee!

Nobody ever wanted the Sgt to handle a job – that could take a whole set of tours before he got over that!

If I may add my own contribution here – Remember when the Sergeant sat in the recorder seat, and the PO drove the boss? How come every time I see an RMP pull into the lot with a Sgt inside, it’s the Sgt that’s driving? Do they not want to be bosses? Do they not know they are not doing their job properly if their driving the car – they’re supposed to be “observing”, making believe they are “supervising”? And where are the Lieutenant’s and captain’s to say something about this?


Here’s just a note wishing a good friend PHIL PANZARELLA, better known to most as simply “Sundance”, get well wishes as he recovers from his recent surgery.

Phil will be capping off a notorious career by the end of the month, just 10 months short of his 63rd birthday.

There is probably no other living legend to match his fine record, and probably no notorious murder in the borough of Queens in the past thirty years he hasn’t been involved in solving.

A truly vast wealth of knowledge, and still a driven detective. They may have taken a toll on his heart, but he hasn’t lost his heart for this job, and the work we all do as detectives.

As I noted in a previous posting, he is truly a legend!

May I take a moment and salute you, LIEUTENANT PHIL PANZARELLA, a true Commander of Detectives!


October 7, 1968 Ptl John Varecha, 18 Pct, Shot-investigation
October 7, 1989 PO William Chisolm, 45 Pct, Shot-off duty incident
October 8, 1900 Ptl Charles Horn, 58 Pct Brooklyn, Stabbed
October 8, 1928 Ptl William Stoeffel, 4 Pct, auto accident on patrol
October 8, 1956 Det William Christmas, 92 Sqd, Shot-off duty incident
October 8, 1966 Ptl James Cosgrove, Mcy4(Hwy3), Auto accident on patrol
October 8, 1993 PO John Williamson, HA-PSA6, head injury-bucket from roof
October 9, 1866 Ptl John Hipwell, 45 Pct Brooklyn, Shot,burglary
October 9, 1928 Ptl Thomas Wallace, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident on patrol
October 9, 1965 Ptl Philip Shultz, HA-B/SI, Shot-off duty arrest
October 10, 1973 PO George Mead, 42 Pct, Shot-off duty robbery
October 10, 1975 PO Walter Tarpey, MSTF, Auto accident on patrol
October 10, 2004 Det Robert Parker, 67Sqd, Shot-arrest
October 10, 2004 Det Patrick Rafferty, 67Sqd, Shot-arrest
October 12, 1946 Ptl George Hunter, 30 Pct, Shot-robbery
October 13, 1968 Ptl David Turman, TPF, Shot-mistaken ID, off duty
October 13, 1970 Ptl Maurice Erben, Harbor, Boat accident
October 13, 1996 PO Brian Jones, PSA4, Shot-off duty dispute
October 15, 1932 Ptl John Fink, 71 Pct, Fire rescue
October 15, 1964 Det James Donegan, 71 Squad, Shot effecting arrest
October 15, 1964 Det Salvatore Potenza, 71 Sqd, Shot effecting arrest
October 15, 1994 PO William Kennedy, Info unavailable
October 17, 1989 PO Anthony Dwyer, MTS, Pushed from roof, burglary
October 18, 1938 Ptl Martin Hanke, 68 Pct, Shot-accidental
October 18, 1988 PO Christopher Hoban, MN Narco, Shot-warrant execution
October 18, 1988 PO Michael Buczek, 34 Pct, Shot-Investigation
October 18, 1996 Lt Federico Narvaez, 70 Pct, Shot-Investigation

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, of private eye-fiction fame, said it best.

“I need a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun.”


A New York Times article from 2004 recapped the evolution of the police handgun in New York City history. Some of the more interesting points follow.

In the early years of the Police Department, officers carried any weapon they chose, until Theodore Roosevelt, as president of the Board of Police Commissioners, ordered the 4-inch, .32-caliber Colt revolver to be the standard sidearm.

Training with the guns began on Dec. 30, 1895.

Ninety-eight years later, in 1993, after much debate among the department and the unions and legislators in Albany, the department switched from revolvers to semiautomatics, primarily to meet the advanced weaponry carried by criminals and dispel the perception that the officers were outgunned.

The newer guns were easier to reload and held 15 rounds in the magazine and one on the chamber, almost three times as many as the revolver. Officers with revolvers were allowed to keep them if they chose, while rookies received the new guns.

So, the model of an officer's gun dates him or her like rings on a tree.

The outer bands are the semiautomatic, 9-millimeter pistols.

The next ring is much thinner, the brief period of the so-called spurless revolver, a gun with an internal hammer that for safety cannot be cocked.

Finally, in the center, there is the classic revolver, such as the Smith & Wesson Model 10 or the Ruger Police Service Six, more commonly seen on "T. J. Hooker" reruns or film noir than on the streets of New York.


Ever wonder who you’ve been shooting at during your police career attending firearms range cycles?

Who is that man on the target?

This question was asked (also by the NY Times, in 2005), and the answer is somewhat complex.

There is a theory kept alive in the basement of One Police Plaza in the printing office, where all of the department's literature – and its targets – are printed.

"That's Bruno," said the deputy director. "That's the guy they sketched it from."

"Bruno" is Bruno J. Fulginiti, a member of the police department from 1951 until his retirement in 1977.

Charles Callahan, a former director of printing, said the target was already in use when he arrived in 1968, but everyone agreed that it looked like Officer Fulginiti.

"Bruno had a resemblance to the guy," he said. "He was a press operator, the old letter press," back when the office was on Centre Street, he said. "It's a very manly appearance."

Officer Fulginiti died in 1996, at age 69. His widow, Marie Fulginiti, said she had never heard about any target. "He's never mentioned it," she said on the telephone from her home in Brooklyn. "If that was the case, he would have told me."

Another theory came from a former commander at Rodmans Neck.

"I call it the Ernest Borgnine Target," he said.

In terms of the film and television actor's celebrity at the time the target was created, the theory is solid. Born to Italian immigrants in Hamden, Conn., in 1917 and a boxer in his youth, Mr. Borgnine had appeared in more than 20 films by the time the target was created, most notably as Sgt. James R. (Fatso) Judson, the bully who beats Frank Sinatra's character to death in "From Here to Eternity" in 1953.

The target was created shortly after the range opened in 1960. It was a busy time, with the firearms officers facing brand-new headaches. Bullets sometimes ricocheted off the target posts and back at shooters, until someone developed an angled pole.

Edwin Love was the first administrative lieutenant at the range. Today he is 83 years old, lives in Bayside, Queens, and suffers from a permanent ringing in his ears. He remembers the primitive target in use when he got there.

"If you took a pen and just made a circle for a head, and you made a little open mouth and a couple of dots - it was Mickey Mouse," Mr. Love said. "As soon as I saw it, I felt, 'We got to change that.' "

"I called downtown and they sent up an artist and he was terrific," he said. "I told him what I wanted. He was a quick study. He did excellent, really. Young guy."

The lieutenant - the man who commissioned one of the iconic images of law enforcement - said that he gave the artist a clear command on who it should look like.


" 'The most important thing, don't make it look like anybody,' " Mr. Love said he told the young artist. His fear, he said, was insulting anyone and singling out any specific racial or ethnic group. Whether the artist obeyed, or he happened to glance up and see Sergeant Worell walking past, or he knew Officer Fulginiti from the presses, or he was a fan of the television program "McHale's Navy," which had its debut around that time, may never be known, for Mr. Love does not remember the artist's name.

He does remember inspecting the finished product, and being pleased, for it did look like anybody, and nobody.

Well... almost nobody. Even a target designed to be nobody, it turned out, reminded everybody of somebody else.

"There was a fighter, Rocky Graziano, I thought it looked like him," Mr. Love said, referring to the former world middleweight champion.

"If it looked like anybody, in my estimate," he said. "it was Rocky Graziano."


BULL: a policeman.
BULL-OUT-OF-HARNESS: a plain-clothes man.
[To] BUZZ: to pick pockets.
CADGER: a beggar. (Cadging: begging)
CALL THE TURN: said of a criminal after a detective has identified him.CRIB: a gambling house.
DIP: pickpocket.
ON THE DIP: pickpocketing.
ELBOW: detective.
FLY-COP: a detective.
FRONT OFFICE: police headquarters.
HOLLER: to tell or report to the police.
LEATHER: Pocketbook.
MILKY TOGS: white clothes.
MOB: robbing with companions; Five men generally make up a "mob".
MOLL: a girl.
MOLL-BUZZER: a pickpocket who robs only women.
PETER: a safe.
PETERMEN: safe-blowers.
PORCH-CLIMBER: second-story workers.
QUEER: counterfeit money.


The 1926 NYPD Annual Report notes the existence of the Precinct Numeral Shop.

This shop “continues for the manufacture of insignia worn on collars of uniforms of members of the Force, indicating command to which attached. These insignia numerals are furnished without cost to members of the Force and are made by two disabled patrolmen."


Some banks will soon be adopting “Voice Print Technology” in an effort to thwart pretexting. (We all know what pretexting is, having read my previous posting, correct?)

Efforts to thwart identity thieves and others who pretext - or falsely obtain information out of banks - may take on a high-tech spin in the near future.

No longer will social security numbers, mother's maiden name and other traditional verifiers be used by bank customer service agents.

Instead, inbound customer calls will be compared to previously secured voice prints of the customer to verify his or her identity.

A product called Omvia, from Intervoice (www.InterVoice.com), compares the voice on the phone with the previously stored, officially recognized, voice for the account.

Interesting, James Bond-type stuff!


To check on property records for New York City addresses, try this site:

Property tax search:


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


What may be of interest to investigators, and which has been receiving some attention recently due to the Hewlett-Packard “Pretexting” investigation, is the whole area of telephone “pretexting”, and legislation being examined in California.

In California there is a legislative bill under consideration which aims to stop anyone, including private detectives and law-enforcement agencies, from pre-texting.

Pre-texting is the practice of pretending to be someone else to elicit information. It will be a sore blow to investigators if it is passed.

In the UK this practice is already very difficult to accomplish while staying on the right side of the law. In America you are not allowed to pretend to be a government official or an official from an exisiting company. You also cannot pretend to be the person whose records you are trying to retrieve, either.

Pre-texting is used to help chance down “bad guys” by law enforcement and private detectives and is very useful as criminals etc. are very unlikely to answer your questions if you identify yourself as a law enforcement officer or a private detective, for obvious reasons.
The main reason for support of this bill is due to Identity Theft concerns. No one wants it to be technically legal for criminals to lie to individuals so they can commit identity theft or another crime.


Two of the most famous fictional one-name detectives continue to pop up as trivial questions.

Probably the most famous is Columbo.

The television homicide Lieutenant, known for his sloppy dress, messy car, and an appearance of not really knowing what he’s doing (a lot like another real-life character who goes by the one-name of Eggers?), Columbo can still be seen on reruns at various times of the day. The shows storyline is usually pretty interesting, as well.

Columbo’s first name is never explicitly revealed in the series. When pressed, he would insist that it was “Lieutenant”. Several sources cite the name “Philip Columbo”, variously claiming that the name was either in the original script for Prescription: Murder or that it was visible on his police badge.

The car he drove in the series, and old, beat up Peugeot, even got him some official notoriety.

The Peugeot company even ran an advertising campaign in which they mentioned “Lt. Philip Columbo” as the most famous driver of the Peugeot convertible.

The name “Philip Columbo” was, in fact, invented by Fred L. Worth, author of The Trivia Encyclopedia, who planted the information in his book (and its sequels) in an attempt to catch out anyone who might try to violate his copyright. Fred’s ploy was, however, only partially successful.

In 1984 he filed a $300 million lawsuit against the distributors of the board game Trivial Pursuit, claiming that they had sourced their questions from his books; even to the point of reproducing misprints and typographical errors.

Trivial Pursuit did not deny they sourced material from Fred’s books (amongst others) and submitted that copying from a single source is plagiarism, but compiling information from several sources is called research. The judge agreed, ruling in favor of Trivial Pursuit, and the case was thrown out of court.

The matter of Columbo’s name was finally laid to rest by the release of the first series on DVD. In the episode Dead Weight, where Columbo introduces himself to General Hollister, the audience is shown a close-up of his badge and ID card, complete with the signature of “Frank Columbo”.

The other famous one-name detective is not really a detective, but a medical doctor. A Medical Examiner, to be more specific.

The television series “Quincy, M.E.”, starring Jack Klugman as the Medical Examiner who took a personal role in investigating the deaths of those he conducted autopsies on, also ran for several years with a lot of success.

Quincy’s first name was never mentioned during the entire Quincy, M.E. TV show run. In episode #33, “Accomplice To Murder”, however, his business card was seen with his name written as “Doctor R. Quincy”.

Jack Klugman often said that the question he was most often asked by fans was, “What is Quincy’s first name?”

He answered, “Doctor”!


Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

This goes hand in hand with one of my favorites:
“Plan your work, work your plan, and your plan will work for you”..


I came across this item in a recent edition of PI Magazine: The Journal Of Professional Investigators, and thought I’d pass it along. Not sure when you would ever use it, but you never know.

A Forensic document examiner noted he had come across an “off the wall” trick of the trade. Component-cooler, which is available at Radio Shack, can be sprayed on the reverse side of a document that has been whited-out with liquid paper. The paper becomes transparent temporarily and with a hand mirror you can read what was underneath. You can also spray this stuff on an envelope to see what is inside! The advantage of using this product is, if you use it sparingly, when it dries it is undetectable.

I’m not really too sure what use this Component Cooler has. It comes in a can that looks like the spray can you use to clean off keyboards, but is labeled “Freezer” and “Diagnostic Freeze Spray”. The item I saw was a blue can made by “Techspray”.


I’d like to take a moment to recognize some recent promotions in Brooklyn North Detectives to some well-deserving individuals.

Jimmy Kennedy of Brooklyn North Homicide was promoted to Detective First Grade, while Timmy Duffy, also of Homicide, was promoted to Second Grade! Well deserved promotions for both of these murder-sleuths.

Also being promoted from Brooklyn North were Keith Wallen, from the 79Sqd, Silvio Bellissimo of the 81 Sqd, and Joe Tallarine of the 83 Sqd – all being elevated to Second Grade.

Some other noted promotions included Mike Habert of Brooklyn South Homicide to Second Grade, Harry Antoine of Major Case, formerly of the 88 Sqd, to First Grade, and Janice Brocato, currently from the 73 Sqd and formerly from the 83 Sqd, promoted to Lieutenant.

Perhaps with this promotion Janice will make a career move to a more northern part of the city so she can cut back on her three-hour one-way commute to her new home somewhere upstate – it’s far enough away from the city that she needs to program different radio stations into the car radio!

Best wishes to all the promotees!


Try to work these words into your DD5’s.

Elucubrate: To produce by working long and diligently. (i’-lu-ku-brate)

Pulchritude: Great physical beauty and appeal. (pul-kru-tood)


September 25, 1895 Ptl John Delehanty, 21 Pct, assaulted
September 25, 1953 Ptl Harry Widder, GCP-Hwy3, Auto accident
September 25, 1971 PO Arthur Pelo, HA-BkSI, Shot-robbery arrest
September 25, 1995 PO David Willis, 10 Pct, Auto accident, radio run
September 26, 1977 PO Vito Chiaramonte, HA-CCU, Shot
September 27, 1849 Ptl Thomas Lynch, NFI
September 27, 1945 Det Frank McGrath, 2 Sqd, Shot-investigation
September 27, 1992 PO William Gunn, 67 PDU, Shot-investigation
September 28, 1921 Ptl Joseph Reuschle, 42 Pct, Shot by prisoner
September 28, 1934 Ptl John Fraser, 4 Div, Shot-robbery in progress
September 29, 1854 Ptl James Cahill, 11 Ward, Shot-Burglary **
September 29, 1965 Ptl Donald Rainey, Auto Crime, Shot-Mistaken ID, off duty
September 29, 1983 PO Joseph McCormack, ESU, Shot-barricade situation
October 1, 1963 Ptl John Donovan, GCP-Hwy3, Motorcycle accident on patrol
October 2, 1960 Ptl Philip Curtin, 19 Pct, Info not available
October 2, 1969 Ptl Salvatore Spinola, ESU, Asphyxiation during rescue
October 3, 1913 Sgt Joseph McNierney, 29 Pct, Stabbed during arrest
October 3, 1929 Ptl William McCaffrey, Traffic Div, Auto accident on patrol
October 4, 1928 Ptl John Gibbons, Mcy1, Motorcycle accident on patrol
October 6, 1864 Ptl Charles Curren, 42 Pct Brooklyn, shot during arrest