Friday, December 28, 2007


Nuclear DNA: DNA located within the nucleus of a cell. Nuclear DNA is typically analyzed in evidence consisting of blood, semen, hair that has tissue at the root end, saliva, skin cells, tissues, organs.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): DNA located within the cell mitochondria and not the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA is typically analyzed in evidence consisting of naturally shed hairs without tissue at the root end, hair fragments without the tissue at the root ends, bones and teeth.

Contact DNA Evidence: Contact DNA evidence consists of Nuclear DNA obtained from skin cells that are deposited / transferred on to a subtrate as a result of contact between a person and the subtrate. Contact DNA can be collected from such items as eyeglasses, cell phones, shirt collars, hat bands and other “touched” items such as door knobs, broken glass, metal containers, etc.

Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA Analysis: The analysis of ectremely small quantities of Nuclear DNA evidence. It is usually performed on contact DNA evidence and on extremely small samples of DNA evidence, and on extremely degraded samples of DNA evidence.

Substrate: The surface onto which DNA is deposited or transferred.


Here’s an interesting web site to check out if you enjoy true-crime stories, or stories written by police officers.

Provides a very good index of books written by police officers (active and retired), with indexing by authors, department, subjects, and others.

Certainly worth taking a look at.


The Hotsy Totsy Club: 1721 Broadway

Story has it that not everyone carried out of the Hotsy Totsy Club on Broadway was dead drunk - sometimes they were just plain dead.

That’s not so surprising since the owner of the club was Legs Diamond, who, in the 1920s, was highly regarded in the field of organized crime.

Legs, it seems, could also be a pleasant host as long as patrons kept their eyes shut while inside the club. Otherwise, they were liable to end up in court testifying against gangsters, if not at the bottom of the East River.

One night in 1929, Legs and gangster pal Charlie Entratta got into a drunken argument with two men. Suddenly, guns were drawn and bullets were flying. In seconds, the two men, one of them nicknamed Red, were lying on the floor of the club in a puddle of blood.

For the next eight months, cops searched everywhere for legs, but all the witnesses to the double murder – including the bartender, three customers, a cashier, and the hat-check girl – either disappeared or died very unnaturally. The following March, ten months after the shootings, Legs walked into a police precinct in Midtown and asked, “You guys looking for me?”

It was a fine time to surrender since no one was left to testify against him. The Hotsy Totsy murders were never solved, leading one newspaper to write: “The solution is locked up in the graves of dead men and in the minds of a few men still alive who are anxious to keep on living until their time comes to die from natural causes.”

Legs, known for surviving dozens of bullet wounds, finally died in his sleep a year later in an Albany hotel room. The police found him in his pajamas, with three bullet holes in his head.


Several of my latest postings on this site concerning organized crime in Italy, and in particular, the area of Naples controlled principally by the Camorra.

This is in large part to a recent book I finished, GOMORRAH- A PERSONAL JOURNEY INTO THE VIOLENT INTERNATIONAL EMPIRE OF NAPLES’ ORGANIZED CRIME SYSTEM, authored by Roberto Saviano.

The author lived in Naples, and won a Literary award for this, his first book. It was also noted that “since its publication, he has been placed under police protection.”

A passage in the book noted how “movies are the forms of expression.” It was noted how the Camorristi look to the movies to create for themselves a criminal image they would like to emulate, but somehow lack.

This also includes cinematographic inspiration on how one handles a gun.

A veteran of the Naples police force’s forensic division remarked how much the Camorra killers imitate the movies:

“Ever since (Quentin) Tarantino (the American movie director) these guys don’t know the right way to shoot! They don’t keep the barrel straight anymore. Now they hold it crooked, like in the movies, which makes for disaster. They hit the guts, groin, or legs, seriously wounding but not killing. And so they have to finish off the victim with a bullet to the nape of the neck. A pool of pointless blood, a barbarism completely superfluous to the goal of execution.”

How many times have we not heard similar statements by our own witnesses, describing the same way the gun was handled by the shooter, cocked sideways, preventing the gun from operating properly – but looking like the movies!

We thought it was only here in Brooklyn? Not by far – not only does art imitate life, but very often life imitates art – when it comes to the movies!


January 2, 1932 Ptl John Kranz, Det Sqd, Shot
January 3, 1975 PO Michael McConnon, 13 Pct, Shot-robbery
January 3, 1978 PO Ronald Stapleton, 77 Pct, Shot, off duty incident
January 5, 1922 Det William Miller, 38 Sqd(32 Sq), Shot-arrest
January 5, 1922 Det Francis Buckley, Det Div, Shot-arrest
January 5, 1944 Ptl Patrick Malone, Traffic I, Auto accident on patrol
January 7, 1930 Ptl Paul Schafer, 19 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
January 7, 1933 Ptl Walter Murphy, 14 Div (13 Div), Shot-pursuit
January 7, 1934 Ptl Ernest McCarron, 68 Pct, Fire rescue
January 8, 1946 Ptl Benjamin Wallace, 32 Pct, Shot-Investigation
January 9, 1938 Ptl Anthony Tornatore, 52 Pct, Shot-investigation
January 9, 1973 Ptl Stephen Gilroy, ESS8, Shot-robbery / hostages
January 10, 1987 PO Francis LaSalla, ESS1, Fire rescue
January 10, 1998 PO Edward Ahrens, 28 Pct, Shot (5/5/75) narco invest

As New Years Day approaches, I would like to express a very Happy and Healthy New Years wish to all!

The Minister of Investigation

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The most recent posting outlined the Camorra of Italy’s Naples region, and their stronghold on organized crime enterprise in southern Italy.

It’s no surprise the drug trade continues to be a major source of income for many organized crime groups. Italy’s Camorra, and the Sicilian Mafia, are no exception.

A recent report outlined a major drug operation attacked by Italian authorities.

It noted that Sicily's Cosa Nostra ( Mafia) is still a major force in the global drugs trade and has not been supplanted by its Calabrian cousin the 'Ndrangheta or the Camorra of Naples.

On a Wednesday in early December 2007 Italian police arrested some 40 people accused of selling cocaine and marijuana from the 'narcotrafficantes' of Colombia and Peru all across Italy.

In the operation, which used 300 police officers, several helicopters and a number of drug-sniffing dog units, police said they had smashed a major Palermo based drug ring.

The gang, police said, imported more than 100 kg of drugs annually with a street value of some $1.2 million US dollars per kg!

''This operation shows that Cosa Nostra is still a major player in drugs,'' said Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) transnational crime envoy Carlo Vizzini.

''Sicily is becoming, once again, a key cross-roads for the international drug trade,'' he added. A rash of recent operations against Cosa Nostra kingpins appeared to highlight that the Sicilian crime organisation had gone back to more traditional areas of crime such as racketeering and public contract swindles - allowing the 'Ndrangheta to become the world leader in narcotics. The Italian Mafia accounts for some seven percent of Italy's GDP, according to the most recent figures.


The Camorra has always thrived in cities, whereas the Mafia, although now city-based, came from rural beginnings.

Also, the Mafia began as a nationalist movement dedicated to the protection of fellow Sicilians. This accounts for the huge support the Mafia received in Sicilian communities, a support that Neapolitans never shared for the Camorra. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Mafia has always been the more successful of the two societies.

The first known Camorra group in New York appeared in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s and was instigated by Neapolitan extortionist Alessandro Vollero. New York detective Jospeh Petrosino (who has been profiled on this site previously) discovered that the New York Camorra was hiding Enrico Alfano, a Camorrista and a wanted fugitive in his native Naples. Alfano had entered the US illegally and was deported in 1907.

Unaware of the ethnic and cultural differences between the various regions of Italy, those outside the Italian-American communities saw no distinction between an Italian from Sicily and an Italian from Campania. In reality, Italian immigrants in the early 20th century stuck with people from their own native towns and regions, and the Camorra were traditional rivals of the more successful Mafia. But by 1916, there were Camorra families in other Eastern US cities and Vollero was considered capo di tutti capi, (boss of all bosses).

At this time, they were in a position to compete with the Mafia’s most powerful New York family, the Black Hand Gang of Manhattan.

One of the Camorristas who enroached on Mafia territory was Pelligrino Morano, a Coney Island gangster who operated gambling dens in Brooklyn. In 1916, one of Morano’s men, Nick Del Gaudio, was shot dead in East Harlem, in the heart of the Black Hand’s territory. This was the first shot in the Mafia-Camorra War. In May 1917, all the major Camorra bosses met in the Saint Lucia, a Coney Island restaurant owned by Morano.

Meeting with Vollero and Morano were New Yorkers Lorenzo Legale, Charles Giordano, Luigi Turriese and Luigi Bizarro. Andrea Ricca, the boss of Philadelphia was also present with other Camorristas from outside New York: Eugenio Bizzaro, Albert Esposito, Salvatore Costa, Salvatore Coppolo, Albert Altieri and Tom Corillo. Leopoldo Lauritano, a renegade member of the Black Hand Gang was also present. At the meeting, the Camorra agreed on a plan to wipe out the Black Hand leadership.

Much fighting went on after the meeting in Coney Island, and it took six months for the Camorra to put their plan into action. "Torpedo" Tony Notaro approached the Black Hand leader Nicholas Morello and invited him to attend a peace meeting with Vollero and Morano at Vollero’s café in Navy Street. On November 6 1916, Morello and his underboss, Charles Umbriaco went to the meeting but were shot dead outside the café by four members of the Camorra. Bartolomeo Pagano was the man who had been contracted for the hit. The other shooters were Tom Corillo, Alphonse Sgroi and Johnny "Lefty" Esposito (Lauritano’s personal hit man who had killed for the Black Hand just two weeks previously).

As the war continued, "Torpedo" Notaro and Ralph Daniello were arrested for the murder of mafioso Giuseppe Favarro in 1917. Rather than face life imprisonment, Notaro and Daniello became state witnesses. In September 1918, Vollero and Morano received life sentences for the murder double-murder of Nicholas Morello and Charles Umbriaco. Notaro and Daniello indicated that Leopoldo Lauritano had provided the gunmen, and Lauritano was consequently convicted as an accessory. As cooperating witnesses, Notaro and Daniello received reduced sentences. Upon release, Notaro suffered from the infamous "White Death" meaning he disappeared without a trace. It is interesting that Vollero’s cellmate in Sing-Sing prison was Joseph Valachi, a member of the Mafia and one of history’s most celebrated mob informants.

The convictions effectively ended the power of the Camorra. Many of the gangs continued to operate their gambling and extortion rackets but in the rough prejudiced environment of the New York ghettos produced a more unified Italian community. La Cosa Nostra, the modern American Mafia, began accepting members from outside of Sicily and the Camorra gradually became incorporated into the Mafia. There are still some Camorra factions in the US, but the society holds little of the power it had in early New York.


If nothing else, Italian organized crime figures have very intricate initiation rites.
The Camorra is no exception.

After initiation there was a ceremony of reception. The camorristi stood round a table on which were a dagger, a loaded pistol, a glass of water or wine supposed to be poisoned and a lancet.

The picciotto – this was the person being initiated into, or “made” - was brought in and one of his veins opened. Dipping his hand in his own blood, he held it out to the camorristi and swore to keep the society's secrets and obey orders.

Then he had to stick the dagger into the table, cock the pistol, and hold the glass to his mouth to show his readiness to die for the society.

His master now bade him kneel before the dagger, placed his right hand on the lad's head while with the left he fired off the pistol into the air and smashed the poison glass. He then drew the dagger from the table and presented it to the new comrade and embraced him, as did all the other members who gathered around.

A swearing-in ceremony, so to speak!


In the second mystery novel by the Edgar Award-nominated author Gabriel Cohen, Detective Jack Leightner of Brooklyn South Homicide hunts a most bizarre killer.

Jack’s pursuit takes him on a whirlwind tour of hidden parts of New York Harbor, from the secret world of Governor’s Island to the shipyards of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And, of course, Red Hook. It was Cohen’s first novel, titled Red Hook, that won the author acclaim for his writing.

I have to note that I enjoyed reading this book prior to its publication, and was happy to be able to contribute acclaim for the story that made it to the inside cover flap of this hardcover.

“A story that engages the reader from the first page, and a gripping tale of mystery and suspense. You will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at a world known only to the New York detective” – so states the Commander of NYPD’s Brooklyn North Homicide Squad.

Looking for something to read? Perhaps a stocking stuffer for the holidays? Why not check out The Graving Dock.


Comment overheard from a recent retiree:

“I miss the clowns, but I don’t miss the circus”.


You may have the chance to see this movie on one of the more obscure cable channels, perhaps on Encore Mystery or Sleuth TV.

This 1977 movie is another of Frank Sinatra’s tough-detective movies.

This television movie’s plot concerns the partner--and best friend--of a tough New York detective who is murdered by killers working for a local mob. Infuriated at the inability of the Police Department to bring in the murderers, he decides--with the help of a few of his fellow detectives--to operate on his own, using whatever means necessary, to destroy the gang.

In other words – Sinatra takes on the mob!

In this movie, the 5’8 62-year old Frank Sinatra knocks around mob thugs and sends them home crying.

If you’re looking for a movie aiming for a realistic gritty tone, this can be somewhat hard to take seriously. But it’s not a bad movie.

Sinatra forms a special cop team to crack down on car thefts in New York City; the team is basically Michael Nouri as the idealistic kid, Henry Silva as the voice of reason (not something Silva was known for playing) and Harry Guardino as a vengeance crazed cop.
Somehow, the dedicated team causes a gang war to erupt among the mob families and for a 1970's TV movie, there is a lot more violence than would be expected.

The movie gets more and more out of control until Sinatra's mad dash to save the city at the end. Sinatra breaks so many rules, it is really hard to see how he would be able to stay out of jail, much less remain on the job. But hey, this Sinatra's world and he makes the rules.

Sinatra plays a crime-fighting Deputy Inspector, Frank Hovannes, of the Organized Crime Unit. Helping him chase down the mob are his team that’s led by Captain Ernie Weinberg, played by Martin Balsam.

Verna Bloom plays Sinatra’s wife. Anyone who knows Larry Eggers will know Verna as Larry’s good friend and “Hollywood connection”. Had this movie been done a few years later, Larry may have had his big break acting here!


As we prepare for Christmas and the New Years celebrations, I would like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays to you and your families.

Be safe, and don’t remember to stop and say a prayer for family and friends who are no longer here with us.


January 2, 1932 Ptl John Kranz, Det Sqd, Shot
January 3, 1975 PO Michael McConnon, 13 Pct, Shot-robbery
January 3, 1978 PO Ronald Stapleton, 77 Pct, Shot, off duty incident
January 5, 1922 Det William Miller, 38 Sqd(32 Sq), Shot-arrest
January 5, 1922 Det Francis Buckley, Det Div, Shot-arrest
January 5, 1944 Ptl Patrick Malone, Traffic I, Auto accident on patrol
January 7, 1930 Ptl Paul Schafer, 19 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
January 7, 1933 Ptl Walter Murphy, 14 Div (13 Div), Shot-pursuit
January 7, 1934 Ptl Ernest McCarron, 68 Pct, Fire rescue
January 8, 1946 Ptl Benjamin Wallace, 32 Pct, Shot-Investigation

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We often hear about the organized crime gangs originating in Italy, under the basic heading of “the Mafia”. In fact, the Italian National Police (Polizia di Stato) has a division that addresses organized crime that is known, rather appropriately, as the Anti-Mafia Directorate: La Direzione Investigativa Antimafia – DIA.

But when it comes to organized crime, “The Mafia” becomes the catch-all phrase for all groups involved in organized crime.

There are three main criminal organizations of mafia in Italy. All are based in southern Italy, starting at Naples and moving south. The Sicilian Mafia is based in – you guessed it – Sicily. Then there is the ‘Ndrangheta, based in Calabria, and the Camorra, based in Naples. In addition to these, two other groups have appeared – Stidda and Sacra Corona Unita.

In addition to these, Italy is also seeing, due to immigration to that country, many foreign mafias from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia starting to develop, even in Northern Italy and Central Italy which were historically free from mafia incidents.

Organized crime in Naples has historically been known to have its foundation in almost every facet of daily life. From the milk people drink, the gasoline they purchase, and clothes they purchase in stores, it has been said that nothing goes on in Naples without a payoff being made.

The Camorra is to Naples what the Mafia is to Sicily." Ironically, the New York branch of this secret criminal society did not receive much recognition in its own right, and would be relatively obscure were it not for the bitter rivalry with its Sicilian counterpart.

Picture this: gun battles among rival gangs, robberies in central shops and stores, delinquents chasing one another across narrow streets, dozens of murders of criminals, but also innocent people. It is not a Hollywood movie: it is a terrifying real scenario, and the most surprising aspect is that it is happening in Naples, Italy, in the heart of civilized Europe.

An increasing wave of criminal violence has stained the streets of this charming and sunny Mediterranean city with blood. A crime war is pitting major gangs against one another in a fight to gain control of Naples' criminal activities, especially those related to drug trafficking, money laundering, prostitution, and illegal waste management (the so-called eco-mafia). Everyone in Naples and Campania — the region surrounding Naples — knows it as the Camorra, or the local Mafia.

The Camorra is, in fact, both an economic power and a social background. On one hand, it has built over the decades an intricate network of semi-legal and illegal activities, making it a profitable local enterprise, but with a reach that stretches around the world.

On the other hand, it forges cultural habits and contributes to shape — in a negative way — the social background of Naples' neighborhoods.

Criminal bosses are being killed on the orders of other criminal bosses. This war among gangs, says La Repubblica, citing intelligence sources, may cause a "bloody feud … because life, in Naples, has become worthless." Often, not even innocent people caught up in these ambushes are spared.

There is a deep-rooted layer of "micro-criminality," a countless number of common juvenile delinquents, teenagers who have grown up in suburbs where crimes, robberies, and bag snatchings have become activities of their everyday lives. In the Naples hinterland, schools have become a luxury or even a waste of time for some young people: in the streets, they can learn — and earn — much more.
A sprawling megapolis, one of the youngest and most densely populated cities in Europe, Naples is a zone of social distress. Six out of ten youths are unemployed and, for young graduates, immigration toward the north of the country and to foreign lands has begun again. In a neighborhood like La Forcella, in the heart of the historic center, 86% of the population has not progressed beyond the stage of elementary education. In this neighborhood, every youth is potentially a Camorra recruit. Most youths leave school very early, to hang out in the streets, where they find no social or family structure. There is no work, but you still have to pay the rent, the bills. That’s why they are so little susceptible to the lure of easy money. As sentinel for a drug dealer, a youth can earn 200 euros a day, and the wages increase with responsibility in the clan.

Compared to its counterparts elsewhere in Italy, Sacra corona unita in Puglia and 'Ndrangheta in Calabria, it was more involved in piracy. Also, compared to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra's pyramidal structure, the Camorra is made up of many clans that often fight each other. Drive-by shootings by camorristi often result in casualties among the local populations, but such episodes are often difficult to investigate because of widespread Omertà (code of silence).
Raffaele Cutolo made an attempt to unify the Camorra families in the manner of the Sicilian Mafia, by forming the New Organized Camorra (Nuova Camorra Organizzata or NCO), but this proved unsuccessful.

Since the mid-1990s, the Camorra has taken over the handling of garbage disposal in the region of Campania, with disastrous results for the environment and the health of the general population. Heavy metals, industrial waste and chemicals and household garbage are frequently mixed together, dumped near roads and burnt to avoid detection, leading to a severe soil and air pollution. As of June 2007, the region has no serviceable dumping sites and no alternatives have been found. Together with corrupt local officials and unscrupulous industrialists from all over Italy, the Camorra has created a cartel that has so far proved very difficult to combat for officials.

Due to its extensive shipping ports many of the consumer goods traveling from Asian and European manufacturers pass through the Ports of Naples. This has led to extensive opportunities for organized crime, creating a vast network of black market goods – and counterfeit products. It’s a common belief that if you can buy it legitimately anywhere, you can get it on the black market in Naples – for a lot cheaper!

Want to build a house? Building materials, and cement, are controlled by Camorra entities. In fact the cement industry is so steeped in organized crime that building projects have been believed to include tons of cement work for no other reason than to pad the pockets of the Camorra based cement contractors.

More recently the Camorra has mad links to gangs in the former Soviet Union, and is under investigation for smuggling of Russian weapons and even nuclear material.


Nuclear DNA: DNA located within the nucleus of a cell. Nuclear DNA is typically analyzed in evidence consisting of blood, semen, hair that has tissue at the root end, saliva, skin cells, tissues, organs.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): DNA located within the cell mitochondria and not the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA is typically analyzed in evidence consisting of naturally shed hairs without tissue at the root end, hair fragments without the tissue at the root ends, bones and teeth.

Contact DNA Evidence: Contact DNA evidence consists of Nuclear DNA obtained from skin cells that are deposited / transferred on to a subtrate as a result of contact between a person and the subtrate. Contact DNA can be collected from such items as eyeglasses, cell phones, shirt collars, hat bands and other “touched” items such as door knobs, broken glass, metal containers, etc.

Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA Analysis: The analysis of ectremely small quantities of Nuclear DNA evidence. It is usually performed on contact DNA evidence and on extremely small samples of DNA evidence, and on extremely degraded samples of DNA evidence.

Substrate: The surface onto which DNA is deposited or transferred.


On this, the birthday of Frank Sinatra, it’s only fitting to make note of one of The Chairman’s famous detective movie – The Detective.

This movie hit the screen in 1968, with a great cast of characters.

Police detective Joe Leland, played by Frank Sinatra, investigates the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs. The movie is based on the Roderick Thorpe novel.
In addition to Sinatra, it stars Lee Remick as the love interest to Detective Leland. Also noted in the cast is Jack Klugman, Tony Musante Robert Duvall – and – the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson.
Frank Sinatra was supposed to costar with his wife, Mia Farrow in this film but a film that Farrow was working on was running behind schedule, so she refused. Sinatra got so mad, he made the film without her and served her divorce papers on the set of that film, Rosemary's Baby.

It’s interesting to note that the character played by Sinatra, Detective Joe Leland, appeared in a sequel that Roderick Thorp wrote, Nothing Lasts Forever, where Leland is trapped in a Claxxon Oil Corporation skyscraper after it's taken by German terrorists and must rescue his daughter and grandchildren. Twenty years later the novel was filmed with some changes: the daughter became his wife, Claxxon became the Nakatomi Corporation and Joe Leland's name was changed to John McClane. The film was released under the title Die Hard in 1988.


The following information was sent to me on December 7, noting the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

I found it interesting enough to pass it on.

On an episode of Jeopardy one night, the question was asked “How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns”?

If you have ever been to Arlington National Cemetery, to see this take place is an awesome sight.

Here are some facts related to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – and those soldiers chosen to guard it.

How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

The guard takes 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is thehighest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

Again, he stops for 21 seconds for the same reason as noted above.

Did you know that the gloves that the soldier wears are wet? His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

The Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30." Other requirements of the Guard include a commitment for 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb inany way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb.

There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of theirlives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

During the first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, Congress took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin,marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since 1930.


December 16, 1920 Lt Floyd Horton, 40 Pct, Shot: GLA arrest
December 16, 1981 PO Anthony Abruzzo, Jr, 109 Pct, Shot-Robbery, off duty
December 20, 1859 Ptl John Steward, NFI
December 20, 1925 Ptl Stephen McPhillips, 23 Pct, Electrocuted
December 20, 1936 Ptl James Smith, Traffic C, Auto accident
December 20, 1967 Ptl Robert Harris, HAPD, Shot-gun arrest
December 20, 1971 Ptl Carson Terry, HAPD-SI, Shot, off duty arrest
December 20, 1976 PO Carlos King, TPD D2, Shot-off duty robbery
December 21, 1930 Ptl Howard Barrows, 105 Pct, Auto accident
December 21, 1967 Ptl George Bishop, Aviation, Helicopter accident
December 21, 1967 Ptl Plato Arvantis, Aviation, Helicopter accident
December 22, 1927 Lt Charles Kemmer, 54 Pct, Shot-burglary arrest
December 22, 1940 Ptl Joseph Kussius, GCP Pct, Motorcycle accident
December 22, 1977 PO William Flood, PBQ, Shot-Robbery, off duty
December 22, 1996 PO Charles Davis, MWS, Shot-Off duty robbery
December 23, 1929 Ptl Michael Speer, 71 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
December 23, 1930 Ptl James McMahon, Traffic F, Injured on patrol
December 23, 1939 Ptl John Briggs, 23 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
December 24, 1935 Ptl James Dowling, 25 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
December 24, 1980 PO Gabriel Vitale, 109 Pct, Shot-investigation
December 25, 1935 Ptl Joseph Reiner, Traffic H, Auto accident on patrol
December 27, 1944 Det Anthony McGinley, 5 DetDist, Shot-Domestic dispute
December 28, 1929 Ptl Joseph Jockel, McyDist, Shot-arrest
December 28, 1974 PO Kenneth Mahon, 41 Pct, Shot-robbery
December 28, 1978 PO David Guttenberg, 68 Pct, Shot-robbery
December 28, 1991 Sgt Keith Levine, CommDiv, Shot-robbery, off duty
December 29, 1878 Ptl Asa Furness, 10 Pct, Shot by EDP

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

“Ad hoc solutions don’t cure the disease, they merely mask the pain”


P.O. Carlos King, ASSIGNED TO Transit District 2, was killed in the line of duty on December 20, 1976.

PO King was appointed to the Transit Police Department on July 6, 1964.

Officer King was shot and killed when he attempted to take action during a robbery while working an off duty job as a cab driver. When the suspect attempted to rob him Officer King identified himself as a police officer and was shot and killed. Officer King’s open shield case was found on the seat where it dropped from his hand.

He was survived by his wife and two sons.


Just what does that mean?

I recently listened to a lecture that was sponsored by Duke University for its MBA candidates at the Fuqua School of Business, on Leadership Development. (Yes, I have a broad range of interests; I’m not just a super-buff).

There is a very distinct difference in running a public service agency like a police department, fulfilling a crime fighting mission (yes, fighting crime IS what we are all about; a fact which I sometimes feel we need to remind others of) and running a business.

But I think that it has been proven that the leadership traits exhibited by those that excel in business can absolutely be applied to public service – I believe our city is being run by a Mayor who would surely back up that statement.

Back on track – recruitment, mentoring and retention. So what?

The keynote address for this Duke MBA Leadership Experience was given by Doug Lattner, the CEO of Deloitte Consulting. Much of what he presented had little application to running a police agency, as he talked a lot of global application, maximizing profits and topics that a profit and loss business answerable to stockholders was concerned with.

As I listened to what he was saying, I tried to think of its application to the New York City Police Department (like I said, I have a broad range of interests, but I’m still a buff at heart).

“An organization that does not focus on recruitment, mentoring and retention of its key asset – its human resources – is setting itself up for doom”.

The scope of his presentation was that, as MBA candidates, they should seek to find organizations that espouse these traits for their own employment, and that they should continue to follow this in whatever organization they become a part of.

Essentially, those organizations that practiced this were among the best.

How do we, as the largest police department in the largest city in the world, apply this principle?

Granted, much of these concepts are at best mildly applicable to an agency such as ours. We recruit for initial employment, and most of those that start to work here remain here for as long as 20 years. How exactly, then, does this apply?

Do we focus on the recruitment of the best possible candidates for our positions? We certainly have obstacles that private enterprise does not when it comes to this aspect, but yet we have always needed to overcome those. Are we doing the best job possible?

Here is where I really perked up my attention. Mentoring.

What do we do to help our people, once they begin working here, to become the best possible police officer they can be? What do we do to help a young rookie become not only oriented to his new position, but guide him/her along as they advance in their career?

Do we provide help and assistance to our people to assure that they can perform their required tasks to their best ability? And do we help to counsel our people in career advancement, finding the right spot for the right person, or do we leave it all to chance?

Do we engage in any practice to foster retention of our people?

Granted, in the framework of the police agency many officers seek to complete their time towards an early retirement and then move on. There will always be those that no manner of retention efforts can be effective.

What do we do to retain our talent in our organization? Do we develop investigators over several years time, only to see them advance to a management level – and then change their entire job assignment away from that which they professionally developed?

Apparently, in private industry, these three items are the current “buzz words”, or key words an organization strives to provide in their workplace, in order to show their commitment to the people that work for them.

I believe that where we often fall short, is in this attempt to advance our abilities as an organization by maximizing the talents of our people. Instead, it sometimes feels that we expect performance DESPITE our organizational paradigm, perhaps taking advantage of those who will do whatever needs to be done to get the job done – BECAUSE we are NOT doing it for profit, we are doing it ON A MISSION OF JUSTICE. “It’s the life we’ve chosen”.

Most of us remain where we are, fighting crime – putting handcuffs on people – because we truly see it as a mission. A calling, perhaps. Do we sometimes feel taken advantage of, by those who know we’d do it despite the obstacles? Perhaps.

The other thing that Mr. Lattner said, that I had to write down so as not to forget it, was this.

“If you don’t realize the loss of talent you’re going to fail as an organization”.

Apparently, current business trends as espoused by the leaders of industry realize that retaining your key people is essential.

I just found that interesting.


In New York City history, an Act was passed on May 17, 1882, that authorized the Board of Police to establish a Bureau, “not to exceed forty detectives, which should be called the Central Office Bureau of Detectives, who were entitled to receive the same pay as the Sergeants of Police, namely one thousand six hundred dollars per year”.

This was part of the Consolidation Act that joined the police agencies in New York City.

Some Detective history takes place even before this.

Detectives were originally called “shadows”.

In 1857, Sergeant Leffers was appointed to the command of the Detective Squad, and served as such for 1 year.

After that, Captain George Walling of the City Hall Station was placed in charge.

He alternated between the station house and the Detective Office, which was in the basement of the then Headquarters Building in Broome Street. He remained in command from 1858 to 1860. Next came John Young, f rom 1860 to 1867, succeeded by James J. Kelso from 1867 to 1870, retiring to make room for James Irving. Irving served from 1870 to 1875, followed by Captain James Kealy from 1876 to 1880. Then Inspector Thomas Byrnes took charge.

It was under Inspector Thomas Byrnes that a serious and successful attempt to give New York City a Detective Department took place.

It was in 1857 that the Board of Police adopted a resolution giving the Deputy Superintendent the power to detail to his office twenty Policemen, to be designated “Detectives”. This resolution was carried into effect by Deputy Supt. Carpenter.

Selection was made of those with peculiar talents that were adaptable to this service.

The force was divided into squads, each squad having particular cognizance of a certain class of crimes. Their instructions were to make themselves thoroughly conversant with the mode and manner by which each species of crime was committed, and the class of persons engaged in its commission.

They were also directed to attended at night all large assemblies, and to arrest and drive away all known pickpockets.

Pickpockets and shoplifters were of particular concern at any place where large numbers of people gathered.


Back in 1857 when these Detectives became established under Sergeant Lefferts, an “ambrotype gallery of photographs was established of all known pickpockets, shoplifters, watch-stuffers, as well as those who were arrested for crime of a higher grade”.

This gallery was open for public view, especially for anyone who had become a crime victim.

It is noted that in 1859 the Detective Force of New York and Brooklyn consisted of a number of Patrolman “not to exceed forty”, and that Brooklyn and New York remained under separate command.

The Detective Force of Brooklyn was under the immediate command of the Deputy Superintendent, but the Detective force of New York, because of its larger number, was under the command of a Captain of Police, and “constituted a company corresponding to that of a precinct, and was subject to the general rules and regulations governing a precinct”.

“The members of the force in the different precincts assigned to Detective duties should report to the Captain of the Twenty-fifth Precinct (Detective force) as well as to the Captain of their respective precincts”.

MY NOTE: One of the absolutely best books I have yet to find is OUR POLICE PROTECTORS, written in 1885 by A.E. Costello and Published for the Benefit of the Police Pension Fund. I found this book in an antiquarian book store by accident. An inscription inside the front page, dated October 1883, attests to the fact that “all proceeds will be devoted to the Police Pension Fund”, and signed by the Treasurer and the Chief Clerk of the Police Department of the City of New York.

It is absolutely chock full of New York City Police history, over 600 pages long, and will certainly go a long way to provide me many future postings to this site!

The information posted above on some Detective Force history comes from this book – and I can assure you, many more where that comes from!


“It was obviously a natural death – you’re naturally going to die when you get shot that many times”.

“A friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move the body”.

Famous last words: “What are you gonna’ do now, Shoot me”?

Monday, November 26, 2007


The winding trek on Route 16 from Tannersville is peaceful, lovely and mostly silent, except for the occasional sound of a passing car or a gust through the trees.

Here in Elka Park, the Bruderhof have done once again what they are wont to do: they’ve taken on a massive community service project, this time beautifully restoring the former New York City Police Recreation Center. Fifteen years ago, the Bruderhof purchased this enormous property on Platte Clove Road, which consisted of a four story main building, an A-frame dining hall, and several other structures, turning the place into a nursery, a school, a factory, a meeting place for worship and a permanent dwelling for this mild-mannered Christian community. The Catskill Bruderhof is one of three local Bruderhof communities and one of 11 Bruderhof communities worldwide.

The New York City Police Department built a resort hotel here in the Catskill Mountains in 1921. It was officially known as the Police Recreation Center, but more commonly known simply as “The Police Camp”.

But one spark from a fireplace led to tragedy one year later: the hotel burned to the ground. Nevertheless, it was rebuilt immediately with three stories of brick and stucco and enjoyed six decades as a “police camp,” the site of many festive memories for the families and friends of the officers who came upstate to escape the bustle of the city and to revel in the glory of nature.

Many visitors took pleasure in the movie theater, casino, bar, lounge, swimming pool and ballroom onsite. Even a manmade lake for swimming and boating was dug in 1969. But eventually, as the decades rolled by, business declined.

In 1983, the Police Recreation Center sadly closed its doors, remaining unoccupied for eight years.

The buildings began falling into disrepair due to neglect. That is, until the Bruderhof came along. It seemed the perfect place for yet another of their communities, and with some hard labor—a great deal by the dedicated Bruderhof youth—hundreds of their people were able to take up residence. Though many changes have taken place, the original beauty still remains. Here, at this lovely, restored recreation center, the elderly and the youth live and work side by side, serving each other, their community and their God. And they welcome the public and all those who used to vacation here, because they would like to learn more about the center’s history.

The Catskill Bruderhof and new Police Recreation Center, at 2255 Platte Clove Road, Elka Park, is open to the public every day. They especially would love to meet former police campers who would like to add any old memories to those already collected by the children. For more information on the center or Bruderhof life, visit or

I want to extend my thanks to Ret Det.Capt Frank Bolz, for passing along this information on the current state of the Police Camp. I continue to meet others who spent many happy youthful times in the Police Camp. I have recounted some of my own memories there on this web site in the past, including my first meeting with Frank Bolz on a softball field. Chances are, if you run into a current MOS who is the child of a former MOS, and grew up in the 60’s, they spent time at the Police Camp!

I received an email a while ago that recounted some of these memories. They were from John Murtha, son of Ret. Lt Joe Murtha of the 71 Squad, who retired in 1976.

He noted how he had spent many a summer up there, spending 1 or 2 weeks a summer there and always enjoying it.

If I remember correctly, MOS – or, as they more properly referred to then, MOF (MOF- Member of the Force- was replaced with the more politically correct term MOS - Member of the Service - sometime in the 70’s, probably under Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy) were able to book either 1 or 2 weeks at the Camp. There was a time in January when you would have to submit your reservation requests, and it was most likely booked to the maximum allowable each week.

Many families would book the same week of the month from year to year, so you would often go on vacation with the same people- who you would only see once a year – and have a great time nonetheless.

The Police Camp included an exceptionally affordable price for cops, with 3 meals a day.

You were assigned seating for your meals, and very often the only time you saw your parents was during the meals! Breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of a fixed meal each day – no choices, but no limit to how much you could eat. Waiter and waitress service was included; many of the wait staff were themselves children of cops, who got a great summer job in the mountains.

Then you had a Pool, and later on in 1967 the A-Frame building was put up, which was called the CASINO, and provided a year round location for organizations to host their annual meetings, etc.

In 1968 they built a man-made Lake under Indian Head Mountain, which was stocked to provide fishing and had available for your use row boats and paddle boats.

Many pleasant memories, for sure.


Cadaveric spasm- the stiffening and rigidity of a group of muscles immediately after death, a kind of instant rigor mortis, a muscle phenomenon in which some muscles of the body become stiff instantly, rather than in the usual two to eight hours normal rigor takes to develop.

Contact wound- a star shaped wound that occurs when a firearm is pressed against the body and fired. The gasses expands under the skin and bursts away from the body.

Paterred injuries- reflects the identity of wounding object (hammer blows).

Petechial hemorrhages- small pin-like hemorrhaging under skin and membrane lining of the eyelids, usually noticeable in asphyxia related homicides.

Stippling- pinpoint hemorrhaging due to the burning gunpowder discharged from a firearm, usually indicates proximity of firearm to victim.


Most detectives understand the problem we currently have in obtaining cell phone records in a timely manner.

Our request to cell phone carriers, that we express a need in a “rush” manner because they involve a violent crime like homicide or shootings, is many times placed in the cell carriers bin to be handled in a routine manner. Our sense of importance does not often meet the same level of importance with a cell phone carrier, processing hundreds and hundreds of requests, all of which are “important” to some investigator.

Think it’s been bad so far? Take a look at a recent article in the Washington Post, sent to me from Ret. Det1 James Kennedy, and get a glimpse of what we may soon be facing.

It seems that there are “advocacy groups” who take exception to any of this information being forwarded to law enforcement without a search warrant.

Search warrant means court order means hearing before a judge. The subpoena for cell phone records may be in danger!

Here are some excerpts from this article, which appeared in the November 23, 2007 Washington Post.

“Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.”

“In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.”

“Such requests run counter to the Justice Department's internal recommendation that federal prosecutors seek warrants based on probable cause to obtain precise location data in private areas. The requests and orders are sealed at the government's request, so it is difficult to know how often the orders are issued or denied.”

My Note: If they are taking exception to federal agencies telephone requests, where will the local police department stand?

“The issue is taking on greater relevance as wireless carriers are racing to offer sleek services that allow cellphone users to know with the touch of a button where their friends or families are.”

"Most people don't realize it, but they're carrying a tracking device in their pocket," said Kevin Bankston of the privacy advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Cellphones can reveal very precise information about your location, and yet legal protections are very much up in the air."

“In a stinging opinion this month, a federal judge in Texas denied a request by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent for data that would identify a drug trafficker's phone location by using the carrier's E911 tracking capability. E911 tracking systems read signals sent to satellites from a phone's Global Positioning System (GPS) chip or triangulated radio signals sent from phones to cell towers. Magistrate Judge Brian L. Owsley, of the Corpus Christi division of the Southern District of Texas, said the agent's affidavit failed to focus on "specifics necessary to establish probable cause, such as relevant dates, names and places."

“Owsley decided to publish his opinion, which explained that the agent failed to provide "sufficient specific information to support the assertion" that the phone was being used in "criminal" activity. Instead, Owsley wrote, the agent simply alleged that the subject trafficked in narcotics and used the phone to do so. The agent stated that the DEA had " 'identified' or 'determined' certain matters," Owsley wrote, but "these identifications, determinations or revelations are not facts, but simply conclusions by the agency."

“Instead of seeking warrants based on probable cause, some federal prosecutors are applying for orders based on a standard lower than probable cause derived from two statutes: the Stored Communications Act and the Pen Register Statute, according to judges and industry lawyers. The orders are typically issued by magistrate judges in U.S district courts, who often handle applications for search warrants.”

"Law enforcement routinely now requests carriers to continuously 'ping' wireless devices of suspects to locate them when a call is not being made . . . so law enforcement can triangulate the precise location of a device and [seek] the location of all associates communicating with a target," wrote Christopher Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs for CTIA -- the Wireless Association, in a July comment to the Federal Communications Commission. He said the "lack of a consistent legal standard for tracking a user's location has made it difficult for carriers to comply" with law enforcement agencies' demands.”

“In many cases, orders are being issued for cell-tower site data, which are less precise than the data derived from E911 signals. While the E911 technology could possibly tell officers what building a suspect was in, cell-tower site data give an area that could range from about three to 300 square miles.”

“But judges in a majority of districts have ruled otherwise on this issue, Boyd said. Shortly after Smith issued his decision, a magistrate judge in the same district approved a federal request for cell-tower data without requiring probable cause. And in December 2005, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein of the Southern District of New York, approving a request for cell-site data, wrote that because the government did not install the "tracking device" and the user chose to carry the phone and permit transmission of its information to a carrier, no warrant was needed.”

“These judges are issuing orders based on the lower standard, requiring a showing of "specific and articulable facts" showing reasonable grounds to believe the data will be "relevant and material" to a criminal investigation.”

“Boyd said the government believes this standard is sufficient for cell-site data. "This type of location information, which even in the best case only narrows a suspect's location to an area of several city blocks, is routinely generated, used and retained by wireless carriers in the normal course of business," he said.”

“The trend's secrecy is troubling, privacy advocates said. No government body tracks the number of cellphone location orders sought or obtained. Congressional oversight in this area is lacking, they said. And precise location data will be easier to get if the Federal Communication Commission adopts a Justice Department proposal to make the most detailed GPS data available automatically.”

“Often, Gidari said, federal agents tell a carrier they need real-time tracking data in an emergency but fail to follow up with the required court approval. Justice Department officials said to the best of their knowledge, agents are obtaining court approval unless the carriers provide the data voluntarily.”

“To guard against abuse, Congress should require comprehensive reporting to the court and to Congress about how and how often the emergency authority is used, said John Morris, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology.”

MY NOTE: Rather than try to summarize this article, I chose to print the relevant parts as an exact quote. Investigators owe it to themselves to stay current on investigative trends, and cell phone topics are certainly one of the most current topics we get involved with.

Keeping in mind, also, that these issues were noted in federal jurisdictions, and that historically New York State courts have been more restrictive, we may see changes in this regards sooner than later. We’ll see.


Here are some locations of some of the “old” Brooklyn Police Department Precincts.

164th Pct 179 Hamburg Ave.
154th Pct. 16 Ralph Ave.
144th Pct. 577 5th Ave.
89th Pct. 44 Rapalyea Ave.
31st Pct. Ave. U & East 15th Street.
37th Pct. 35 Snyder Ave.

Note that the 164th Pct, at 179 Hamburg Ave., is still in use,currently housing the staff of PBBN and the BNTF. Hamburg Ave was renamed Wilson Ave.

154th Pct. 16 Ralph Ave. Was Next to the current 81 Pct.

144th Pct. 577 5th Ave. At 16 Street, it was later replaced by the current 72 Pct.

89th Pct. 44 Rapalyea Ave. It was torn down to build the BQE & was replaced by the current 76 Pct.

31st Pct. Ave. U & East 15th Street. Was later replaced by the current 61 Pct.

37th Pct. 35 Snyder Ave. Used as SH, discontinued on 5/18/1925. Pct. 37-B established 11/17/1926. This was the old Flatbush Town Hall, later replaced by the current 67 Pct.


I have a photograph of Lt. Giuseppe Petrosino hanging in my office, and am often asked “who is that a picture of”.

When I name him, I am often met with a blank stare.

He is certainly someone from this department that should be known to all. He is a very historic figure in NYPD annals, and his death was certainly very distinguished.

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 is the only Member of this Department to have been killed in the line of duty on foreign soil.

He was assassinated while walking through the Marine public square in Palermo, Italy on March 12th, 1909, where he had traveled to investigate those responsible for the “Black Hand” bombings in New York City.

It all started when Petrosino's "Italian Squad" went undercover to find who was behind the dozens of "Black Hand" bombings in this city. They arrested many suspected members of the group over a five year period, but the bombings continued.The trail took Petrosino to Italy in an undercover mission in 1909.

It seems that, while Petrosino was traveling to Italy, his undercover mission became “compromised” by none other than the Police Commissioner!

Travel to Europe at that time was accomplished by boarding a steamship in New York City. There was no airplane travel, so a trip took over a week to accomplish.

The 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, as Petrosino traveled there. His “undercover” mission now announced to the public obviously stirred some people who did not want to be caught.

Petrosino returned from Italy in a coffin.


November 28, 2005 PO Dillon Stewart, 70 Pct, Arrest
November 29, 1941 Ptl. James Collins, 62 Pct, Line of duty heart attack
November 30, 1900 Ptl William Baumeister, 29 Pct, Shot- assault arrest
November 30, 1957 Ptl Joseph Rauchut, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident on patrol
December 2, 1873 Ptl Edward Burns, 8Pct, Arrest – assaulted
December 2, 1994 PO Raymond Cannon, 69 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
December 3, 1922 Ptl John Kennedy, 123 Pct, LOD injury
December 3, 1934 Ptl John Monahan, 14 Div, Shot-arrest
December 3, 1954 Ptl Joseph Norden, 105 Pct, Shot by EDP
December 3, 1973 PO Vincent Connolly, Bomb Sqd, Auto accident on duty
December 4, 1923 Ptl Alfred Van Clieff, 63 Pct, Motorcycle accident
December 6, 1903 Ptl Frank Redican, 1 Pct, Fire rescue
December 6, 1941 Ptl Thomas Casey, 17 Pct, Shot-Robbery pursuit
December 7, 1937 Ptl Edward Lynch, 20 Pct, Shot-Burglary in progress
December 7, 1971 Det Harold Marshall, HAPD-Bklyn, Shot-off duty arrest
December 8, 1924 Ptl Joseph Pelosi, 60 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
December 8, 1932 Ptl Michael Moroso, 23 Pct, Shot by sniper
December 8, 1942 Det Joseph Miccio, 78 Sqd, Shot-investigation
December 8, 1946 Ptl Edward McAuliff, 18 Sqd, LOD injury
December 9, 1932 Ptl John Grattan, Mcy Unit, Motorcycle accident on patrol
December 10, 1929 Ptl Philip Morrissey, 85 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
December 10, 2005 PO Daniel Echautegui, 40Pct, Off duty arrest for burglary
December 11, 1922 Ptl Francis Mace, 73 Pct, Line of duty injury
December 12, 1966 Ptl Raul Yglesias, PA, Shot-off duty altercation
December 13, 1932 Ptl Louis Wiendieck, Traffic B, Line of duty pursuit
December 13, 1946 Det James Burke, 48 Sqd, Shot-robbery
December 14, 1932 Ptl George Gerhard, 20 Pct, Shot-Robbery pursuit
December 14, 1961 Ptl Hugh Willoughby, 26 Pct, Shot-robbery, off duty


Hoping all had a great Thanksgiving Day and getting their shopping done for Christmas. As the holiday’s roll around, so do holiday celebrations. Be safe!!!
Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, October 15, 2007


A guy standing up always looks best with his jacket buttoned.


I recently came across a copy of a 1991 magazine article written by Robert Martin about Lt Daniel Kelly, Jr – “Dean of NYPD Homicide Investigators”.

It appears that this may have been written for a John Jay College publication; the photocopy is clear as to the time line – Fall 1991 – but does not include the periodical information. It seems that the author was a Detective Captain taking a college course at the time.

I know Dan for quite a number of years, as Dan was the C.O. of Queens Homicide when my father worked there. Dan was the C.O. during the hey-days of the late 80’s into the 90’s, and had a supervisory staff that included Sgt. Fred Cornicello, Sgt. Phil Panzarella, and Sgt. Robert Plansker, as well as Sgt. Tom Gray.

Quite a number of department notables came through this area, and speak quite favorable of Dan Kelly even to this day. Dan retired a good number of years ago, but he certainly warrants a spot in the department’s notorious past commanders. The Eddie Byrne case was just one of the more notable cases that are too few to mention.

I will reprint part of the article here, as I found it very interesting, and perhaps you will too.

“On this particular night, a new homicide had occurred. I was in the office of the Queens Homicide Task Force being briefed as to what had taken place. Numerous theories were being tossed about and the recent crime was compared to some homicides that had taken place in the recent and distant past. The source of this information was Lt. Daniel J. Kelly, Jr., Commanding Officer of the QAueens Homicide Task Force. It occurred to me then, that Dan Kelly was a living link to the history of the NYPD, particularly in the area of homicide investigations in Queens. While we continued to work, I knew that I had found the subject for my paper. That solved problem number one. Problem number two would be to talk Dan into doing an interview with me. Dan Kelly is a quiet, humble individual and not one to “blow his own horn.” When I approached him with the interview idea he suggested other people who he thought would be more interesting and informative. But through a combination of pressure, pleading and cajoling, I was able to get Dan to agree to do an interview regarding his experience on “the Job.”

Dan joined the department in October of 1952, made Detective in 1956, Sergeant in 1963 and Lieutenant in 1967. Except for brief stints in uniform, when promoted to Sergeant and Lieutenant, he was involved in homicide investigations since 1956; almost thirty-five years.

When asked about his most memorable cases, Kelly replied, “Since 1973 I have investigated the killings of seventeen police officers in Queens, all have been important and all but one of these investigations was successful.” He names the Byrnes case and the killing of PO Scott Gadell in a shootout in Far Rockaway, as two of the most memorable.

When asked which one case sticks out in his mind, Kelly mentions the Scarangella / Rainey shooting in the 113 Precinct, which occurred in April 1981. In this case, two uniformed officers on routine patrol attempted to stop a van which had been seen in the vicinity of numerous burglaries. When the van stopped, two individuals jumped out and fired over thirty rounds at the two officers in their radio car. Officer Scarangella was killed and his partner, Officer Rainey, was severely wounded.

Kelly points to this case as being a “text book investigation” in that it covered the four major investigative steps that must be covered in a successful cases.

These steps are:

A. The Crime Scene
B. Interview / Interrogations
C. Surveillance
D. Record Checks

Through much hard work and the use of these techniques, the two killers were identified, tracked down, arrested and convicted. Kelly says that he and many of the Detectives that work for him, consider this case the most satisfying of their careers.

On the other side of the coin, Kelly did not hesitate when asked for his most frustrating case. “Howard Beach” he answered, “was four months of constant pressure and criticism. The news media and politicians put a lot of pressure on us and it made for a very frustrating case.”

At this point I asked Lt. Kelly to tell me step by step his response to a homicide scene.

“I usually get notified by phone, so before I leave the station house I stop at the desk and try to get a computer printout of the job. By looking at this I get some ideas, who called, what time, what unit responded, were there any other calls that may have had something to do with my job. This way I’m not pulling up to the scene completely in the dark as to what happened.

I also let the Desk Officer know that his switchboard operator might be getting calls with information about the homicide. If I have the manpower, I will leave one Detective in the office to take these calls, if not, I ask the switchboard operator to get as much information as possible from anyone calling.

In route to the scene you pray that the uniform personnel have established a criome scene, they have kept unauthorized personnel out of the scene and they have identified and detained any witnesses.

When I arrive I usually go directly to the body, and try and determine if the person was killed where the body fell or perhaps killed elsewhere and dumped, or assaulted at some other location and ran until he dropped at this spot. I then take a few steps back and enlarge my field of view. At this point, I look for areas where a witness may have seen what happened, areas to canvass.

One trick that Detectives have been using for years is to conduct a canvass after the crime at the exact location, time and day as the original crime took place. People are creatures of habit. So if you have a homicide go down on a certain corner at Friday night at 7 pm, it’s a good idea to have Detectives conduct a canvass of the same corner on the following Friday night at 7 pm. Chances are good that you will come up with someone who saw something, if not the homicide itself, some other thing out of the ordinary which did not seem important to them at the time.

The importance of the canvass is it gives you the independent witness. The witness who is not a friend of the victim or the perpetrator. It is this witness, with no ax to grind, who will give you a true, unbiased picture of what really took place.

It is crucial to get all the available witnesses interviewed as soon as possible, and if at all possible to get these interviews on audio tape. These interviews must be documented, along with such things as the assigned Detectives arrival on the scene, what time, who was there, his impression of the scene, a sketch and such factors as weather and lighting conditions.”

One thing that troubles Kelly is his belief that crime scenes are not held for long enough periods of time. “We, in New York City, give up the crime scene too soon. I know it’s a question of numbers and the volume of homicides in the city make it tough, but once you give up a crime scene, you can’t get it back. I would like to hold onto them longer.”

I asked if he believed the old adage “the first forty-eight hours after a homicide are the most important.” “That’s true”, Kelly replied. “If you get out quick with enough manpower, you will get the answers with a canvass, background checks, fin ding the independent witness and the motive. The only aspect that is not usually finalized is the scientific aspect, which again is a reason to hold the scene longer.”

We then moved onto the topic of what Dan looks for when interviewing potential members for his squad. “I look for investigative experience, knowledge of the law, attitude is very important and patience. For a Detective to be a good interviewer or interrogator, he must have patience. He must use that patience, and a good knowledge of the crime to get as much as he can from the subject, while giving up as little as possible.”

Lt. Kelly retired in August 1991, reaching the maximum age for active service in the department. I asked him, “Dan, when you walk out of the office door for the last time in August 1991, how would you like to be remembered by those still on the job?” Kelly thought for a long time, and then replied, “He knew his job, he did his job.”

For forty years, Dan Kelly knew his job and did his job like no one else has ever done it.”

Note from me: So much of what Dan Kelly said about homicide investigations in 1991 are so true to this day! Much of what he says in this piece are standard detective investigative tasks, which I myself use even to this day, when instructing at the CIC and the Homicide Course. The more things change…


My last posting to this site listed some “Murder Terms” of value to the investigator.

It was pointed out to me that I may have omitted one term of value.

“Eggerized” – the feeling you get after Larry Eggers has given you a homicide update. Or any update, for that matter.

Now, Larry has been retired for some time, but some things live on!

I have recounted numerous times on this site how much I love Larry Eggers – there is no better person to have in your corner if you need something. Larry would truly give you the shirt off his back (if you’d care to wear it!), but all kidding aside, he is a true friend and a unique individual.

That being said, Larry himself would surely agree, with that great laugh of his, his case updates are truly deserving of their own, individualized verb – Eggerized!


I received an e-mail recently from a Sergeant in L.A. looking for some help.

He wrote that he “had finally had it with the negative media coverage and constant barrage of anti-cop stuff out there. To that end, I started a website where I hope cops can tell REAL stories, as they see them. I hope to do two things: First, cops tell me it is therapeutic to write these down. Second, I want the public to see what cops really do out there. Not what the Times and the ACLU think we do.” I mention this here on this site for anyone who would like to check out this site, or may have something they would like to contribute.
The site is:

It is, of course, anonymous and secure. Also, I would appreciate any feedback or ideas. Thanks to Sgt. Steve Lurie, who put this site together.


If you recall the last posting on this site concerning some cell phone carriers including a feature that allows a cell phone subscriber to erase all of their phone data from a remote location, in the event that they report their phone lost.

It was noted how this feature could interfere with law enforcement conducting follow-up work on a phone recovered at a scene, etc.

Well, Retired Lt. Bob Gates submitted the following information, which could be helpful in this respect.

"We are aware of this new feature and there is already a defense for it. It is called a Faraday shield (Tent or Room) that is shielded from any electromagnetic fields (Radio Frequency). The FBI's RCFL (Regional Computer Forensic Lab) in Hamilton has it now."

"The problem is making the investigators in the field understand that they need to turn off the device and remove the battery as soon as they seize it. Most of investigators are inquisitive by nature and they tend to play around with the device checking text messages, emails, and dialed numbers."
My suggestion is to check with TARU immediately on any cell phone issue you may be working on, as they are the experts in this phase of the investigation.

Thanks, Bob, for your help! I owe you a cigar!!


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
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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Recently, some cell phone carriers have introduced a “Lost Phone Feature” that could prove problematic for investigators.

U. S. Cellular and many of the major cell phone companies are starting to offer the lost phone tool. This feature allows persons who lose their cell phone to log onto the website and send a command out to erase all the information in the phone including phone book, recent calls, and text messages.

U. S. Cellular launched the service on May 7, 2007. Therefore, if police officers seize a phone for evidence, a person can send out an erase command and as soon as the phone is turned on, it will erase all of the data in the phone.

Detectives who seize a cell phone during a criminal investigation should be mindful of suspects utilizing this feature to negatively impact ongoing investigations.

As always, utilize the expertise of TARU whenever dealing with cell phones.

This is especially troublesome for all of the devices that are “handled” by “officials” prior to the Detectives getting their hand on the evidence.


Remember Crazy Eddie?

Well, a web site set up by a former Crazy Eddie principal, cousin of THE Crazy Eddie, Eddie Antar, seeks to explore white collar crime and provide some background, and help, regarding corporate fraud.

And he should certainly know what he’s talking about!

Sam E. Antar is a former CPA and former Chief Financial Officer of Crazy Eddie, Inc.

During the 1980s, he helped mastermind, along with his cousin Eddie Antar and their uncle, Sam M. Antar (co-founders of the company), one of the largest securities frauds of its time.

Crazy Eddie Antar was coined by US Attorney Michael Chertoff as, "the Darth Vader of Capitalism." This securities fraud cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars, cost many people their life savings, cost many people their jobs and careers, cost creditors hundreds of millions of dollars, and “many people's suffering that cannot be measured”.

As the government's key witness in both the criminal and civil prosecutions he also fully cooperated with all civil plaintiffs in the prosecution of their claims.

“I make no excuses for my criminal conduct. Nor should I receive any praise for my cooperation”, he writes. His web site will provide some good background reading for anyone seeking information on white collar crime and corporate fraud.

Perhaps you’ve just been wondering, “whatever happened to Crazy Eddie, and those zany television commercials”? Find out here:


Ante-mortem- preceding death
Anterior- the front of the human body, situated before or toward the front
Asphyxia- a lack of oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide in the body that is usually caused by interruption of breathing and that causes unconsciousness.
Avulsion- a forcible separation or detachment: as a : a tearing away of a body part accidentally or surgically
Burking- to suppress quietly or indirectly causing asphyxia
Cerebral- pertaining to the anterior or upper part of the brain, pertaining to the cerebrum
Cervical- of or relating to the neck
Contact wound- a star shaped wound that occurs when a firearm is pressed against the body and fired. The gasses expands under the skin and bursts away from the body
Contusion- injury to tissue usually without laceration, a bruise.
De-sanguinated- drained of all blood
DNA- (deoxyribo-nucleic-acid) the molecular basis of heredity, localized especially in cell nuclei, the body's genetic code that regulates the biological composition of that individual
Edema- an abnormal infiltration and excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue as in lungs
Entomology- a branch of zoology that deals with insects, specific insects and their stage of being on dead body point to a specific time of death
Fratricide- one that murders or kills his or her own brother or sister
Hematoma- mass of usually clotted blood that forms in a tissue, organ, or body space as a result of a broken blood vessel
Hemorrhage- a copious discharge of blood from the blood vessels, heavy bleeding
Homicidomania- a manic desire to kill


Here’s a site that provides an obituary index for NY State.


I recently received an e-mail announcing the new candidates for the “Stella Awards”.

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

My Note: I CANNOT attest to the validity of these nominations, however, I thought they were certainly worth passing on. More evidence that truth is often stranger than fiction!

7th Place: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury after breaking her ankle after tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

6th Place: Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to subsist for days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish.Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.

4th Place: Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

3rd Place: Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone (coccyx). The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

2nd Place: Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge at the time. The jury awarded her $12,000, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1st Place: This year's runaway 1st place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, no less, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her - you are sitting down, right? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just incase Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Note: This is why I specified that I do NOT attest to the validity of these scenarios; I seem to remember hearing this Winnebago story a few years ago. While I do believe that this actually happened, I cannot say that it happened recent enough to be in “this year’s” stories. Regardless, they certainly are (a) funny, (b) believable in this litigious society of sue anyone you can, and (c) printed here for entertainment, and not as a Law Review subject matter.

Have a good laugh regardless!

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

September 21, 1952 Det Philip Lamonica, 42 Sq, Shot during arrest
September 21, 1984 PO Irma Lozada, TPD D-33, Shot-robbery arrest (RIP, Fran!)
September 22, 1946 Ptl William Brophy, 109 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
September 22, 1983 PO Joseph Hamperian, TPD-SCU, Struck by auto
September 22, 1987 PO Robert Venable, TPD-D33, Shot during arrest
September 23, 1896 Ptl Thomas McIntyre, MTD, Horse accident
September 23, 1937 Det John Wilson, 1 Pct, Shot-robbery
September 23, 1941 Ptl James Schowers, 28 Pct, LOD heart attack
September 23, 1970 Ptl Michael Paolilo, IdentUnit, Stabbed-off duty investigation
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

Friday, September 21, 2007

SEPTEMBER 21, 1984 - SHIELD 4721

“Shield 4721, come in to Operations… Operations to Shield 4721

I remember that radio transmission as if it was coming over the air this very 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? What remains undisputed is that 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”….


What today would be called a precinct, in 1855 was called a ‘Police District’ .

Each district had the same geographical boundaries as the ward it took its number from.

The alderman from that ward recommended to the mayor who should be appointed to that ward’s corps.

Patrolmen from that police district or ward were required to be residents of that ward and were appointed for a term of good behavior. Consequently that ward’s corps resembled the ethnic makeup of that ward.

Even though they worked out of a certain ‘Police District’ they would say they were assigned to that (the number) ‘Corps’ rather than say they worked out of a certain precinct. There were twenty two wards in the city, each had its own ‘police districts’ or ‘corps’.

Chief Matsell established the “Reserve Corps” in 1853 as an elite unit of approximately 100 of the best and most competent patrolmen and sergeants.

By 1855 it numbered approximately 150 men. They were assigned to the chief’s office and other high profile assignments such as detective duty, the courts and various other details, etc. On occasion, the reserve corps would fly to various areas of the city and were used for duties similar to those performed by today’s Borough Task Forces.


Regular viewers of this blogspace will note the lack of recent activity here.

Normal business demands, as well as the demands of summer (all good!) and others have kept me from my regular posting here. If anyone's noticed, I'm sorry.

Anyway, as we enter a new season, I continue to look out for material that I think would be interesting to post. This requires me to do a lot of reading and research, which I have not done over the past summer months. Of course, if anyone has any material they would like to contribute, please send them along. I'm always looking for help.

Hope everyone's summer has been great! Let's get back to work!