Friday, June 22, 2007


The Flying Squad is a branch of London's Metropolitan Police force.

It was formed in 1919 as the "Mobile Patrol Experiment", a branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in response to a crime wave that followed the end of World War I.

Its officers were originally nicknamed the "thief takers".

It consists of police officers trained in high-speed driving, whose task is to detect and prevent armed robbery and similar crimes. The name reflects the fact that when the squad was first formed it was equipped with two old Crossley tender cars that had formerly belonged to the Royal Flying Corps.

Flying Squad officers operate across the boundaries of London's police divisions. In 1978 it was renamed the "Central Robbery Squad". Its most popular nicknames are "the Sweeney" (Cockney rhyming slang for "Sweeney Todd"/"Flying Squad") and "The Heavy Mob".

The squad's work was dramatized in the 1970s British television series The Sweeney.

This was the era in which the Sweeney's close ties with the criminal underworld, which had always been a necessary part of its strategy, were being exposed to public criticism. A number of scandals involving bribery and corruption were revealed, and on 7 July 1977, the squad's commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Kenneth Drury, was convicted of five counts of corruption and jailed for eight years. Twelve other officers were also convicted and many more resigned. These and other scandals led to a massive internal investigation by the Dorset Constabulary into the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police – code named Operation Countryman.

The squad now forms part of the Serious and Organised Crime Group of the Specialist Crime Directorate.


A reader of this site, David Nadle, mentioned that On page 9 of "Target Blue" by Robert Daley it is stated that Serpico was taken to Greenpoint Hospital, then later transferred to Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. The patrolmen he was with are not named, and the book doesn't mention who drove him.

This book, TARGET BLUE, happens to be an EXCELLENT text on 1970’s NYPD policing. It was written by Robert Daley, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information under Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy, following the Knapp Commission hearings – and the era of police assassinations in this city!

If you have never read it, you must!

I’m sure you can find a copy on a used book site, such as or, as well as on Amazon.

This book was a valued part of my true crime library, but, alas, was loaned to a friend who never returned it. I’ll be re-stocking soon, and sure to make this book part of my collection once again. (I must admit that I do, sadly, anticipate it’s return some day – naiveté on my part, perhaps?)


Another reader has passed on this information, about an Irish band that has recently recorded a new album, featuring a song dedicated to the NYPD.

The band, The Moonshiner’s, includes a drummer who is a Detective in the 6th Detective Squad.

The band has been around since the early 90’s, and have been known as a staple in the New York Irish-punk scene. Their new album contains the song “The Boys & Girls in Blue”, dedicated to their many friends in the NYPD. The album is due to be released this summer.

You can learn more about the band at their web site:


The sequel to Gabriel Cohen’s book Red Hook, which is titled The Graving Dock, is coming out from St. Martin’s Press in November.

Red Hook was a great piece of police fiction that took place in – where else, Red Hook! - and made great use of chronicling the efforts of Brooklyn South Homicide, and Brooklyn locations.

Look for it this fall!


I had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Rocky Patel – of Rocky Patel cigars – at the recent cigar event at the great Cigar Inn on 1st Avenue (71 St) in Manhattan.

I’ve been enjoying his Vintage Series Churchill cigars – excellent cigar that I give a high recommendation to. This will not replace my absolute all-time favorite smoke, the La Gloria Cubana Charlemagne and Corona Gorda, but it is certainly ranking right up there at the top along with them.

It was interesting to note that another loyal reader passed on his recommendation for Rocky Patel as well.

Noting to be an amatuer cigar smoker, he found the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 box press a great smoke. He also raved about the Hoyo De Monterray Excalibur. I must add that I also find the Excalibur No. 1 to be a great smoke as well. It was Dennis Noso’s favorite, and I recall fond times watching Lynbrook Lacrosse whenever I light up an Excalibur.

Perhaps I should think of getting some of the local gumshoe cigar aficionado’s together to make some of their own recommendations. Certainly could do well hearing from Jimmy Bodnar, Pat Lantry, Andy Torlincasi and the rest of the 90 Squad, for some of their best smokes.

Look for this feature in upcoming postings.

Perhaps you have a fond smoke you’d like to recommend? Not as scientific as the Cigar Aficionado cigar tasting board, but welcome nonetheless – send me your recommendations, and we’ll pass it along.


Who’s the detective who appears to be stuck in the 80’s? The one that prompted Matty Lamendola’s query “Where’d you park your time capsule”?

Don’t get me wrong, I love this guy like a little brother, but it sure is funny watching the ribbing he gets from those around him.

Notes left behind reminding him of the Miami Vice marathon on the Sleuth TV channel, or the TV Land special on The Facts of Life or The Dukes of Hazzard.

“Did you see last nights episode of Dallas?”, someone will ask. “These new Impala’s don’t handle as well as the Gran Fury’s we used to have”.

Certainly a stylish sleuth, he’s always good for a good laugh. Every office should have someone like him around!

Note- Who was recently referred to by the resident detective-gourmand as a “Greta Van Susteren look-alike”?

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Perhaps you have a comment, recommendation on a cigar, or investigative tip you'd like to pass along?

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

June 26, 1918 Ptl Joseph Nolan, 22 Pct, Assaulted with brick
June 26, 1930 Ptl Wilson Fields, 62 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
June 26, 1937 Ptl George Mahnken, Mcy Unit, Motorcycle accident
June 26, 1977 Det Henry McDevitt, 48 Pct, Assaulted
June 28, 1927 Ptl Andrew Grennan, 46 Pct, Drowned during rescue
June 28, 1931 Det William DeGive, MODD, Shot during GLA Arrest
June 28, 1963 Ptl. William Baumfield, 4 Div, Shot-Robbery
June 28, 1972 PO John Skagen, TD2, Shot chasing felon
June 28, 1986 PO Scott Gadell, 101 Pct, Shot during investigation
July 1, 1911 Ptl Michael Lynch, 22 Pct, Shot by perp
July 2, 1922 Det John Moriarty, Det Div, Shot:Robbery in progress
July 2, 1970 Ptl Paul Donadio, 75 Pct, Patrolwagon accident on patrol
July 3, 1857 Ptl Thomas Sparks, No info available
July 3, 1917 Ptl John Flood, 31 Pct, Assaulted
July 3, 1966 Ptl Willie Stephenson, HAPD, Drowned during rescue
July 4, 1940 Det Joseph Lynch, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1940 Det Ferdinand Socha, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1993 PO Rudolph Thomas, PSA3, Shot:Off duty

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

“Nobody left to run with anymore, nobody left to do the crazy things we used to do before…”
Allman Brothers


Everyone, I’m sure, has heard of the hit television series, NYPD BLUE, that ran for many years on national television. It’s stars included Dennis Franze as the gritty, stereotypical New York Detective Sipowicz – but did you know that wasn’t the first television series that used the title “NYPD”?

Premiering in September 1967, and running for two seasons, ending in March 1969, the television drama was named “NYPD” (without the Blue).

The cast consisted of New York City Detective’s Jeff Ward (played by Robert Hooks), Det. Johnny Corso (Frank Converse), and squad commander Lieutenant Mike Haines (Jack Warden), from the fictional 27th Squad, as they tracked murderers, extortionists, drug pushers, and other thugs around the Big Apple.

Filmed on actual New York locations which included the Bowery, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Shubert Alley, Greenwich Village and Times Square, N.Y.P.D. was commended by real life mayor at the time John Lindsay, who allowed the filming of scenes at New York's City Hall. Several episodes were based on actual NYPD cases and the show had full permission from the police department to create them into episodes.N.Y.P.D. was a police series somewhat like "Naked City" with gritty action, personal drama and lots of New York City locations.The show was a landmark in television production, one of the first to use the hand-held style of camera work later popularized by the reality show COPS and the drama series Law & Order.

Among the stars who appeared in the cast were Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, James Earl Jones and Roy Scheider.


Can you recall a member of the service collecting a department salary, and a pension, at the same time?

Thanks to some research by Mike Bosak, a true department historian, the following story recalls just such incident, in a nutshell.

A few years prior to the consolation of NYC on January 1st, 1898, there was an NYPD detective, who retired from a lower Manhattan precinct and went to work for the Brooklyn Police Department as a newly appointed patrolman.

While on uniform patrol he was hurt and put on clerical duty. He was then transferred to Brooklyn Detective Headquarters (performing clerical duties). Once again he impressed his bosses with his investigative competence and upon being assigned back to full duty was promoted to the rank of detective a 2nd time. He was now lawfully a retired NYPD detective and a working fulltime Brooklyn P.D. detective.

He was then transferred to a Brooklyn squad and assigned to perform investigative duties.

After the Brooklyn PD was amalgamated into the NYPD, he continued to collect his full NYPD detective pension, but the department refused to pay him his salary as a detective.

The NYPD then gave him an order: stay retired and collect his detective pension or continue to work and accept the salary of a patrolman - one or the other. He chose to continue to work as a patrolman and sued the city for his pension as a detective.

The President of the Board of Police Commissioners, Bernard York, vowed to appeal the department's case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It never made it to the Supreme Court, and ended at the NYS Court of Appeals.

The final ruling was somewhat of a compromise. The court mandated that the city had to pay the retired detective both his full pension as a detective and the full salary of a patrolman as long as he continue working for the department.

What finally happened when he retired from the NYPD for the second time unfortunately has been lost to history.


Teddy Roosevelt is known by just about everyone to have served as the Police Commissioner of the NYPD. In fact, the desk he used is still in use by today’s Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly.

In fact, Roosevelt did not have the official title of Police Commissioner.

He was the President of the Bi-Partisan Police Board.

Certainly “Commish” sounds a little better than President.


Fans of police movies, and Steve McQueen, will recall right away that this is the name of the fictional San Francisco Detective-Lieutenant played by Steve McQueen in the 1968 classic police movie drama’s of the same name, BULLITT.

This movie is surely memorable for one of the two best car chase scenes in movie history – the other being the chase scene in FRENCH CONNECTION.

It’s also noted for the great car driven by McQueen in his role – a green Ford Mustang. All of us true Mustang aficionado’s are very aware of this fact.

Here’s some other BULLITT movie trivia.

Two Mustangs and two Dodge Chargers were used for the famous chase scene. Both of the Dodges were junked after the filming, as was one of the Mustangs. The other less banged-up Mustang was purchased by a WB employee after all production and post-production was completed. The car ended up in New Jersey a few years later, where Steve McQueen attempted to buy it. The owner refused to sell to him!

The director called for speeds of about 75-80 mph, but the cars (including the ones containing the cameras) reached speeds of over 110 mph. Filming of the chase scene took three weeks, resulting in 9 minutes and 42 seconds of footage. They were denied permission to film on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Mustang's interior mirror goes up and down depending who is driving it – when McQuuen is driving, the mirror is up – and visible; when the stunt driver Ekins is driving, it is down – and not visible.

Steve McQueen based his character on San Francisco Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi, made famous for his work on the Zodiac killings. McQueen had a copy made of Toschi's custom fast-draw shoulder holster. (Buff note: In San Francisco, the investigator’s are called Inspector – NOT Detective).


Once again, thanks to the work done by Mike Bosak, it is revealed how the first NYC Detective to actually die in the performance of his duties will never be listed on an official NYPD or FDNY Memorial as having “Died in the Line of Duty”.

How can this be?

During the course of researching NYPD Line of Duty Deaths, both the late Ret. 1st Grade Detective John Reilly and Ret. Sgt Mike Bosak ran across the account of the first NYC police Detective ever to be killed, in what was felt was taking proper police action and performing his sworn police duty.

On May 31, 1853 while assigned to the NYC Municipal Police as a detective, Shadow George Trenchard (the actual job title for Detective then was “Shadow”) died under the following circumstances.

At approximately 1830 hours on May 31, 1853 Shadow George Trenchard responded to a fire in the basement of a private residence on Essex Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets as the 'Foreman' of FDNY Hose Company # 16.

George Trenchard, besides being a detective in Chief Matsell's office was also a volunteer FDNY fireman for almost a quarter of century. Now at the time, it has to be noted here, the FDNY had no paid firemen.

The New York Times, reporting on the fire the next day, noted that a Police Officer was hurt, and included the following story.

"While engaged at the rear of the house he (Trenchard) fell through the grating in the yard into the cellar below, where the fire originated, and received a severe contusion on the back of his head, with other injuries, besides being very much burned."

Detective Trenchard died three days later on June 2, 1853 from those injuries.

On June 5, 1853 in a huge funeral procession led by Chief of Police George Matsell, Detective George Trenchard’s casket, mounted upon a horse drawn hearse, was paraded down Broadway with an official honor guard formed from both the NYC Municipal Police and the FDNY.

Now here’s the Catch-22.

The FDNY does not honor any FDNY firemen from the volunteer department that were killed while fighting a fire on their memorial. Their rules state that only paid firemen are to be honored.

The NYPD committee led by 1st Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Dunn that passed judgment of the list of those members of the service that John Reilly and Mike Bosak felt died in the line of duty ruled that Detective George Trenchard, even though serving in the employment of the NYC Municipal Police, died as a volunteer fireman, and consequently should not go on the NYPD Memorial Wall.

This despite the 1846 ' RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR DAY AND NIGHT POLICE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK WITH INSTRUCTIONS AS TO THE LEGAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF POLICEMEN' that mandates a police officer duties at the scene of a fire. He was legally mandated, on or off-duty, to protect life and property and assist in the extinguishment of the fire.

Unlike the NYPD committee, both Bosak and Reilly believed that George Trenchard was acting within the scope of his employment. So, apparently, does the NYC Detective Endowment Association, who lists him as the first detective killed in the line of duty.

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

June 11, 1925 Ptl James Cullen, 37 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
June 12, 1991 PO Kenneth Hansen, Harbor, Drowned
June 13, 1938 Ptl Warren Smith, NFI
June 14, 1960 Ptl William Ramos Jr, 80 Pct, Shot- robbery
June 15, 1944 Ptl Eliote Holmes, 13DetSq, Line of duty injury
June 15, 1967 Ptl Walter Ferguson, DetDiv, LOD heart attack
June 15, 1979 PO Ted Donald, PSA7, Shot- burglary arrest
June 15, 1980 PO John Patwell, 43 Pct, Assaulted
June 15, 1983 PO John Mandia, 25 Pct, Fell under train
June 15, 1984 PO Juan Andino, 40 Pct, Shot- robbery arrest
June 16, 1934 Ptl Herbert Haucke, 103 Pct, struck by auto on patrol
June 16, 1967 Ptl Lloyd Innes, TD30, Shot by person he previously arrested
June 16, 1988 PO Gary Peaco, PSA7, Auto accident response to 1013 call
June 16, 1927 Sgt Joseph Weckesser, 71 Pct, Fire rescue
June 17, 1912 Ptl Thomas O’Connell, 29 Pct (17Pct), Water rescue
June 17, 1923 Ptl Cornelius Platt, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
June 17, 1973 PO Ralph Stanchi, 32 Pct, Shot-investigation
June 18, 1932 Ptl Joseph Burke, 32 Pct, Shot- Robbery in progress
June 19, 1917 Ptl Samuel Cunningham, 42 Pct, Shot- GLA arrest
June 19, 1980 PO Joseph Keegan, TD1, Shot- investigation

Ed. Note: If you haven’t already done so, go to, and bookmark the site – an EXCELLENT tribute to all our fallen brothers and sisters!!