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!