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”?