Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“Controlling information is power, and they (the FBI) don’t want to let it go.”
Police Commissioner Kelly as quoted March 25, 2007 from the Washington Post

“When you control the mail, you control information.”
Newman on Seinfeld


Two recent occurrences regarding chicken connected to detective work should be mentioned.

I just read an obituary for the founder of the Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken chain, Al Copeland, who recently died at the age of 64.

It seems that Mr. Copeland, who grew up in New Orleans, started out at the age of 18 with a one-man doughnut shop. He moved on to chickens when Kentucky Fried Chicken came to town, and after trying several different recipes, he finally chose a spicier Louisiana Cajun style, reopened his chicken restaurant, and called it Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken.

So, where’s the detective part?

Well, it seems that he named the restaurant Popeye’s after the Gene Hackman character in the film “The French Connection”.

Hackman played Detective Popeye Doyle – the one with the pork pie hat – based on the true story of the NYPD drug bust in the 1960’s. You know the film, the one with the famous chase scene under the el.

I just don’t get it, though. Popeye Doyle was a New York Irishman, NYPD police detective, working on a drug case involving a connection to France. Where’s the chicken come in? I’ve watched the movie – many times – and have read the book. I don’t recall any part of the story where chicken plays any part whatsoever. They never went out and ate chicken, no one in the film cooked chicken, he didn’t wear a chicken-pie hat, I just don't get it. A fast food restaurant that specializes in Louisiana Cajun-style fried chicken, from a New Orleans chicken restaurateur, is actually named for an NYPD Detective?

After mulling around that chicken story all day, I then am introduced to another true chicken-detective story. Two chickens in one day?

Tony Viggiani, one of the finest detectives I know, was recounting a story about an arrest for homicide that took place not so far in the past. Armed with the suspects photograph, and doing what detectives do, the team was out scouring the neighborhood in search of the perp. After he’s spotted on the street, the detectives move in.

As the perp is grabbed, he is carrying a plastic shopping bag. The detectives grab the bag as the cuffs are put on, prompting this spontaneous statement from the perp: “I know I did something really bad, and I’m going away for a long time – Can I at least have the chicken?” It seems the bag contained his recently purchased order of fried chicken.

Another example of fried chicken and its role in detective work. Another in a long line stories too true you can't make up.

Some call it ironic.

I call it just another story from this Naked City.


The department’s monthly magazine, SPRING 3100, has been providing a written historical review of the department for decades. Get your hands on some old issues of this magazine and you can be assured a virtual walk through time, a time sometimes little understood by current day law enforcement.

A look through the magazines “Self Portrait” of February 1964 recently provided just such a perspective for me.

As has been noted on this site in the past, there was at one time a Bureau of Policewomen.

There was noted a “growing awareness of the usefulness of women in law enforcement, especially in those jurisdictions where their natural attributes and talents have been incorporated into the broad spectrum of police functions”. Keep in mind this was, at the time, “forward thinking”.

There were, at that time, approximately 340 policewomen on the department, of which more than 25% of them were assigned to the Youth Division.

“The Bureau of Policewomen functions as a personnel pool for all units within the department. Most detective squads, specialized units and borough commands have short-term, intermittent need of a policewomen’s services. When specialized departmental divisions require continued and extensive use of female officers, policewomen are permanently assigned. More than 25% of the policewomen force is detailed to the Detective Division. Policewomen are now eligible to compete for promotional ranks, beginning with sergeant”. This was in 1964!

A few pages away from the details of the Bureau of Policewomen was that of the Chief Inspector’s Office, and the Tactical Patrol Force.

The TPF was established in 1959 to supplement the regularly assigned foot patrol personnel in any given area during periods when unusual crime conditions require reinforced manpower.

TPF was the origin of the now borough uniform task forces.

The TPF worked from 6PM to 2AM, the hours which accounted for the greatest percentage of crime.

What was not stated, but was a well known fact, was that entry to the TPF was limited to Patrolmen over six-feet in height.

In addition to providing the enhanced patrol presence in high crime areas, they also provided two other functions which, at that time, were unique to that command.

One of the tasks that TPF undertook was “Operation Decoy”. Selected members would, while attired in women’s clothing, work as part of three-man teams in sections of the city where street crimes were on the rise. “One team member acts as the woman, and the other two are the back-up men”. I guess utilizing the members of the Bureau of Policewomen was not considered? Better to put a dress on Rocco, hairy legs and all, I guess.

It was also the TPF that utilized another state-of-the-art tactic: Civilian Clothes Patrol.

In today’s department, when every precinct has what sometimes seems like more MOS and units performing duties in plainclothes than they do in uniform, it is hard to imagine the day when the civilian clothes patrol was a special concept, undertaken by a citywide, specialized unit to address street crime.

The former Street Crime Unit sprung from the ranks of the TPF civilian clothes patrol, at a time when the plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit of the precinct wasn’t even considered. Other than those in the Detective Division (it was still a Division, not a Bureau), the only people performing plainclothes duties were the few precinct Captain’s Men, addressing vice and gambling enforcement, and the Division and Boro Plainclothes Unit, also to address vice and gambling. Narcotics enforcement fell under the direction of the Detective Division.

Women as cops, and civilian clothed enforcement- two concepts taking rise in the early 1960’s!


Check out this website on DNA:

Seems that the District Attorney's office in Denver has decided to share their knowledge about DNA and prosecution.

Here’s another site with additional info on DNA:

Check out these photos, recently posted on the great web site, Policeny.com

Everything from the Beatles to Lauren Bacall and Malcolm X!

This is one of the best PD sites on the internet. It MUST be bookmarked on your computer!


Norman Horowitz would like to let everyone know that the Untouchables Motorcycle Club is hosting their 1st Annual Memorial Run and BBQ, for the benefit of the widows and children of NYPD’s PBA and DEA who have lost family members in the line of duty.

The event will take place at Wantagh State Park in Wantagh, on Sunday July 20, from 12pm to 5pm.

The run, (a motorcycle run, not an actual foot-run, hence the Untouchables MOTORCYCLE Club) starts at Cunningham Park in Queens, with a 9am registration. The run will commence at 11 am. If not participating in the run you may also register for the BBQ at Wantagh Park at 1130.

The donation of $20 per rider, $15 for passenger, with $20 for non-riders and $5 for children under 10, will provide you with hamburgers, hot dogs, corn, june ham, beverages as well as live music.

“Ride for those who cannot.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What a fool believes he sees no wise man has the power to reason away.
The Brothers Doobie


As reported by the Italian news organization ANSA on February 20, the Calabrian organized crime syndicate 'Ndrangheta is similar to both a fast food chain and the Islamic terrorist network al Qaeda. This analogy is according to a new report by the Italian Parliament's Anti-Mafia Commission.

'Ndrangheta is like a fast food chain, the report explained ''because it offers the the same, recognizable brand and an identical criminal product all over the world''.

The similarity with al Qaeda lies in the fact that it has a ''tentacle-like structure which does not have a strategic command but a kind of organic intelligence,'' the report said.

The mafia in Calabria, more so than its Sicilian counterpart Cosa Nostra or the Camorra in Naples, has an ability to adapt and infiltrate into different geographic realities and market situations.

''And it does this by using the family as a base while expanding on a worldwide scale. With its tribal mentality, it is able to efficiently operate in a global and modern reality,'' the report observed.

However, 'Ndrangheta's propensity to expand may be its weak point, the report said, ''as rival families compete against each other with an intensifying obsession to control their territories''.

Up until now, the report recalled, Calabrian organized crime had been able to expand without overlapping territories and thus avoided the bloody gang wars common in both Cosa Nostra and the Camorra.

Now that the drive to expand appears to have reached a fever pitch, the report said, there have been increasing examples of gangland slayings by rival clans both in Italy and abroad.

These included the murders of six Italians in an ambush in Duisberg, Germany, last summer.

Some experts believe 'Ndrangheta is now the most powerful mafia organization in Italy and is even more ruthless than Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the Camorra in the Naples region.

The reason why 'Ndrangheta is considered stronger than its Sicilian counterpart is because the families involved are fewer and more closely knit, thus making infiltration and betrayal more difficult.

According to a 2006 report from Italy's national crime bureau DIA, 'Ndrangheta holds a virtual monopoly on drug trafficking in Europe, especially for cocaine, which generates an estimated annual turnover of almost 36 billion euros (nearly $50 billion).

It also has branches operating in Latin America, Canada and Australia, the result of emigration from Italy during the 20th century.


The Commemorative Celebration of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, celebrating its “35 Year’s and Still Talking!” will take placed Friday, March 28, 2008.

Seeking as many active and retired MOS from the HNT to attend, its Commanding Officer, Lt. Jack Cambria, is putting together a commemorative celebration second to none.

The event will take place at St. John’s University, Council Hall, on the Jamaica campus of the college.

The program starts with an 8am-9am breakfast and registration, and the days events will include a hot buffet luncheon and commemorative gift.

Those wishing to attend should contact:

Lt Jack Cambria at 646-610-8763, or
Det Sal Abuiuso at (646) 610-6631.

A great time for all former and present negotiators to get together for a “chat”! Sounds like it should be a great day. Perhaps the esteemed Ret. Capt Frank Bolz, one of the founding fathers of the team, will be there?


Commemorating thirty years since the death of two Police Officers from the 79 Precinct, a Memorial Mass is scheduled April 5.

The two Patrolmen, Officer Norman Cerullo and Officer Christie D. Masone, both from the 79 Precinct, were shot and killed on April 2, 1978, after stopping two suspicious men in front of 660 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn.

Officer Cerullo exited the patrol car and spoke to one suspect, while Officer Masone spoke to the other suspect while still seated in the patrol car. After Officer Cerullo had finished speaking to one suspect, he re-entered the patrol car. Officer Masone suddenly exited the vehicle and began to struggle with one suspect. This suspect then drew a 9mm handgun from his clothes and began firing at Officer Masone. Officer Cerullo exited the patrol car and began firing at the second suspect. When the firing had stopped, Officer Masone laid dead. Officer Cerullo was mortally wounded, and one suspect was dead. The suspect that had been struggling with Officer Masone was struck twice in the legs, but was able to get to his car and escape the scene.

He was able to travel eight blocks before crashing into a parked car at Summer Avenue and Lexington Avenue. An off duty officer en route to the hospital to offer assistance to the fallen officers noticed the accident, but did not connect it to the shooting. When he arrived at the hospital and was informed of the circumstances of the shooting, he took three uniformed officers and returned to the accident scene and arrested the suspect.

The Memorial Mass is to take place on Saturday, April 5, 2008 at the Diocese of Brooklyn Administration Building, 310 Prospect Park West (corner of Prospect Park West and 19th Street). This is across the street from Bishop Ford HS (72 Pct area).

The Mass is scheduled for 10am, with a brunch & reception immediately following.

Let us not forget those who have gone before us.


GPS by Phone:

A free service for directions by phone is touting itself as the ideal answer for those times when you may have left your GPS at home (or in someone else’s car).

According to Directions, anyone can get driving directions by calling from their cell phone.

Dial 347-328-4667, tell the voice activated service a starting address and destination address, and instantly receive a text message with Mapquest driving directions.

According to the company, the service is free and works on all cell phones.

You can also check into this at their web site:

Dick Tracy Wrist-phone:

The wrist-watch telephone made famous by that comic strip character, Dick Tracy, is a reality.

The ready to wear phone is made by Hyundai. The W-100 is a phone that you can wear on your wrist, features a 1.3 megapixel camera, a touch screen, Bluetooth, as well as a watch!

It can also be used as an MP3 player, and will be available in the U.S. soon.

Check it out at: www.akihabaranews.com/en/news_details.php?id=14958


It was reported on March 11, 2008 that Malvin Wald, the screenwriter nominated for an Academy Award for the 1948 movie “The Naked City”, died at age 90.

This gritty 1948 crime film “The Naked City,” was a prototype for modern police dramas, including the popular television show of the same name.

Ending with the famous lines “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them,” “The Naked City,” was inspired by Mr. Wald’s adolescent years on the streets of Brooklyn.

“No one had done a film where the real hero was a hard-working police detective, like the ones I knew in Brooklyn,” Mr. Wald told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “We knew we were making a new genre that became the police procedural.”

The idea for “The Naked City” came to Mr. Wald from a photography book of the same name showing the bloody crime-scene coverage of the famed tabloid photographer Arthur Fellig, known as Weegee.

The film script follows Detective Dan Muldoon, played by Barry Fitzgerald as he trails the killer of a woman found drowned in the bathtub of her Upper East Side apartment.

The movie was shot on city streets, on East River piers and finally on the Williamsburg Bridge, where the killer climbs a towers, is shot and lands with a thud.

“My concept was that the Police Department — with all its fingerprint experts, crime scene photographers and autopsy physicians — solved murders, not Sam Spade-type private eyes working alone,” Mr. Wald later wrote.

At one point in the script, Detective Muldoon says, “Haven’t had a hard day’s work since yesterday.”

My note:
Alas, the Brooklyn homicide detective brought to the big screen – but, of course, the crime takes place, where? On the Upper East Side!

“There are 8 million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”


March 15, 1922 Ptl James McMail, 85 Pct, Assaulted during arrest
March 15, 1930 Ptl Walter DeCastillo, 84 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
March 15, 1934 Ptl Philip Clarius, 78 Pct, Shot – robbery in progress
March 15, 1936 Ptl Dioniso Pasquarella, 75 Pct, Shot – off duty altercation
March 16, 1940 Ptl Francis Dolan, 10 Pct, Fell from auto
March 17, 1956 Ptl George Lessler, 10 Pct, LOD heart attack
March 18, 1926 Ptl William Higgins, 13 Div, LOD injury
March 18, 1948 Ptl John Casey, 20 Pct, LOD injury
March 18, 1972 Ptl Elijah Stroud, 80 Pct, Shot – robbery
March 19, 1943 Ptl James Donovan, 75 Pct, Shot – investigation, off duty
March 20, 1804 Ptl Hugh Enright, 24 Pct, Shot- burglary arrest
March 20, 1963 Ptl John Tuohy, TD2, Heart attack chasing felon
March 22, 1932 Ptl George Myers, Line of duty injury
March 23, 1986 PO James Holmes, PSA3, Shot-off duty robbery
March 26, 1949 Ptl Anthony Oetheimer, 114 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
March 26, 1992 PO Joseph Alcamo, 100 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
March 27, 1921 Ptl Joseph Connelly, 10 Div, Shot-investigation
March 27, 1944 Ptl Arthur Eggers, Traffic C, Auto accident on patrol
March 28, 1922 Ptl James Baker, 83 Pct, Motorcycle accident
March 31, 1914 Ptl Thomas Wynn, 155 Pct, Arrest-robbery
March 31, 2002 Det Jamie Betancourt, BxNarco, Stabbed- o/d dispute

Noted: March 12, 1909 marks the 99th anniversary of the death of Lt. Jospeh Petrosino, the only NYPD officer killed in the line of duty on foreign soil.

His death has been profiled on this site in the past, and I have learned recently that there is a documentary in the works as well. A screenwriter has been researching the exploits of Petrosino, interviewing relatives and others who are providing valuable information, and will be preparing a documentary. Should be interesting when completed.

More on this as I get it.