Monday, December 14, 2009

Experience is that thing you get right after you need it.


It’s hard to imagine a time when there was not a strong component of plainclothes police officers addressing street crime in this city.

It’s not that far back, to the middle of 1970 that a concerted plainclothes effort against street crime did not exist. Looking through the June 1972 issue of Spring 3100, the development of the City Wide Anti-Crime Section was outlined.

In July 1970, to stem the tide of violent crimes against taxi and truck drivers, the Taxi, Truck Surveillance Unit was established as a temporary command within the Patrol Bureau.

This unit consisted of about 70 patrolman (remember, this was before the change to Police Officer title) and 70 detectives soon compiled an impressive record of not only arrests, but a dramatic reduction in crimes committed against taxi and truck drivers.

On November 12, 1970, the Police Commissioner authorized precinct commanders to utilize precinct personnel in civilian clothes to combat street crimes.

Prior to this time, plainclothes patrolmen performed public morals enforcement – gambling and vice – as part of the Division and Borough Plainclothes Units. Back then, when you heard that someone was “working in plainclothes”, it meant he was working in the enforcement of these public morals crimes. (Remember Frank Serpico?)

These Anti-Crime teams that the precinct established were soon so extremely productive in terms of raw arrest figures and the breaking of crime patterns, that the decision was made to expand the concept.

On October 16, 1971 the Chief of Patrol – Donald Cawley – combined the two concepts. The detectives that were assigned to the Taxi, Truck Surveillance Unit were returned to their commands, and the unit was re-designated the City Wide Anti-Crime Section (CWACS). It became a permanent part of the Patrol Services Bureau.

The new unit focused on all street crime, with emphasis on robberies, muggings and crimes against taxi and truck drivers. This is the unit that would evolve into the Street Crime Unit.

The section built on its nucleus of about 80 Taxi, Truck Surveillance members and gradually expanded to a field strength of 200 patrolmen, six policewomen, and a complement of superior officers and support staff.

Many of the patrolmen came from the Tactical Patrol Force and the Special Events Squad, but manpower came from almost every precinct in the city.

Housing such a command was a problem in itself. It started for the first year and a half working out of the small facility of the Queens Safety Division in Flushing Meadow Park. As the section expanded, they outgrew these quarters. The old Harbor building on Randall’s Island was then adopted, and soon became the headquarters for the CWACS.

On November 11, 1971, an Auto-Crime Unit was added to the CWACS. This component was created with an original staffing of 4 sergeants and 64 patrolmen. It became a permanent component of CWACS on February 14, 1972.

The CWACS was structured early on the team concept.

Each of the Section’s six squads consisted of one lieutenant, three or four sergeants, 30 or 40 men and one policewomen. Each squad, working as a team, performed three night tours and one day tour. Each sergeant was responsible for ten patrolmen. Assigning a policewomen to each squad insured that they would have at least one on patrol available for special assignment.

The policewomen proved themselves very valuable early on. They posed as shoppers, street-walkers, tourists, taxi drivers or passengers, or in any role which would make the section’s anti-street crime efforts more effective.

A photo placed in the Spring 3100 magazine of a CWACS roll call looked like an audition for The Village People and the “YMCA” video!


A standard practice for Detective’s dating back to at least the 1940’s and into the 1960’s was known as “The Lineup”.

Regularly scheduled detectives attended the Lineup at Police Headquarters (Centre Street), each day Monday - Thursday, starting at 9am.

The Lineup was conducted by the Chief of Detectives, for the purpose of allowing detectives to personally observe the characteristics and appearance of recently apprehended prisoners.

The main purpose, as outlined in a SPRING3100 profile of 1954, was to “acquaint detectives with the many types of prisoners arrested by the department and to help them to close pending cases if a prisoner should be wanted for another crime”.

In 1954 the department was beginning to experiment with televising the Lineup to detective Squads, in an effort to eliminate the travel time lost to detective’s from outlying commands.

Remember, this was before Polaroid photographs, fax machines, or any of the other “modern” means of disseminating information on those arrested that we enjoy now.


Bobby Nardi has checked in from the Bronx, with a few suggestions for the humidor.

He notes that he has been smoking the Rocky Patel Edge cigar lately, and enjoys the smoke.

He also notes that the Rocky Patel Decade is a very nice smoke. I have found both of these cigars to be very enjoyable as well, and highly recommend them.

I met Rocky Patel (yes, he is a real person, unlike Ben and Jerry) at a Cigar Inn event a few years ago. A true gentleman who produces quality cigars.

You can’t go wrong with a Rocky Patel cigar as an addition to your humidor.

Bobby also mentioned how he was having trouble keeping his humidor at the 70% level. He notes that the addition of a florist’s green brick foam has helped. I have begun using a Xicar gel that comes in a bottle for the purpose of keeping the humidor at the right level, and have found that it not only works very well, but it also lasts for several months.


A review of a recent statistic published by Scotland Yard as it relates to street crime in the London area notes the following:

“Fifty per cent of robberies involve the theft of a mobile phone, as do around 15 to 20 per cent of burglaries”

Mobile telephone thievery is worldwide!


The link below leads to the press release of the Ohio State Buckeyes Womens Lacrosse Team, announcing their Captains for the 2009-2010 season:


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


The Minister of Investigation wishes all a happy holiday season – Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year. Hope you are working your way through your Christmas shopping list!

Remember- To Contact The Minister Of Investigation:

Send me an email at:

Of Further Note- In the past 2 weeks, by 2 different people, I have heard the Minister of Investigation being referred to as “The Guru of Death” – can this catch on??

A fellow squad commander thought it would make a catchy title for a book! Thanks, Marc!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

DET SH# 5562


A tribute in the 40 Precinct locker room has been set up by the men and women who worked with him. The door of the locker that he once used memorializes this heroic officer.

“On Sunday, December 10, 2005, Police Officer Daniel Enchautegui, having completed his tour of duty at the 40th Precinct, returned home and confronted two men who were burglarizing a neighbor’s apartment.

“Without warning one of the men opened fire on Officer Enchautegui, striking him in the chest.

“despite being mortally wounded by this cowardly act, Officer Enchautegui returned fire, emptying his pistol at his assailants and striking them with every round he fired before finally succumbing to his wounds.

“Danny’s courage, dedication to duty and fighting spirit epitomize the character of the men and women of the NYPD.

“We will never forget our brother.”

Officer Enchautegui, who had been off duty for little more than five hours after working a 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift, got up and called his landlord, Henry Dziedzic, upstairs and asked if he had heard glass breaking. The landlord said that he had not.

The officer put on a black winter coat, slung his police shield around his neck, took his cellphone and off-duty pistol, an eight-shot KHR semiautomatic, and went out to investigate.

On the side of the house next door, at 3119 Arnow, he saw that a basement window had been broken. Officer Enchautegui immediately called 911 for backup officers.

Following procedure, the police said, he calmly identified himself as an officer and said he was investigating a possible burglary next door. He also noted that he was armed and was wearing his shield on a necklace, and he described his black coat so that he would not be mistaken for a burglar and possibly shot by fellow officers.

As Officer Enchautegui waited on the tree-lined street of red-brick homes, two men, one of them armed, emerged from the house he had under surveillance. "Police! Don't move! Police! Don't move!" Officer Enchautegui shouted, loud enough for his landlord to hear.

Investigators - who said they had pieced together an account of what happened from evidence at the scene and from neighbors' descriptions of the sequence of gunfire - said that the armed suspect, identified as Mr. Armento, a parolee with three convictions for burglary and possession of stolen property, had fired first, with a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver.

The bullet struck Officer Enchautegui in the left chest, but he responded with at least six shots, investigators said, striking Mr. Brancato twice in the chest and Mr. Armento four times in the abdomen, chest, right leg and groin, before collapsing. As the officer went down in his driveway, the wounded assailants hobbled west toward Westchester Avenue, a half block away, where two officers had just pulled up in a patrol car, responding to Officer Enchautegui's 911 call.

They first spotted Mr. Brancato beside a silver, late-model Dodge Durango, parked on Westchester Avenue. He was bleeding onto the door handle and into the street. They searched him, found no weapon, and arrested him.

The officers then turned into Arnow Place and saw Mr. Armento running at them with a gun in his hand, according to the police. He, too, was bleeding. The officers took cover, one behind a parked car and the other behind the corner of a building, and shouted at the approaching gunman: "Stop! Police! Drop the gun!" At that, the man dropped his weapon and collapsed in the street, about 50 feet from the officers.

Back at the shooting scene, another officer and a sergeant found Officer Enchautegui, lying face up and bleeding in his driveway. He was breathing shallowly, apparently near death, and appeared to be unconscious. Emergency service officers administered cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and he was taken by ambulance to Jacobi Medical Center, where further efforts to revive him failed. He was pronounced dead at 6:09 a.m.

Officer Enchautegui joined the force in July 2002 and was first assigned to the 52nd Precinct in the Bronx. After a short time on what officers call an "impact post" - a beat where heavy criminal activity requires extra patrols – he was transferred to the 40th Precinct, which covers the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. He was unmarried and is survived by his parents and a sister.

(Ed. Note: I would once again like to acknowledge the fine work done at the web site, and have reproduced in part the memorial information posted for PO Enchautegui on that site.)


Detective Miccio was shot and killed during an investigation while assigned to the 78th Detective Squad.

Monday, December 07, 2009

“Kid, the police lab is fine and our fingerprint identification procedures are the best in the world. There’s no police department that has the wonderful, scientific aids to crime detection that we have. But the most important pinches I’ve made came because some stool I knew told me, “You’ll find the hood who did the West Side Killing in Room 314 at the Bedford Hotel”.

1955- Insp. Francis J. Phillips, NYPD, C.O. Detective Bureau


Not many people would be able to recognize the importance of this person, Lester Shubin, and the impact he has had over police lives worldwide.

Lester Shubin was a Justice Department researcher when he turned a DuPont fabric intended for tires into the first truly effective bulletproof vests, which has saved the lives of more than 3,000 law enforcement officers.

Lester Shubin recently died after a heart attack; he was 84 years old.

He worked for the National Institute of Justice in the 1970’s when DuPont came out with a fabric that was to replace steel-belting on high-speed tires.

This new substance was called Kevlar.

It was said to be “stronger than steel, lighter than nylon.”

Kevlar worked by deforming the bullet, spreading its energy as it hit the body-armor.

Obtaining a grant from the Justice Department to perfect their research, Shubin worked to make the vest not only strong but lighter, and more flexible. The vest was put over a gelatin mold to determine how human body might react to the impact of a handgun bullet.

They then soon learned that even more difficult than developing the material was getting manufacturers lined up to produce the product. A fear of getting sued if the product failed was a major obstacle to overcome.

By 1975 the vest had been produced, but still not in large scale use. They tried giving the vests away, but many police departments wouldn’t take them, and those that did had trouble persuading cops to wear them.

But in 1975 a Seattle police officer wearing a Kevlar vest walked in on an armed robbery in a convenience store and was shot at point-blank range. He survived to complain about doctors who kept him in the hospital over Christmas Eve because they found it hard to believe that he had only bruises.

Shubin also was among the first people to suggest that law enforcement use dogs to find explosives. Skepticism about bomb-sniffing dogs evaporated after the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami. A dog pawed at a wall and found a spent cartridge from a rivet gun. About the same time, another dog found a bomb on an American Airlines flight in New York, and a third, assigned to a federal drug agency, found $100 million in heroin.

Such a far reaching legacy from a man of virtually unknown recognition.

(Thanks to an obituary printed in the Washington Post)


A sign posted on many a detective squad room in the past contained these simple letters: GOYAKOD.

This was meant as a subtle reminder to the detectives of the importance of a very basic detective investigative tactic.

Frank Bolz passed this along to me years ago, answering a question I had of a memory I observed in the early years of my opportunities to visit squad rooms.

GOYAKOD was a reminder to the detective of the importance for almost any important investigation:

G et

O ff

Y our

A ss and

K nock

O n

D oors

In other words – get out of the office, talk to people. Do the canvass, ask questions and seek out information from your sources of information. Don’t wait for the phone to ring, because it probably won’t. Detectives need people to tell them what happened. Go out and ask them!!!


The stranglehold that organized crime has within Italy has been the subject of many stories, movies and other tales.

Italy’s current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is intent on going down in history as being the leader who defeated the Mafia. Much success has been reached in this regard, though at the cost of a number of high profile incidents that saw the loss of law enforcement lives.

One of the measures put into place going back to 1982 was legislation similar to what we have here in the US – laws that established a Mafia conspiracy, as in our RICO statutes.

Under those laws, property seized in these Mafia crackdowns could be turned over to the state in sweeping confiscations of Mafia-related assets. Turned over to the state, the government could take control and utilize assets for any social services they saw fit.

This may change soon, as measures have been introduced in Italy’s parliament that could find these very same seized assets turned back over to the criminal enterprises they were seized from.

New legislation being introduced would have the seized assets put up for auction to the highest bidder.

Under that process, the cash-strapped government could cash in for funds that they could better utilize socially.

A huge step backwards, though, says an anti-Mafia group that is afraid that this would allow fronts for Mafia businesses to buy back their assets on the cheap. Under the right influence, or “offer they couldn’t refuse”, the Mafia front could find themselves not only the highest bidder – but perhaps the only bidder.

Not exactly what the original intention was.

It should be interesting to see how this develops over the next few months.


A recent article in CSO Magazine (Chief Security Officer) outlined the 7 basic blunders of building security that should be of interest to the private sector-minded security executive.

1. Creating orders for guard service without advanced analysis
Having a security service contractor develop guard posts without the proper analysis or input from the building staff.

2. Placing aesthetics over security.
Just because it looks nice doesn’t mean its effective.

3.Neglecting to secure certain entrances
In an attempt to save money, or simply overlooking the importance of securing every opportunity for entrance.

4. Allowing management to ignore security rules
Allowing management to bypass security checkpoints, or escort in visitors without being properly screened, is a recipe for disaster.

5. Failing to understand your technology
Having the proper equipment but not using it properly wastes money and creates potential security risks.

6. Failing to secure important rooms within the building
Overlooking access control of key locations within the structure, such as computer storage and the mail room.

7. Overdoing security
Overdoing it where it doesn’t make sense could cause future lapses, as measures are eased up improperly. Overdo it where it doesn’t make sense, and in six months people will have figured out ways to get around the security.



An addition to my true-crime library was a book titled “A COP’S TALE” by Jim O’Neil, a retired Detective Sergeant. “A Detective’s Firsthand Account of Murder & Mayhem”, it is subtitled “NYPD: The Violent Years”.

The book chronicles the author’s exploits as an NYPD Patrolman, Detective and Detective Sergeant through the 1960’s into the 1970’s. Coming on the job in 1963, he spent 23 years on the job, much of it in Brooklyn North.

A good part of the book tells stories from his time as a Detective in the 73 Squad. His tales of 1960’s Brownsville would surely engage any Brooklyn North detective today!

While tactics and procedures have certainly adapted to the times, it is always interesting to hear these “tales from the past”. It’s like sitting at a table with five retirees, with over 200 years of NYPD experience, and listen to them tell stories. While you are thrilled with the stories, you can’t help but wonder and be aghast at some of the ways things were done.

What was standard and expected would have no place in today’s department, for sure. But it is always good to hear about the past, to know where you came from to understand where you are know, and where you are going.

Before technology and computerized databases, detectives relied on their informants. That’s why a good number of the stories originate, or end, in a local Brownsville gin mill.

Places like Red Jack’s Bar, the Highway Inn, Teddy’s Happy House, Pacey’s, and The Date Room all had a prominent place in the detective’s stories. Connecting with informants, learning who was doing what to whom, it all had a place in these detective’s lives.

In the days before paid overtime, detectives worked a case until it was solved, putting in many hours on their “own time”. Can you imagine such a thing today?

His entry into the detective squad in the old 73 Station House introduced him to Fort Zinderneuf. Fort Z.

Many Brooklyn North MOS have heard the 73 referred to as “Fort Z”. Do you know where this term came from?

Fort Zinderneuf was the last outpost of the French Foreign Legion in the classic film “Beau Geste”. That’s where the “Fort Z” part of the 73’s history comes from.

“The first week one of the most important things I learned was when to wear my detective’s hat, a classic felt fedora”. Wearing the fedora, it seems, helped keep critters with many legs from falling down the back of your coat!

Not without its dated topics, he addressed issues such as work in the plainclothes divisions. (Editor’s Note” While some may say its self-censoring, I do not particularly enjoy retelling on these pages stories of corruption and/or carousing. We get enough bad press as it is).

Some interesting characters take up many of these stories, and anyone who has ever investigated a crime or ridden in a radio car in the 73 area would most surely enjoy these. He mentions the time when the Police Commissioner, Patrick Murphy, broke up the precinct detective squads into specialized units. He went to the 13th Division Robbery Squad, working out of the 79 Precinct, with Lieutenant Frank Bolz the Commanding Officer.

Many will recognize Frank as the original Hostage Negotiations commander, a friend of this writer and a contributor of many stories to this site.

The author moves to Manhattan North after his promotion to Sergeant and a brief time in IAB (before he was asked to leave, before the IAB bosses asked him to leave). He was the Sergeant in the Senior Citizens Robbery Unit in Manhattan North after having led a Task Force that addressed violence in an area of the 32 Precinct. The Homicide Task Force brought crime down in the 32 and helped spur the advance in rank of Charles Henry to Deputy Chief, becoming the first black Deputy Chief in the department.

“The 73rd was a veritable sweatshop where each detective caught over six hundred cases a year”.

Cases were prioritized in a rather unusual format for today’s detectives. There were “three piles”. “Pile number 1: homicides, shootings, stabbings, stick-ups, and the occasional rape-investigate immediately. Pile number two: street muggings, commercial burglaries- investigate later. Pile number three: residential burglaries, purse snatches, larcenies and other low-level crimes- investigate never”.

At the time he indicates that the 73 was the third highest in crime outranked only by the 41 in the Bronx (Fort Apache) and the 28 in Harlem.

The book is featured in a recent issue of the SBA’s bulletin “Frontline”, and is available at bookstores in the area. A quick, easy read, it’s made it to my “True-Crime” bookcase at work.


Soon to hit the shelves at Barnes & Noble and be available through major book sources, a crime novel written by a NYC Sanitationman sees a writers passion reaching new heights.

Anthony Cardieri is a District Superintendent for the New York City Department of Sanitation. His passion for writing has seen several novels penned, and has even self published one of them. He’s reaching a major milestone, though, with the first one which will soon be available by major publishing sources.

LUCK OF THE DRAW is based in New York City – of course. The son of a retired NYPD detective, Cardieri made sure he got the police procedurals correct.

Stepping off with a book signing on December 11 at Barnes & Noble in Staten Island, you should watch for the debut of this book in the next week.


On December 16, 1920 Lieutenant Floyd Horton, assigned to the Old 40 Precinct in Harlem, was shot and killed in an attempt to apprehend a robbery perp.

Lt Horton was off duty and walking to the subway to go home to Brooklyn when he heard a man yelling “Police! Stop thief” and heard a shot. Lt Horton ran to where heard the commotion and was told that two men had just held up an elevator operator and shot a witness. Lt Horton gave chase on 146th Street towards Broadway. The man jumped into a waiting automobile and Lt Horton jumped onto the running board of the suspects vehicle. One of the suspects in the car fired a shot striking Horton in the right lung. Although fatally wounded, Lt Horton was able to draw his service revolver and fire through the glass, exchanging shots with one of the culprits. One of the Horton’s bullets struck the shooter in the heart, killing him instantly, and another struck the other occupant in the arm. The driver of the vehicle pushed Lt Horton off the running board onto the street, as the Lieutenant fired the remaining bullets at the auto. Aided by two passersby, the license plate number was written down on a piece of paper by the Lieutenant before he was removed to the hospital. He died a few hours later.

The driver of the vehicle, the brother of the suspect who was shot and killed by Horton, was convicted of murder, and sentenced to 25 years to life.

The body of Lieutenant Horton was taken to the Long Island train station with a uniformed escort headed by the Police Band, to be laid to rest in upstate Dutchess County, where he was born.

(The above is reproduced from a recent LBA Newsletter. LBA President Tom Sullivan and Retired Lt Bill Laarney have been working on compiling stories of Lieutenant's who have lost their lives in the line of duty - a very fitting memorial to those who have gone before us.)


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
December 16, 1920 Lt Floyd Horton, 40 Pct, Shot: GLA arrest
December 16, 1981 PO Anthony Abruzzo, Jr, 109 Pct, Shot-Robbery, off duty

Friday, November 20, 2009

"It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data"
Sherlock Holmes


A detective seeks to find the truth.

Whether it be a criminal investigation, and you are looking for the culprit who committed the crime. Or you are investigating a “Missing Person”, and you are trying to find out where that person is. What we do as Detective’s is seek the truth.

In our truth-seeking mission, we sometimes do not know what we are looking for when we start out. We ask questions, we take notes, and then we go over our notes and start asking questions again.

We are constantly asking questions and seeking answers. Whether we are physically asking questions to another person, or we are looking over printouts of cell phone records or address listings, what we are doing is asking questions and seeking answers.

Many times the questions we ask, and the answers we get, will lead us down the path to more questions. That’s what I mean when I say that we sometimes do not know what we are looking for until we find it.

You begin looking at cell phone records. Who was called, when, for how long? Does any of this information help? Does it lead you anywhere? You won’t know until you start looking at it.

A phone number appears in an obscure manner; no particular time or date of meaning to your investigation, but it was longer than most of the other calls on the record. Who was he speaking to? What about? Is this a co-conspirator who may be able to be “flipped” for information? Is it a girlfriend who he may seek out for refuge when he is on the run?

You are looking over an Accurint printout of people residing at a location. Suspect name appears, siblings are there, but who is this female with a different last name? Is this a girlfriend or a relative? Someone told you your suspect was out of state with an aunt. Is this the aunt, and does she have an out of state connection?

You very often don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it. And when you find it, bells and whistles will go off like never before!

(Or, as Sherlock Holmes put it, don’t come to conclusions until the facts lead you there!).


The fedora was once a staple item in the detective’s wardrobe.

Any old-time crime scene photo would prove this. Detectives at crime scenes always wore a hat.

The hat was a part of everyday dress to most men. Looking at photos from World Series games in the 40’s and 50’s you notice that all the men in the stadium wore hats, and were probably wearing a suit and tie as well! How things have changed.

Elmore Leonard, a noted author of crime fiction, had a quote in a book that I used previously on this site. “I like homicide detectives. They wear hats. They wear hats so that other law-enforcement people will know they’re homicide”The NYPD was no different. A detective in the NYPD wore a hat, most likely a fedora. If you were trying to stand out a little, or flexing your individuality, you may have gone with a homburg (Jack Maple), or a porkpie (ala Popeye Doyle in French Connection) hat.

There was a saying in the department. “Hey Kid- Get a Hat”.

That meant you were getting promoted to Detective (or, more likely, to the Detective Division as a white shield investigator). When someone told you to “Get a Hat” it meant you were moving into “The Squad” – and you had better make sure you dressed the part!


The image is there- a Detective in a trench coat.

You merely have to say it and people throughout America will have the image in their mind – a detective in a trench coat.

In New York, a Detective would not be seen with an umbrella in his hand. Detectives here, in foul weather, would most likely be seen wearing a trench coat – indeed, the trench coat has become somewhat of a uniform item for detectives – and perhaps a fedora in the rain. Years back, all detectives wore hats – in fact, there was a saying in the NYPD, when someone was being promoted to detective, you would tell him “Get a Hat – Your Getting Promoted”. But an umbrella? Never a part of a New York Detective’s equipment.

But what about a detective with an umbrella?

I recall making a remark to some detectives at a crime scene where we were standing in the rain that “A detective doesn’t carry an umbrella – he wears a hat”.

Is that accurate? Do detectives carry umbrellas?

While I cannot say that a detective with an umbrella is at all common here in New York, or even in the US, what about elsewhere?

What better place to find out than from the city of rain – London.

Do Scotland Yard detectives in fact carry umbrellas, that here in New York would be totally foreign to us?

My question to you is: Would it be reasonable for a Scotland Yard Detective to be at a crime scene, or on an investigation, carrying an umbrella?

A fashionable man in the City of London would certainly carry an umbrella – what about Detectives?

I checked in with a friend from Scotland Yard, a Detective Superintendent who I knew would surely be able to let me – and my loyal readers – know about this unusual issue.

He assured me that, on his side of the world, detectives also would not be seen carrying an umbrella! Even in damp and foggy London!

“Can't say that I've seen a detective at a crime scene with an umbrella - ever!”

“Having numerous homicide and serious crime scenes over the past few years I haven't had one and have not seen any colleagues with one either.”

He added that for the most part you might see a detective at a crime scene wearing “The Berghaus waterproof” – which is similar to an Eddie Bauer-type winter coat (3/4 length ski coat) that we might wear. Of course, even in London you could expect to see “the senior detectives in a great coat.”

Maybe a Burberry trench coat? I wonder if they have “London Fog” coats in London?


The name Scotland Yard invokes the image of a foggy London street being patrolled by a detective in a trench coat puffing smoke from his pipe.

But Scotland Yard has an easily muddled history, full of misnomers and controversy.

Neither in Scotland, nor in a yard, it is the name of the headquarters of London's Metropolitan Police and, by association, has become synonymous with the force.

The Yard doesn't serve the city either, but instead the Greater London area.

Think of it this way.

There is an area of London that is classified as the “City of London”. This particular part of London encompasses approximately one square mile. The City Of London is the downtown financial center of the city, and can be thought of – in terms of New York – as the Financial District. The City of London has a separate police force that handles this one square mile.

Everything else around this square mile, in what is also known as London, is handled by the Metropolitan Police Service – commonly known as Scotland Yard. So if the downtown financial district of New York is thought of as the City of London, than the surrounding areas – and the other boroughs of New York – is the area that Scotland Yard is responsible for.

Besides the City of London Police force and Scotland Yard, there is also a British Transport Police force that patrols the subway – “The Tube” – and a parks area police force.

If you really would like to read more about policing on the other side of the pond, you can check out the following web site:


Every so often, as a detective you will be reviewing a “rap” sheet that includes out-of-state arrests. Familiar terms in the New York State Penal Law often have very unusual sounding terms in other jurisdictions.

Squad Commander Lt. Seamus McHugh recalls looking over a rap sheet one time for a perp that he was booking and noticing that he had been arrested in the past for what was identified as “Atrocious Assault”.

Inquiring of his prisoner what exactly he did that was termed “Atrocious Assault”, without skipping a beat he was told “It was really, really bad”.

I guess so.


One of the two most essential items for anyone’s tool kit – the other one being duct tape – has to be “WD40”.

Too tight to break the seal of a lug nut, squeaky door or chair, rusted bolt on a door frame – nothing that can’t be handled by WD40.

Standing for “Water Displacement 40”, meaning it was the fortieth recipe tried for the stuff, you can’t go wrong carrying a can of this around in the trunk of your car or leaving one in a file cabinet drawer.

Just make sure you’re ready for the solution.

I recall a squeaky front-gate in the 77 Squad Room. Anytime someone entered into the squad room from the front waiting room, the front gate squeaked. Not so loud as to be an annoyance, but one of those noises that you almost didn’t realize you heard – until it wasn’t there anymore.

When a rather industrious Detective decided to spray some WD40 on the front gate to eliminate the squeak, he came under some heavy objections from other squad members – including the squad commander!

You see, that squeak served as a good way to alert someone in an outer office – like the squad commander! – that someone had walked into the squad room. No squeak – surprise entrance!

After being tired of the squeak that my desk chair had everytime I swiveled around, I decided to get some of this miracle spray and eliminate the annoying squeak. No squeak, quiet chair, makes for a happy me.

It seems, though, that the squeaky chair served as an alarm to the detectives in the squad room that the boss was getting up from his chair and on his way out. I didn’t realize it at the time!

I think I have uncovered a plot to pour water on my chairs mechanism seeking to get that squeaky-sound back!


Just want to take a moment and wish everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Seems like only yesterday we were making plans for the Labor Day weekend. Next thing you know, the Christmas decorations appear.

Enjoy the holiday, in whatever way you celebrate, with family and loved ones.


If you would care to contribute, especially around this holiday season, to the fund that has been established for the two children of Det Timothy Duffy who passed away this past September in a car accident, you may do so at:

The Duffy Children Endowment Fund
C/O Kimberly Duffy
The Detective Endowment Association
26 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10007


November 18, 1961 Ptl Charles Gunther, 105 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
November 17, 1849 Ptl William Helms, NFI
November 19, 1926 Ptl Edward Byrns, 45 Pct, Shot-pursuit
November 20, 1980 PO James Dunston, PSA5, Shot-Burglary arrest
November 22, 1857 Ptl Horatio Sanger, 9 Pct, Head injury
November 22, 1930 Ptl William Senk, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
November 23, 1938 Ptl Clarence Clark, 105 Pct, Auto Accident
Ptl. Victor Cooper, 105 Pct, Auto Accident
November 23, 1989 Det Keith Williams, QDAOS, Shot by prisoner
November 24, 1939 Ptl Michael Lonto, 75 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
November 24, 1971 Ptl Patrick O’Connor, ESU, Auto accident
November 24, 2004 PO William Rivera, 78 Pct, LOD injury
November 25, 1933 Ptl Peter Costa, 3Div, Shot-robbery in progress
November 25, 1946 Lt Charles Michie, ESU, Explosion-Rescue
Ptl Peter Kundsen, ESU, Explosion-Rescue
Ptl Francis O’Hara, 102 Pct, Explosion-Rescue
November 25, 1904 Ptl James Devens, 66 Pct, Trampled by horse
November 27, 1963 Det Ronald Rolker, 18 Sq, Shot-robbery, off duty
November 27, 1992 PO William Gunn, 67 PDU, Shot-investigation
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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Groucho Marx


An elite branch of Great Britain’s Metropolitan Police – the police agency of greater London, otherwise known as Scotland Yard, has an elite group that is known throughout Britain as “THE SWEENEY”.

“The Sweeney” is the term commonly used to describe the Flying Squad -an elite branch of the Metropolitan Police that specializes in attacking armed robbery and violent crime.

The slang term, Sweeney, derives from the Cockney rhyming slang in which the expression Sweeney Todd rhymes with (and stands for) 'Flying Squad'.

The Flying Squad investigates all methods of robbery (armed or not) of cash in transit companies, office buildings, betting offices, post offices, jewelers, casinos and banks.. They also investigate all robberies at commercial premises where a firearm is produced or intimated.

The Flying Squad is a branch of the Specialist Crime Directorate, within London’s Metropoliatn Police Service. The Squad's purpose is to investigate commercial armed robberies, along with the prevention and investigation of other serious armed crime. Due to the Flying Squad dealing with armed crime, many of the officers assigned are authorized firearms officers.

The squad was originally formed on an experimental basis in 1919.

In October, 1919, twelve detectives from Scotland Yard were organized into this special operation. The group was initially named the "Mobile Patrol Experiment", and its original orders were to perform surveillance and gather intelligence on known robbers and pickpockets, using a horse-drawn carriage with covert holes cut into the canvas.

In 1920, it was officially reorganized and renamed to become the "Central Robbery Squad", under the authority of the Commissioner of Police.

The Mobile Patrol Experiment was given authorization to carry out duties anywhere in the Metropolitan London Police District, meaning that they did not have to observe Division boundaries, giving rise to the name of the "Flying Squad" because the unit knew no boundaries.
In the late early 1980s, the name was changed to the Central Robbery Squad, referred to by most as the Flying Squad.

Some of the most dangerous work undertaken by the Flying Squad is known as "Pavement Ambush", where police ambush armed robbers during the offence. This would be similar to what we would consider a “Stakeout”.

During "Operation Yamoto" and "Operation Char", this approach saw two armed robbers shot dead by police.[


Several years ago, it was reported that DNA was used to help solve a murder, in a rather unusual manner.

A woman was murdered in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Her estranged husband was implicated because a snowy white cat hair was found in a jacket near the scene of the crime, and DNA fragments from the hair matched DNA fragments from Snowball, the cat belonging to the husband's parents.

Whenever you are dealing with a case where animal hair is involved, you should inquire as to whether there is sufficient sample for DNA to be extracted – especially if you have a suspect with a house pet.


Why is there a separate Traffic Squad Benevolent Association in the annals of the department?

Looking into this topic, the Minister consulted with Mike Bosak, a retired MOS who spent 13 years in Auto Crime and 10 years in the Bureau before retiring several years ago. Mike is a department historian who has been instrumental in restoring much of the previously lost department history. He has provided the following information concerning "Traffic Patrolmen".

At one time Traffic Precincts and Bridge Precincts were common throughout the city.

At first "Traffic Patrolmen" were assigned to Traffic and Bridge Precincts only. If memory serves correct, these precincts were originally under a parent command called the "Bureau of Street Traffic".

Many of the bridges such as the 59th Street Bridge, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn had their very own precincts. They were called Bridge Precincts, but their duties were basically traffic control and they had the same type table of organization as a Traffic Precinct.

Besides these Bridge Precincts, responsible for traffic duty, each borough also had from 2 to 5 Traffic Precincts.

The perception back in the early 20th Century was that NYC # 1 primary police problem was traffic control. Most "Traffic Patrolman" assigned to these precincts were assigned to "Traffic" fixers.

And it wasn't a four-hour fixer, 1-hour meal and three hours on a patrol post. (Remember no official time for meal and you also had reserve duty in the S.H.) For the specified whole tour, you were on a traffic fixer.

They even had their own "Traffic" chart. So "Traffic Cops" were a whole breed unto themselves.

The chart was brutal. When Traffic patrolmen got their new chart, the rest of the job also changed charts. This chart was in effect until 1905 for the entire job, all ranks!!

The only difference was the vacation days: Doorman and Patrolman got 5 days; Roundsmen, Sergeants, Captains and Inspectors, got either 8 or 10 vacation days.

The Traffic Patrol chart was not much better and was geared more towards working daylight hour. Back then, not only did the NYPD have "Traffic Patrolmen" but also had "Bicycle Patrolmen; "Mounted Patrolmen" and just plain "Patrolmen" from 5th Grade to 1st Grade. They were paid different salaries and had different duties as spelled out in the Rules & Procedures.

Uniform ranks were different too: Doorman, Patrolmen, Roundsman, Sergeant, Captain and Inspector.

When the Doormen's rank was abolished, they were all appointed as 5th Grade Patrolmen.

Even the Detective Bureau went thru many changes. At times patrolmen were "Detectives" with no official rank of "Detective", then we had the official rank of "Detective"; "Detective Sergeants" as 'sergeants as detectives' like the L.A.P.D. has today, and finally back to just plain old "Detective".

In fact at one point in time there were probably almost as many traffic cops as there were regular precinct patrolmen (plain "Patrolmen"; "Bicycle patrolman" and "Mounted Patrolman") on the NYPD. That is why there was a "Traffic Squad Benevolent Association".

Sometimes on the old department orders, not only were you transferred "to and from" a particular precinct, i.e. Bridge, Traffic, Mounted or just 'plain' Precinct, but occasionally the orders specified your detailed "Patrol" or "Traffic Post" (Talk about the hook.)

Also, "Mounted" patrolman were transferred with his individual horse (they had a number & name), saddle and leather equipment as specified on the order. And at the time, the "Bureau of Street Traffic" was a huge; almost separate entity unto itself within the department.

The department's focus on traffic control started to change in the late 1940 to early 1950, and they started doing away with the Traffic Precincts, Traffic Patrolmen" and department's involvement with traffic control. Effective April 1, 1959 the outer boroughs lost their last traffic precincts.


A recent article in the Financial Times reported on a rather unusual museum in Mexico – a Mexican Narcotics Museum.

Opened in 1986, the drug museum is maintained by the Defense Ministry. It started as a very humble one-room operation with few exhibits of “souvenirs” seized during the drug wars conducted by Mexican authorities. Today it is running out of room!

With the Mexican government in the process of an all-out war against drugs and drug traffickers, attacking the drug cartels at all avenues, every inch of the space allocated for this museum is overflowing with evidence and display cabinets from seizures.

Photographs and memorabilia of drug busts sit among cabinets bursting with narco bling and unusual weapons that have been confiscated along the way.

“We’ve run out of space,” admits Captain Claudio Montane, the museum’s curator. “The collection continues to grow, but there is no more room to show it.”

Some of the more glitzy seizures include 12 pistols that belonged to a drug trafficker killed by police in February during a major shoot-out battle. One of these weapons is a gold-plated Colt .38 Super, that is adorned with the Medusa head of the Versace logo on its handle and has the (previous) owner’s name engraved on the side. (Try explaining that this weapons is not yours, but your brothers, and you just happen to have taken his jacket that day!)

Another gun is engraved with etchings that celebrate the life and times of Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary hero, on every available surface of the gold-and-silver body handgun.

There are several examples of AK-47 assault rifles, which is commonly known in Mexico as a “Goats Horn” because of the curved magazine. One particularly handcrafted model has a tiger engraved in silver and gold on the grip.

Apparently, “Mexican drug traffickers like to show off,” says Capt. Montane.

On yet another shelf sits a cell phone that is plated in gold.

One notorious cartel leader’s handgun is also on display, with the engraving “I would prefer to die standing than to live kneeling down”. Another Colt .45 handgun is decorated with 221 diamonds incrusted into a white-gold handle and fixed to a gold-plate body.

The museum, alas, is not open to the public but is used to teach members of the military and police about illicit drugs and the culture of the people who smuggle them.

The US Government acknowledges that Mexican gangs have grown stronger and more powerful in the past decade and now control “the vast majority of cocaine that is grown in South America and sold on US streets.” There are estimates that place more than 80 percent of cocaine consumed inj the US as passing through Mexico.

The museum was expanded from one room to a total of ten in 2001. While the demand to visit the museum grows, there is a waiting list of visitors requesting to view.


Bluetooth Wireless Hands-Free Car Kit

This device, a VR3 Hands-Free Car Kit, turns your Bluetooth cell phone into a speakerphone. The kit is compatible with all Bluetooth phones. The unit mounts onto your sun visor, works through your cigarette lighter, and retails for only $49.95.

If you’d like to turn your cars interior into a Bluetooth hands-free device so that everyone in the car can be part of your phone conversation, then check it out further at:

USB Sunglasses

Always looking for that USB thumb-drive that you can’t seem to find a place to carry?

Calvin Klein has an answer for you. USB Sunglasses.

These new sunglasses, designed in Roger Moore retro style, conceal a 4 GB USB port thumb drive memory stick.

Just pull the detachable arm apart, and plug the thumb drive into a computer. Store and carry images, music, documents and other data right in your sunglasses!

These glasses are retailing for $199.


November 9, 1849 Ptl William Helms, 10Dist (7Pct), Bldg collapse (MunicPD)
November 9, 1970 Sgt Henry Tustin, 32 Pct, Shot-robbery
November 10, 1919 Ptl John McCormack, 38 Pct, Shot-DV dispute
November 11, 1989 PO Gary Coe, BSTF, Stabbed, off duty incident
November 11, 1992 PO Milagros Johnson, 109 Pct, Shot – off duty robbery
November 12, 1922 Ptl Charles Hoffman, 3 Pct, Line of duty injury
November 12, 1986 PO Kenton Britt, Hwy3, Auto accident on patrol
November 13, 1968 Ptl Joseph Pignataro, 46 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
November 13, 1989 Det Richard Guerzon, QDAS, Shot by prisoner
November 14, 1907 Ptl Edward Kavanagh, 47 Pct, Shot, robbery pursuit
November 15, 1930 Ptl William Vorden, Traffic C, LOD heart attack
November 17, 1929 Ptl John Duffy, 23 Pct, Shot – Robbery in progress
November 17, 1945 Ptl Francis McKeon, 34 Pct, Shot by EDP
November 17, 1849 Ptl William Helms, NFI
November 18, 1961 Ptl Charles Gunther, 105 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
November 19, 1926 Ptl Edward Byrns, 45 Pct, Shot-pursuit
November 20, 1980 PO James Dunston, PSA5, Shot-Burglary arrest
November 22, 1857 Ptl Horatio Sanger, 9 Pct, Head injury
November 22, 1930 Ptl William Senk, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
November 23, 1938 Ptl Clarence Clark, 105 Pct, Auto Accident
Ptl. Victor Cooper, 105 Pct, Auto Accident
November 23, 1989 Det Keith Williams, QDAOS, Shot by prisoner
November 24, 1939 Ptl Michael Lonto, 75 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
November 24, 1971 Ptl Patrick O’Connor, ESU, Auto accident
November 24, 2004 PO William Rivera, 78 Pct, LOD injury
November 25, 1933 Ptl Peter Costa, 3Div, Shot-robbery in progress
November 25, 1946 Lt Charles Michie, ESU, Explosion-Rescue
Ptl Peter Kundsen, ESU, Explosion-Rescue
Ptl Francis O’Hara, 102 Pct, Explosion-Rescue
November 25, 1904 Ptl James Devens, 66 Pct, Trampled by horse

Monday, November 02, 2009

Many times a detective doesn’t know what he’s looking for until he finds it”.


I discovered the following, from an old SPRING 3100 magazine, that had been sent to me several years ago by John Reilly – since deceased, and a former detective and department historian. John sent this along to me as he knew it would certainly be of interest.

The date that this was printed in a SPRING magazine was not indicated. I find these magazines to be chock full of department history, and can spend hours going through them.

I believe this was found in an issue from the early 1960’s. Perhaps some of my readers may have better information as to the timing of this item, and I encourage your contributions. I’ll find the exact date some time soon, I’m sure.

The text is reflective on the newly assigned detective – and although it may be dated, the message will surely ring true to its foundation.


“For those patrolmen who “get the gold shield” of the Detective Division, a new life in police work lies ahead and it is one that requires thoughtful consideration of the standards peculiar to police.

Lt. Arthur Schultheis, 14th Squad commader (today’s Midtown South Squad), a detective since 1945, and a squad commander for more than ten years, seeks to inmpress the meaning of the changeover from patrolman to detective with a code of ethics that he gives to each detective coming to his command. The code follows.

When a patrolman becomes a detective the transition should not be casual. You should realize that you are stepping onto a new and vital plateau in police work and that your competence and attitude are most important qualifications. It is at this time that a clear outline of a detective’s duties should be crystallized and a new loyalty inculcated in the thinking of the officer. It should be impressed upon the patrolman that you are becoming a member of a distinctive organization with an honorable tradition and your future responsibilities should be assumed in a spirit of humility and determination.

Among the more rewarding experiences of a detective is the feeling of personal accomplishment found in the successful completion of a difficult and tenuous investigation, therefore it behooves him to take pride in his work performing his duties in a manner to bring praise and respect to the department and his division (today – Bureau).

Aware of the responsibility of the individual detective, it is felt that a practical and ethical concept of his work should be formalized in a code of behavior emphasizing the fact his duties are singular, challenging and concerned with problems of morality and integrity”.


I. A detective should have the highest regard for the primary function of the division – service to the public.

II. Within the framework of the law and department regulations, a detective shall hold inviolate confidential information coming into his possession and do his utmost to protect the reputation of others.

III. To prove the innocence as well as the guilt of persons who are suspect shall be the abiding determination of a detective’s investigation.

IV. A detective shall cooperate with all agencies, both public and private, organized for the betterment of the community.

V. Knowing that teamwork is essential in his profession, a detective shall seek the loyalty and cooperation of his brother officers and return the same without reservation.

VI. A detective shall strive for self improvement; he shall keep himself generally well informed and in matters of crime and criminals he shall keep himself particularly well informed.

VII. A detective’s personal appearance and his conduct in relation with others should reflect the highest credit on the division.

VIII. A detective shall maintain his private life in such a manner as to be a credit to his community.

IX. A detective shall care for department property in his custody and thoroughly familiarize himself with its purpose and operation.

X. A detective shall regard no facet of his work with indifference; each case should be regarded as a personal challenge to be met with enthusiasm and diligence.

I’m wondering if perhaps Frankie Bolz has more information on Arthur Schultheis he could pass along?


Driving passed St. Mary’s Hospital the other day, at Prospect & Buffalo Avenue, I was reminded of an amusing story. St Mary’s Emergency Room is no longer open, and the hospital is no longer a general care facility. (What it is exactly I’m not quite sure, and even when the ER was “Open”, it wasn’t a place you’d want to be taken to).

Several years back, when the hospital was fully operational, a man was seated in his parked car on Atlantic Avenue and for some reason – too long to get into here – he was approached by another and was shot. He put his car into gear and quickly drove away from the scene. Realizing he had been shot, and familiar with the area, he drove himself the 3 blocks to St Mary’s Hospital seeking medical aid.

He pulled up into the Emergency Room entrance, pulling next to an EMS Ambulance that was parked there. The 2 EMT’s from the ambulance saw the car pull up, and the man screaming for help – saying that he had been shot.

Realizing the man was shot, and would need medical aid immediately, they immediately responded to render him aid. They took him from his car, put him on a stretcher, then … loaded him into their ambulance and drove the 1 ½ miles to Kings County Hospital – to get him the attention he needed!

You see, I guess even the EMT’s knew that bringing the victim into St Mary’s Emergency Room - that was steps away – just wouldn’t do it. This man needed MEDICAL attention!


CODIS – COmbined DNA Index System

The Databank is part of a national system called CODIS.

CODIS is a searchable software program with three hierarchical tiers of the DNA Index System (DIS) - local (LDIS), state (SDIS), and national (NDIS).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) serves as the NDIS connection and links New York State with other participating states. This tiered approach allows individual state and local agencies to operate their respective DNA databases according to applicable state law and local policy.

National DNA Databank: CODIS

The COmbined DNA Index System, CODIS, blends computer and DNA technologies into a tool for fighting violent crime.

The current version of CODIS uses two indexes to generate investigative leads in crimes where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene.

The Convicted Offender Index contains DNA profiles of individuals convicted of felony sex offenses (and other violent crimes).

The Forensic Index contains DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence.

All DNA profiles stored in CODIS are generated using STR (short tandem repeat) analysis.

CODIS utilizes computer software to automatically search its two indexes for matching DNA profiles. Law enforcement agencies at federal, state, and local levels take DNA from biological evidence (e.g., blood and saliva) gathered in crimes that have no suspect and compare it to the DNA in the profiles stored in the CODIS systems. If a match is made between a sample and a stored profile, CODIS can identify the perpetrator.

In New York State there are eight LDIS DNA laboratories.

The State Police Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) in Albany serves as a LDIS site for forensic casework performed at the FIC and as the SDIS laboratory for New York State.

All LDIS laboratories maintain a Forensic Index which is comprised of DNA profiles from crime scene evidence submitted by the agencies they serve. These profiles are routinely compared in order to identify and link criminal incidents that may involve the same perpetrator.

The SDIS database at the State Police FIC contains forensic DNA profiles uploaded by each of the LDIS laboratories and enables inter-comparisons of crime scene evidence DNA profiles among the participating LDIS laboratories in New York State and across the country.

How does the DNA Databank work?

DNA evidence is collected from a crime scene, and analyzed by a forensic laboratory accredited in DNA testing. A scientist develops a DNA "profile" and uploads it to the state DNA Databank.

That profile is then run against the convicted-offender DNA profiles in the State Databank to determine if a match exists.

In addition, profiles from other unsolved cases are compared against it to identify serial crimes.

The profile is uploaded to the Federal DNA Index System for comparison with DNA profiles from other states. DNA profiles remain in the Federal Databank and are regularly searched against new profiles as they are added to the system.

Mitochondrial DNA Analysis

Mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA) can be used to examine the DNA from samples that cannot be analyzed by RFLP or STR.

Nuclear DNA must be extracted from samples for use in RFLP, PCR, and STR; however, mtDNA analysis uses DNA extracted from another cellular organelle called a mitochondrion.

While older biological samples that lack nucleated cellular material, such as hair, bones, and teeth, cannot be analyzed with STR and RFLP, they can be analyzed with mtDNA.

In the investigation of cases that have gone unsolved for many years, mtDNA is extremely valuable.


Super Bowl XXXIV Footballs and 2000 Summer Olympic Souvenirs
Did you know that the NFL used DNA technology to tag all the Super Bowl XXXIV balls, ensuring their authenticity for years to come?

The method was intended to help to combat the growing epidemic of sports memorabilia fraud. The footballs were marked with an invisible, yet permanent, strand of synthetic DNA. The DNA strand is unique and is verifiable any time in the future using a specially calibrated laser.

I wonder if they continued to use this on subsequent Super Bowl items?


Some Q&A for the cigar smoker, thanks to the Texas Cigar Club.

You can check out their site for more info at:

How do you prepare a new humidor?

A new humidor must be conditioned before you store any cigars.

The humidor is made of wood and cigars need moisture, so you must put moisture inside the humidor, otherwise the humidor would suck all the moisture out of your cigars.

To prepare the humidor, first wipe down the inside with a damp sponge.

Do NOT use a paper towel; it may leave lint in the box.

Do not use a sponge laying in the sink , it could have soap or bacteria on it. Buy a new one!

Close the lid, then let it dry and repeat the process once again.

Soak the humidifier in distilled water for about 10 minutes. Wipe off any water and place inside the lid of the humidor. Close the lid and let it stand over night. Re-soak the humidifier again the next day before putting in the cigars.

Keep your humidor in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.

The more you open your humidor the more you will need to refill the humidifier.


Congratulations are in order for the newly appointed CHIEF OF DETECTIVES, no stranger to detectives or the department.

Phil T. Pulaski was recently appointed Chief of Detectives, taking over the esteemed position that was vacated by the retirement of GEORGE BROWN.

We wish to extend our best wishes to GEORGE BROWN on his retirement, and look forward to serving under Phil Pulaski.


To Contact the Minister of Investigation, you can send an email to:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Regarding the 1 year lapse of postings on this site, a common comment among some friends has been, “for such a buff, how could you just stop writing about this cop stuff”?

Without going into a deep dissertation, which no one really wants to hear, I guess I can sum it up best as follows. And, really, without realizing it until I started writing again, this is probably the best way to put it.

I let the calculators take over.

What am I talking about?

Previously on this site I have mentioned my analogy of the composition of this department, as being made up of either “handcuffs”, or “calculators”. Let me explain further.

There are two types of people in this department. Handcuffs, or calculators.

The handcuffs are those that are out in the field, fighting crime. “Locking up bad guys”, as I like to put it. The handcuffs work all crazy hours, they often work weekends and holidays; they get used to eating Chinese food out of a container at 1:00 in the morning when their only choices are pizza, Chinese, or cuchifritos. Then they wonder why they can’t seem to lose those last 10 pounds they’ve been trying so hard to shed. Handcuffs fight the fight, they walk the walk, and they are the reason why politicians can take credit for falling crime rates, rising tourism rates, and every other measure of success that they never get any credit for themselves. The handcuffs get dirty, they get their shoes ruined in the rain, they stand in mud over dead bodies. They walk through burned out tenements with dead bodies inside it while others are safe, warm and fed inside their heated buildings attending celebratory services.

You get the picture. The cop on patrol, the detective in the squad room – the handcuffs.

Then there are the calculators.

The calculators are those that wear the badge of the street fighter, but manage to keep themselves actually out of the nuts and bolts, the dirty work part of the organization. The calculators review your forms (prepared in quadruplicate, typewritten, buff copy filed…) and send them back to you when you forgot to check off a box on Line J of a 4 page document. The calculators crunch the numbers, they carry the checklist and they make sure you dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. The calculators sit in offices and make plans that will be carried out by the handcuffs, then manage to take the credit for the performance of the handcuffs work. Calculators walk into your office and find fault when you missed one step of a 4 step process to document a single task. Calculators have the time to read and memorize all of the details in directives, and can be sure to point out to you which steps you missed, whether or not it has any bearing on the actual task at hand.

The calculators forget that the mission of the organization is putting handcuffs on the right people, and believe that the “proper performance of a task is more important than the performance of the objective”.

You get the idea. Calculators.

The problem becomes when the calculators outnumber the handcuffs. If this is combined with the delegation that the calculators also wield more power, then we are really in trouble.

Now not all of this is so cut and dry. There are in fact some gray areas.

There are many calculators that were at one time handcuffs. They have crossed over the line, though they refuse to admit as much. They can go either way – they can act as handcuffs at times, before regressing into the calculator role, and as such can be helpful to the pure of either side.

All calculators, or all handcuffs, are not a good fit either. A combination is necessary.

That’s where the formula comes in.

I was always pretty good at math, though I was never of the mathematical mind of Kenny Sanzel, who has risen to stardom with a television show that uses mathematics to solve crimes. Again, that’s a whole other story. But my math skills were always pretty much above average (yet it was to journalism and English that Columbia looked to me).

Here’s what I have come up with.

H + H = +/- X

H + C = (+) X

C + C = - X

C + C = + Y

Where H = Handcuffs; C = Calculators; and X = the value toward crime reduction

Handcuffs + handcuffs can very often produce a positive crime reduction, but could be in danger of turning into a negative factor if combined too highly.

Calculators + calculators will always produce a negative number where X is crime reduction. However, when calculators are added to other calculators, they always produce a positive number Y when Y is the factor of bureaucratic paper shuffling and mind boggling decisions that have no logical basis.

There is also a danger factor.

Calculators produce a high level of danger when they believe that the work they do is much more important than any task the handcuffs perform. Two combined high-danger calculators are all that is needed to drive an operation into infinity, where infinity is the certain void of no return from outer space.

For handcuffs, the secret of success is to never, ever let the calculators get the best of you. Don't ever let them get you down, because when the handcuffs are down, then the calculators have won.

For a brief period of time, I guess I let the calculators get the best of me. Well, not any more.

Take a look around, surely you can spot the two.


Compstat is the process where the organization tries to remind the large sum of its parts what its stated mission is – reduction of crime.

It is in this process that the handcuffs and the calculators must get together, on the playing field so to speak, to produce a positive result.

Hence, it is in Compstat that the true measure of the formula:

H + C = (+) X and also that H + C = (+) Y

And very often, for about 90 minutes on a Thursday morning in New York City, the “C”s and the “H”s share a common bond of agreement, success in many ways.

When performed properly, you can achieve

H + C = 1 and even H = C

And for those approximately 90 minutes on a given Thursday, this formula will ring true.

How long it lasts depends on how long it takes for the calculators to remember that they have more positive power than the handcuffs.

This, my friend, is a sure sign that I had way too much time on my hands this morning, and should have finished my Salman Rushdie book instead.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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


Thanks once again to (Ret) Sgt Mike Bosak, a true department historian, for putting together this information on the department’s Medal of Honor.

The department did not award its first Medal of Honor until May 18, 1912 and it was awarded to Acting Detective Sergeant (today's rank of detective) Charles S. Carrao, Italian Squad for police action performed on the morning of September 15, 1911.

The 'Italian Squad' worked out of Police Headquarters, 240 Centre Street and worked primarily on the 'Black Hand', an organized crime entity that preyed mostly on recently arrived Italian immigrants.

Detective Carrao confronted a "Black Hand" extortionist, who had just lit the fuse on an explosive device in the hallway of a tenement house located at 356 East 13th Street.

Carrao then extinguished the fuse; gave chase, where shots were exchanged with the perp, and personally affected the arrest. This Black Hand extortionist had just four hours earlier ignited another bomb at 314 East 12th Street, causing extensive damage.

According to former Detective 1st Grade John Reilly (Now Deceased), this first NYPD "Medal of Honor" was designed by Tiffany & Co. and it was originally referred to as the "Department Medal."

NYPD General Order # 19, dated April 22, 1915, authority of Police Commissioner Arthur Woods changed the name of this medal from the "Department Medal" to the "Department Medal of Honor."

New York City had it first police "Medal Day" on Saturday, May 26, 1855 in City Hall Park, when the "NYC Municipal Police Department" gave out seven (7) silver medals. "Chief of Police" George Matsell and Mayor Fernando Wood awarded six (6) of the solid silver medals for heroism and good arrests and one (1) silver medal for "meritorious service."

The first medal given out by the NYPD was awarded on August 17, 1871 and was for given for quote, unquote “meritorious conduct.”

It was awarded to Patrolman Bernard Tully of the 19 Precinct (today's 17th Precinct) for the arrest of a burglar with one shot fired. And that was the only medal that the NYPD awarded in 1871.


Since the modern medal era came into being in 1915, when the name of the highest NYPD award “The Department Medal” was changed to “The Medal of Honor”, only three members of the NYPD have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice.

The first multiple award was to Detective Timothy J. Connell who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1922, after he was wounded during a shootout in which he killed a hold-up man.

He also received a posthumous award of the medal in 1926, after he was killed in another shootout with four criminals in 1924.

The second multiple award was to Detective John Cordes.

He received the medal in 1924 after a shootout in which he was wounded five times during a stickup in a store.

He received it again in 1928 for a second shootout.

John Cordes is the ONLY member of the department to have ever been awarded the Medal of Honor on multiple occasions, and to have lived to receive the second award!

Appointed to the department in 1915, he spent over 35 years with the department, and retired as the Lieutenant- Squad Commander of the Riverfront Squad on January 1, 1950.

(More on John Cordes on later postings; or you can check on prior postings to this site by searching this blog).

The third recipient was PO Robert Bilodeau, Street Crime Unit, who was awarded the medal twice, posthumously, at the 1981 Medal Day Ceremony.

The first award was for an incident on April 5, 1979, when while making an arrest his throat was slashed, an injury that required 63 stitches to heal.

The second award was for an incident on February 12, 1980, when he chased a gunman into an alleyway. The gunman turned and shot Bilodeau three times. Before he died he was able to wound his assailant.


I have often wondered why we do not, as an organization, teach our new recruits in the Police Academy about some of this heroic department history.

How many Police Officer’s graduating from the Police Academy are aware that there are only 3 department members ever awarded the Medal Of Honor on multiple occasions? Why isn’t the name John Cordes imbedded in these same graduates?

The way the Marines teaches its recruits about its historic past – in fact, they are quizzed and can recite it in their sleep – this department should consider teaching some of this to our new recruits. Let’s try to instill a sense of pride in the young, for the deeds of the past.

This department is more than just the Knapp Commission and Serpico!


DI Vincent Didonato, known to all simply as “Vinny D”, passed along the following item which merits mentioning as a “Guiding Light” of Investigative Knowledge.

Vinny notes that “A detective should solve a case by gathering facts and developing a theory and change his theory as the facts change, rather than change the facts to support his theory”.

This follows along with the idea that a detective should let the investigation lead to the conclusion, not to make a predetermined conclusion and then investigate around that theory.

I also like the following statement that Vinny made.

“There are three types of people in this world. Right-handed, Left-handed and the Under-handed.

A long time ago people thought the world was flat, Columbus proved the world
was round.

We know the world is Crooked.

Detectives investigate the Under-Handed and the Crooked”.

Yes we do!


Retired Captain Frank Bolz – renown as the original commander of the Hostage Negotiation Team of this department – has passed along a comment after my last posting concerning elephants, Jedi, etc.

Frank mentioned how he remembered when he was a newly assigned white-shield investigator in the 81 Squad, in 1958, the squad commander, Lieutenant John Curry, made sure to assign all the new detectives with experienced detectives. It was up to the “old-timers” to teach the newbie’s what they needed to get the job done, and to survive in “The Squad”.

The same way the Frank remembers fondly his partner, First-Grade Det. Joe DePrima, if you ask any “old-timer” they, too, will recall the help they received from these experienced investigators when they were new in the squad.

When you become the “old-timer” – make sure you don’t forget to take on the role!

Now, what about those call boxes?

Frank also passed along the following, concerning the departments call boxes and lessons learned by the young.

Back in the 50’s, and even into the middle of the 60’s, the call box on the corner was the primary way that the uniform cop on patrol kept in touch with the station houses, received assignments, and even called for backup. Before there were portable radios, there was the call box.

The new cop on patrol learned the lesson to “open the call box slowly”.

If some other cop got the kids in the neighborhood mad at him, they would pack Horse manure or dog droppings into the box and on the phone and slam it shut. Now, when the next cop on patrol comes around to use the box, especially if it was at night you might not see what was coming, and you sure would "get an ear full". Frankie’s advise: be nice to the kids, or open the box slowly!

While we’re on the subject of foot posts, Frankie B also noted a department form that I didn’t mention in the last posting but one that was commonly used.

The UF17 – Report of Lamp Outage, is what the cop on the foot post would prepare when the street light was out. If there was a street light out on your post, the Patrol Sergeant would be coming by to check if you made out the report. One of the ways you could get yourself in trouble with the boss.

And the “shield temperature” test in the winter, right Frank?


Degloving- the procedure of a Missing Persons Squad Detective removing a layer of skin from a decedents fingers, and then placing this skin over their own gloved hand, so that it can be inked and rolled in order to try and obtain a fingerprint for identification.

My Note: I would like to thank Lt Chris Zimmerman of the Missing Persons Squad for passing along some of these interesting items from the ME's Office. They are certainly very helpful to many detectives, both those who regularly utilize the ME's Office, and the new investigator who finds the ME's Office a little foreign.

I would also oike to add that I have always found the detectives assigned to the ME's Office to be extremely helpful.


Another one of those stories that illustrates how fact is often stranger than fiction. You couldn’t make this up.

A fugitive from Seattle, who fled the country to Cancun, Mexico in an effort to avoid bank fraud charges, has himself to blame for being captured.

It seems that, between kicking back on the beaches of Cancun and partying in clubs at night, he took the time to make regular entries on his Facebook page. Seems he felt the need to let everyone know how much fun he was having, and even – inadvertently I’m sure – let a federal Justice official join his circle of friends.

He is now awaiting extradition back to the United States.

Facebook – another powerful research tool to any investigator!


November 1, 1923 Ptl Ace Swinder, 33 Pct, Motorcycle accident
November 1, 1931 Ptl Howard Peterson, 66 Pct, LOD Accident
November 3, 1854 Ptl David Gurley, 1 Dist, Stabbed (Munic.PD of NY)
November 3, 1892 Det John Carey, CentOffSqd, Shot-Arrest
November 3, 1931 Sgt Thomas Madigan, 30 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
November 4, 1966 Ptl Anthony Campisi, 1Div, Stabbed-investigation
November 5, 1924 Ptl John HBonahan, McyDist, Auto accident on patrol
November 5, 1928 Ptl Henry Behnstedt, TraffDiv, Auto accident on patrol
November 6, 1854 Ptl David Gourley, NFI
November 6, 1978 Det Horace Ford, SCU, Shot-off duty robbery
November 7, 1863 Ptl John Van Buren, 8Pct (17Pct), Beaten-Draft riots
November 7, 1864 Ptl Joseph Nulet, 29 Pct (10Pct), Shot-burglary invest.
November 7, 1937 Det Arthur DeMarrais, 88 Sqd, Injured-assaulted
November 8, 1930 Ptl Charles Weidig, 28 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
November 8, 1937 Ptl George Pierson, GCP Pct, motorcycle accident
November 8, 1955 Ptl John Albanesi, 60 Pct, LOD heart attack
Send an e-mail to:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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


Let me start by telling a short story to try and illustrate a point.

A zoo was having some difficulty with its elephant population. It seems that the elephants were being uncharacteristically aggressive to each other, they were defecating in the areas that they populated, and were overall “acting up”.

It was becoming a problem to the handlers, and they were being disruptive with visitors. The zoo reached out to a zoologist expert.

“You’re feeding them the wrong food” was the expert’s opinion. The food was causing them to be overly aggressive. A change of diet, however, did nothing toe stem the issues.

A second expert was called in. “The environment is wrong” was this expert’s opinion. The living arrangements, the dimensions of the sleeping areas and their cages needed to be rebuilt. This, however, also did nothing to change their disruptive manners.

Other experts and evaluations also proved fruitless, and the zookeepers didn’t know what to do next.

There came a time when a visitor to the zoo approached one of the zookeepers and asked, “Where’s all the big elephants”? What do you mean? “Well”, he said, “usually at the zoo I see baby elephants and bigger elephants, and the baby elephants are walking around behind the larger ones”.

Well, this particular zoo only had small elephants. It was a new zoo, and in order to save funds they purchased smaller, baby elephants and kept the cost down by not having larger elephants to take care of.

Therein was the problem.

There were no adult elephants to tech the smaller elephants how to behave. There was no elephant that would show them what was right and what was wrong, how to a ct and what not to do.

This is the same issue that we see with our young detectives. Who is there to teach them what is right, how to act, how to investigate?

Before Louis Savarese retired, we would often discuss this issue. Louis had a great way of putting it, taking a line straight from a popular motion picture. “Who is there to teach them the way of the Jedi”?

We cannot expect baby elephants to know what is right and wrong unless there are adult elephants to teach them. We wouldn’t expect our children to know what to do without teaching them, why do we expect Detective’s to be any different?

Unless we spend the time to teach right from wrong, good case management from bad case management, the proper way to interview, the proper way to document a case investigation, how can we expect it to be done properly?

I have often been an advocate for proper education and training of our supervisor’s as well. To take a supervisor and drop him / her into a squad, tell them to sign off on cases and supervise investigations – without giving them the proper background, teaching, and skills that are necessary to do so, then how can we be surprised when six months later a review of cases finds many shortcomings that the supervisor “signed off” on? How are they to know that what they are “signing off” on is improper, if we never taught them properly?

We are not in a position where we can expect others to do this for us. Don’t expect that your new detectives are being taught by an outside command when they attend training sessions, that is only a beginning.

Take the time, as supervisors, to teach others. Reach out to other supervisors you work with, and lend a helping hand. Take new detectives under your wings, pair them up with the “right” role-models in your squad, and give them a chance to reach their potential.

If you don’t want to be surprised by results down the road, take the time to lay the foundation when they’re young.

As it was so aptly put by a rock and roll band, “Teach Your Children”.

Who will teach them the way of the Jedi?


There is some NYPD history going back to the early days of the New York Yankees that not many people know about.

Sgt. (Ret) Michael E.J. Bosak, a true department historian, has passed along some of this history which I will recount now. I thank Mike for all his work in documenting the history of this department – some of it well known, some of it little known, and many of it totally forgotten.

The story of the Yankees goes back to a bar near 6th Avenue in Manhattan that was owned by Frank Farrell, and was just up the block from the 29th Precinct, whose station house was located on West 30th Street directly opposite of where Manhattan Traffic Task Force's station house is now. Farrell's saloon was the local precinct's after-tour gathering spot.

It was there that “Big” Bill Devery first met Farrell, when he was a young detective in the 29th Precinct detective squad.

Devery later came back years later as a Captain to become the Commanding Officer of the 29th Precinct. History records that this precinct probably had one of the worst corruption records in department history. It also was the most desirable for promotion, as its spot in the limelight of the city saw just about every big NYPD boss pass through as the precinct’s Commanding Officer during most of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Many would say that Devery took advantage of his position working in the part of the city that was known as The Tenderloin (14th Street to 42nd Street, Park Avenue to 8th Avenue). He certainly amassed a huge personal wealth which seemed above his means as a civil servant.
Devery had his own problems with the law and at one time was convicted of a felony, but had this conviction overturned by an Appeals Court.

He then rose to the rank of NYPD's "Chief of Police" in less than one year after he was released from prison after a felony conviction was overturned. His appointment to this title is also noted as the last person on the NYPD to hold that rank – Chief of Police.

Devery was later appointed the department's first "1st Deputy Police Commissioner".

Once again, now as the First Deputy Commissioner, Devery came under the spotlight of corruption. He finally decided to give up police work for good and go into the baseball business, using his amassed wealth – from questionable sources - to help him purchase the NY Highlanders – the team that would later become the N.Y. Yankees.

The Black Sox baseball scandal didn't happen until well over a decade later in 1919.


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

Mummification- the drying up of the body as a results of burial in a dry or arid place, dry up and shrivel

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


Here are some of the current “buzz words” being thrown around corporate culture that will sometimes find its way into conversation if you are meeting with outsiders. It’s also a good indicator, when used by a department executive, that he / she has probably been a recent PMI (Police Management Institute, conducted at the very Ivy League Columbia University, for executive level department MOS) attendee / graduate.

Action Item: an urgent task requiring immediate action – from someone else.

As discussed: a phrase used to remind someone of a conversation that has never taken place: “You don’t remember? That’s strange. We definitely discussed it.”

Assign ownership: To dump responsibility on someone else as quickly as possible.

B.A.U.: Business As Usual – especially if your business is speaking in acronyms.

Brain dump: A modern and elegant way to describe the process of informing another of one’s knowledge on a given topic. (Think- COMPSTAT).

Communicate: The four syllable version of the word “say” or “tell”; used when communication is not really the main idea.

Drink from the fire hose: To quickly learn all about a topic. The fact that the learner chokes is utterly beside the point. (Think: Evidence handling procedures).

Elevator pitch: The amount of time it takes to pitch someone a new idea while traveling in an elevator. If you’re the one being pitched, it probably feels more like a ski-lift story.

Outside the box: As in “Think outside the box” – an expression used most often by people who will never understand how to actually do it.

Team player: an enthusiastic co-worker who some say can’t get hired anywhere else.


Have you ever wondered where our everyday department forms came from? Simple terms that we use all the time – do you know the origin?

For example, a “UF61”, or just a plain old “61”. Where did this come from?

The “UF” part is an outdated term that goes back to the time when department forms were preceded by the unit or parent command that originated it – used it the most.

The “UF” part stood for “Uniformed Force” – this was the prefix for the “Uniformed Force” records and reports – the Patrol Force. The reports were numbered as they were put into place, thus the “UF-61” was the “Uniform Force Report Number 61”, which was otherwise known as the “Complaint Report”.

The “DD” forms were those having to do with the “Detective Division” – from a time when the Detective force was under a “Division” and not a “Bureau”.

Most of us know the “DD5” as the follow-up report for complaint investigations.

Some questions that I had took some major research to get answered. For example, if the follow up report to an investigation – the thing that detectives do all the time and most frequently – was a “DD5” – what were the 4 other reports that came into being before that? What exactly was a “DD1”?

I have some answers for you.

The earliest record I could find is in the 1913 Manual of Procedure for the New York City Police Department. In 1913, the Detective reports are noted as follows:

DD1 Continuous Precinct Detective Report
DD2 Continuous District Detective Report.
DD3 Consolidate Continuous Detective Report.
DD4 Complaint card.
DD5 Supplementary Complaint card.
DD6 Connecting Reference Card.

So, it seems that the follow-up report to a complaint was the first report that originated for Detectives. The DD1 was the follow up report, or what was called the “Continuous” detective report prepared by precinct detectives. Likewise, the DD2 was the follow up prepared by District Detectives (specialized units).

In the 1929 Manual of Procedure, these forms took a change.

The DD1 was now the Line-up sheet.
DD2 (white) Notice of investigation
DD2 (blue) Notice of investigation
DD2 (pink) Notice of investigation
DD3 Record receipt
DD4 Complaint report
DD5 Supplementary Complaint Report
DD6 Watch card.

The DD5 – the follow up investigation report to a complaint, is now in place according to the 1929 Procedures.

What I don’t have an answer to, is the question – if it took the police department 61 reports before they got to the one that is a report of a crime – which would likely be the most important part of the job – what were the other 60 “Uniform Force” reports?

Give me a break – I had a hard enough time with the first 4 Detective Reports!


On Sunday November 22, 2009 at 1100hrs, the Crushers MC Law Enforcement group is having a FUNDRAISER in the memory of Det. Timmy Duffy, who passed away suddenly last month.

Motorcycles will meet at 1100hrs. at the NY State Troopers – Troop L Valley Stream Barracks on the Southern State Pkwy, Valley Stream.

From there the group will ride to meet with the family and friends of Tim Duffy, arriving at approx. 1200 hrs at the Sick Moon Saloon and Grille, located at 4222 Hicksville Road in Bethpage.

A donation of 25 dollars will be collected, for a BBQ lunch. ALL proceeds will go to the Duffy family to help them through this upcoming holiday season.

You do not have to ride a motorcycle. All are welcome to join them at the Sick Moon Saloon for beverages and food.

For further information you can:

Contact Sgt (Ret) Norman Horowitz at:


Today’s posting to this site also marks my Anniversary with the Department!

With little to regret and a lot to remember and laugh about, it has certainly been a great time!

I would just like to acknowledge the other members of my Academy Class that remain on the job – alumni of the Transit Police Academy Class of 1981 – at the 155 Street school opposite the Polo Grounds. I could write for ours on memories of the academy alone – and perhaps I will, for future postings. (And, no, wiseguys- the Polo Grounds was NOT still a ball park when we attended the Academy! It wasn’t THAT long ago!!!).

Fellow alumni of the October 1981 Transit Police class who currently remain on the job:

Sgt. James Brennan, Staten Island Court Section
Lt. William Brosnan, DC Intell
Insp. James Capaldo, OCCB
LCD John Cornicello, DB BNHM
Insp. James Guida, NBMS
Lt. S/A Daniel McFarland, MISD
PO Michael Morgillo, TB D-01
Det. 1 Robert Nardi, 44 PDU
DI James Reilly, Traffic Division
Dep. Chief Gary Scirica, PSB
Sgt. Peter Tammaro, Bklyn Court Section
Sgt. Donald Wingate, Aviation Unit

My thanks to my old partner, Inspector Jim Capaldo, for putting this list together. Here’s hoping we see each other at happy times!


IN MEMORIAM: DET. HORACE FORD, Sh# 3187, Street Crime Unit

November 6, 1978 – Shot – off duty robbery

Thirty nine year old Detective Horace Ford died as a result of wounds he received when he challenged a gunman in the Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust Company branch office located on Kissena Blvd. in Flushing.

Detective Ford worked part-time in the bank as a teller and was behind the counter when the robber lunged over the counter top brandishing a gun and announcing it was a stickup. Detective Ford drew his revolver and exchanged shots with the man. Hit twice, the detective was rushed to Booth Memorial Hospital where he expired despite doctors efforts to save his life.

The gunman died in the gutter alongside the bank where he fled after being hit by Detective Ford’s bullets. A 12 year veteran of the force, Detective Ford had twice received Commendations for outstanding bravery and he earned 24 other medals for his performance prior to his tragically ended career. He leaves his wife, Nancy and a daughter as well as parents, 2 brothers and 5 sisters. The detective’s body was returned to his birthplace in Fairmont, North Carolina for burial.


November 1, 1923 Ptl Ace Swinder, 33 Pct, Motorcycle accident
November 1, 1931 Ptl Howard Peterson, 66 Pct, LOD Accident
November 3, 1854 Ptl David Gurley, 1 Dist, Stabbed (Munic.PD of NY)
November 3, 1892 Det John Carey, CentOffSqd, Shot-Arrest
November 3, 1931 Sgt Thomas Madigan, 30 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
November 4, 1966 Ptl Anthony Campisi, 1Div, Stabbed-investigation
November 5, 1924 Ptl John Honahan, McyDist, Auto accident on patrol
November 5, 1928 Ptl Henry Behnstedt, TraffDiv, Auto accident on patrol
November 6, 1854 Ptl David Gourley, NFI
November 6, 1978 Det Horace Ford, SCU, Shot-off duty robbery
November 7, 1863 Ptl John Van Buren, 8Pct (17Pct), Beaten-Draft riots
November 7, 1864 Ptl Joseph Nulet, 29 Pct (10Pct), Shot-burglary invest.
November 7, 1937 Det Arthur DeMarrais, 88 Sqd, Injured-assaulted
November 8, 1930 Ptl Charles Weidig, 28 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
November 8, 1937 Ptl George Pierson, GCP Pct, motorcycle accident
November 8, 1955 Ptl John Albanesi, 60 Pct, LOD heart attack