Wednesday, August 04, 2010


AUGUST 4, 2001

Jack Maple lost his battle with colon cancer on August 4, 2001.

The architect of the crime strategy that is best characterized by its forum – COMPSTAT – Jack died at 48 years young. Truly a tragic loss of a crime fighter.

Remembering Jack Maple- New York Magazine article

Jack Stat – New York Magazine article

1999 Article in Government Technology on the COMPSTAT process

Friday, May 07, 2010



MEANS: What was the weapon used in the incident. “The perp was armed with a 9mm handgun”.

METHOD: How was the victim killed? “The victim was shot one time in the head causing his death”.

MOTIVE: What has the investigation led us to conclude regarding the reason the incident occurred? This may evolve as the investigation progresses – the motive may at first appear to be drug related, but the investigation that evolves may determine that the motive was a dispute over a female. Motive may change as the investigation is conducted.

MOVEMENT: What do we know about our victims actions prior to the incident? Can we track where he was, where he was going, who was he seeing? Do we have corroborative evidence of these movements – eg video, telephone records, etc?

During your initial stages of the investigation, keep the 4-M’s in mind. Answer the questions, and allow it to aid your investigation.

Especially as it pertains to MOTIVE and MOVEMENT.

It is the MOVEMENT of the victim that needs to be carefully reviewed. Very often, if you can retrace the victims movements for the prior 24 hours of the incident, you will have a better understanding of what happened – and why it happened – and, ultimately, who is responsible for what happened.

The MOTIVE can often become apparent as you review the MOVEMENT of the victim.

Regarding the Motive – don’t be afraid to change your idea of motive as the case progresses.

Often, what appears to be the initial motive of the incident may change as the investigation progresses. It is important that you let the investigation lead you to your conclusion, and that you do NOT let your conclusion lead your investigation.


There is no better recounting of the history of this Police Department than the stories that can be found in Spring 3100 – “The Magazine for Policemen”.

The October 1961 issue of Spring 311 provided some very interesting information.

It was noted in the October 1961 edition that within the past two months “two additional job benefits have accrued to the police officer”.

The first concerned sick leave. It stated that starting October 1961, the MOS would NOT have to take “a salary reduction for the first three days of sick leave”. Apparently, prior to that time, you did NOT have full-pay for your first 3 sick days!

In regards to OVERTIME, I think many will find this interesting item.

Within the recent months of October 1961, job benefits accrued that now provided “overtime pay for hours in excess of the forty hour week”. YES – prior to that, there was NO Overtime pay. You made a collar, you went to court and sat there for the weekend waiting for arraignments – you received NO OVERTIME!

It was also noted that the annual salary of a first grade patrolman had broken the $7,000 per year mark!

The sick pay practice was outlined in greater detail, as follows. Prior to September 1, 1960, the procedure was to deduct half-pay for the first three days of sick report.

With the 1961 year showing a significant reduction in time lost due to sick report by members of the department, and recognizing the hardship on the family of a member on sick report, the department was going to discontinue this practice of deducting half-pay “on an experimental basis”.

And it was effective September 5, 1961 that the forty-hour week for members of the force was established by Mayor Wagner and the Board of Estimate.

This change was reflected in the members receiving the same pay for the 40-hour week that they had been receiving for the schedules they had been working previously, which were for a 42-hour week.


In September 1961 there were 451 graduates from the Police Academy.

Among the graduates, and the Chief Inspector’s Trophy Winner for the 3rd highest general average of the graduating class was DAVID SCOTT.

Scott would advance in his career to the level of Chief of Department, the highest uniform rank, and be appointed First Deputy Commissioner before his retirement from the Department.


A study conducted by Dr. A. Abrahamsen, and published in 1960 as the PSYCHOLOGY OF CRIME”, made a valuable finding.

The doctor developed a “law of criminal behavior” – and like most academic laws, there was a formula:

Crime (C) is a function of criminal tendencies (T), plus
The total Situation (S), divided by
The persons Resistance (R)

The doctor’s formula looked something like this:

C = T + S

Now, I read this and tried to figure out how this could help us today. I was wondering how this might be used at a COMPSTAT meeting, and who would be the person to bring this formula up?

I think the following quote by Dr. Abrahamsen pretty much sums up the usefulness of his formula.

After discussing Murder Inc., and pointing out that these professional murderers brutally killed at least 63 men in the New York area alone, Dr. Abrahemsen scientifically concluded: “Very likely most or all were at least antisocial”. Well, Thank You Dr Abrahemsen for coming to that conclusion!

I just wonder if the good Doctore spent a lot of time working out his formula in order to make the conclusion about the murderers! Antisocial – you think maybe??


The Want Ads in Spring 3100 serve as a good measure of the prevailing times.

The October 1961 want ads mentioned several items that, with the benefit of hindsight, would have provided some pretty good opportunities.

A duplex of 2 apartments in Miami Beach were being offered for sale at $13,500.

You could have picked up a house in Valley Stream for $17,500, or in Copiague for $4,000.

Need a car? A pretty new 1959 Impala was being offered for $1,695. Maybe you could have used the 12 year old 1949 Studebaker sedan, for $100.


A recent article in the Financial Times (March 9, 2010 by Stefan Stern) reviewed the advancements being made in the area of data management, and how it applies to the current corporation and corporate executive.

But what does that have to do with detective work?

There was something that Stefan Stern wrote concerning a business manager and their use of analytics that I found applicable to the investigator, and pretty much goes back to the detective creed “GOYAKOD”.

We are all aware of the advancements made in the past years as it concerns databases utilized by the investigator. Both databases we have direct access to, and the trove of information available from the Real Time Crime Center – all intended to provide the investigator with the information he / she needs at the precise moment they need it.

But this is what Mr. Stern added. “Even academic experts agree that, however sophisticated your approach to data, you still need judgment to make good decisions”.

That statement pretty much sums up a lot of what I present during the Criminal Investigation Course. The human element of the investigator – how important this is.

Databases can provide you with lots of paper, but it is the human element that must look it over and make decisions. A quote that I often use is “A Detective sometimes doesn’t know what he is looking for until he sees it”. That’s why the importance of the detective working the investigation looking over the printouts that are provided is so important.

You cannot expect a person at the other end of the telephone, that accesses a database for you and prints out pages of results, to be able to look over these same results that way you can.

What else, according to the Financial Times, is advocated for today’s business manager?

“Today it is almost too easy to accumulate data. Get away from your desk, and go and see for yourself”.

Isn’t this what we advocate to detectives?

This is the reason why detectives respond to the scene, for the first hand observation.

Which leads us to GOYAKOD.

The creed of the detective, that reminds the investigator that sometimes what you need to do is “GET OFF YOUR ASS AND KNOCK ON DOORS”.

Talking to people in the street, asking questions and finding out what’s going on. Field investigative work – this is what solves cases.

The Financial Times says that sometimes managers need to “wear rubber soles” – so they can get around, visit and observe. Just like detectives, right?

After all, the affectionate term for detectives – Gumshoe – derived from the rubber soles a detective would wear as they made their way around, surreptitiously and effectively!



May 8, 2000 PO David Regan, 62 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
May 9, 1939 Ptl William Holstein, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
May 10, 1922 Ptl Henry Pohndorf, 38 Pct, Shot- robbery arrest
May 10, 1979 PO Robert Soldo, 108 Pct, Shot- off duty incident
May 11, 1959 Ptl Harry Hafner, Hwy3, Motorcycle accident
May 12, 1925 Ptl Charles Godfrey, 16 Pct, Shot- arrest
May 12, 1932 Sgt Theodore Werdann, 87 Pct, Injured on patrol
May 12, 1944 Ptl Joseph Curtis, Mtd, Line of duty injury
May 12, 1951 Ptl Harold Randolph, 75 Pct, shot- off duty incident
May 13, 1913 Ptl Charles Teare, 12 Pct, Shot- arrest
May 15, 1934 Ptl John Morrissey, Telegrph Bur, Injured- assaulted
May 16, 1864 Ptl George Duryea, 19 Pct, Arrest-robbery
May 16, 1947 Ptl Frank Golden, 108 Pct, Shot- accidental discharge
May 17, 1927 Det Morris Borkin, DetDiv, Shot- burglary arrest
May 17, 1930 Ptl William Duncan, 18 Pct, Shot- GLA arrest
May 18, 1922 Ptl Douglas Hay, 49 Pct, Assaulted
May 18, 1962 Det Luke Fallon & Det John Finnegan, 70 Sqd – Shot-robbery
May 19, 1931 Ptl William O’Connor, Mtd, Shot
May 19, 1997 PO Anthony Sanchez, 13 Pct, Shot- robbery
May 20, 1920 Ptl John Fitzpatrick, DetDiv, Shot-GLA arrest
May 21, 1968 Det Richard Rolanz, 103 Pct, Line of duty heart attack
May 21, 1971 Ptl Joseph Piagentini & Ptl Waverly Jones, 32 Pct – Assasinated
May 21, 1996 PO Vincent Guidice, 50 Pct, Arrest- Cut by glass, assaulted
May 23, 1919 Ptl Emil Carbonell, Mcy, Auto accident on patrol
May 23, 1927 Ptl Walter Wahl, 7 Pct, Fire rescue
May 23, 1939 Ptl Nicholas Moreno, 87 Pct, Shot- investigation
May 25, 1970 PO Miguiel Sirvent, 71 Pct, Shot- robbery
May 26, 1924 Det Bernardino Grottano, DetDiv, Shot- burglary in progress
May 26, 1947 Ptl Phillip Fitzpatrick, Mtd, Shot- robbery
May 26, 1998 PO Anthony Mosomillo, 67 Pct, Shot- arrest, warrant
May 28, 1948 Ptl Charles Meyer, Hwy3, LOD injury
May 28, 1966 Ptl John Bannon, 110 Pct, Shot- off duty incident
May 28, 1970 Ptl Lawrence Stefane, 9 Pct, Stabbed by EDP
May 28, 2000 PO David Regan, 62 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
May 29, 1963 Ptl George Crane, 23 Pct, Shot- burglary in progress
May 29, 1978 PO James Washington, HPD, Struck by elevator in rescue
May 30, 1916 Ptl Henry Schwartz, 15 Pct, Shot- investigation
May 31, 1938 Ptl Melvin Williams, Mcy Unit, Motorcycle accident on patrol

Friday, March 05, 2010



One of the most important pieces of advice that any senior investigator can offer another investigator is simple direction: GO BACK!!

Go back over the months. Go back over the years. You will never know when a witness will turn around or a perpetrator will “Give it up”. Over time the perpetrator may have confided his story of the deed and then later have a falling out with that person. The motives of revenge, jealousy, greed and hate often cause the confidant to inform on the perpetrator and become a witness. There are times when a perpetrator suffers from remorse, or has pent up feelings of guilt – and is just waiting for the police to come knock on his door.

“We’re ‘gonna eat this one”

A professional investigator will never accept the above statement as it surrenders to the felon, and from that point on the investigation goes downhill.

The professional accepts the challenge and does his/her best to bring the case to a successful conclusion. Many cases will at first appear to be obvious and easy and, as the case develops, original opinions and hopes for an easy solution become frustrated and thwarted by a lack of evidence or corroboration.

At the same time, cases that appear to offer no means of solution may turn out to be one of the easiest cases in the squad’s caseload.

I recall a homicide several years ago where a decomposed body was found buried under the basement of a newly purchases building by the new owner. Deciding to refurbish the basement, he began digging – and came across the skeleton.

“You’re gonna have to eat this one” was a common theme of the thoughts the catching detective heard from around the squad room. It didn’t help that this was his first homicide case, either.

Going back to basics, the detective followed the trail backwards. “Who did you buy the house from”; then from the previous owner, “Who lived in the basement”. By the second day it was learned the basement had been rented to a parolee and his friend. The parolee suddenly disappeared, and had been listed as a parole absconder – and never found. A few more phone calls and some knocking on doors, and the detective found the prior roommate of the missing parolee. “I figured you be here one day” is how the detective was met at the door. Statement of admission, written and on video – before we even had the body positively identified! Not bad for the first homicide he caught.

Arrests were made – within 3 days – and no one had to “eat the case”.


There are very few positives and/or negatives in life.

The investigator deals with the human element, and should be prepared to accept anything!

Rational, irrational, logical and illogical – behavior that will often puzzle and confuse.

Many times you will ask yourself, and someone else will ask you, “why did he do that?”, or “why would someone act like that?”

You may never be able to figure out the answer, as people’s actions may be dependent on irrational and illogical thinking and decisions.

“Why would he point an imitation pistol at a police officer?” Trying to determine a logical response to an illogical and unreasonable person’s thought process may be impossible. There are thousands of instances of irrational acts performed by human beings – who really knows why?

Why would two brothers keep a mummified corpse of their mother for years in their apartment, and then finally decide to bury her? And then why would they pass several vacant lots and try to bury the body next to an occupied apartment building?

Why do killers return to the scene of the crime? Why?


One of the worst statements for me to hear upon arrival at a crime scene is the phrase: “This one’s a ground ball, boss.”

That’s pretty much the same as using the “Q” word while sitting around the squad room (“It sure is QUIET around here tonight”). Do you believe in jinxes?

Every case demands a thorough investigation to insure a conviction. Detectives know that their job doesn’t stop once probable cause is established and an arrest is made – making sure that the case will stand up at trial should be the goal of the professional investigator. Putting the time and effort into the investigation to corroborate witnesses statements, and to refute a perpetrators alibi, are all important investigative tasks that need to be performed on every case – even on the seemingly “ground ball” case.


Be careful and concise in your actions.

You’ve responded to the scene of the crime, after the crime has been committed.

Your job, as a professional investigator, is a thinking job; rushing and charging into things can cause you to overlook the obvious and miss the hidden. You can destroy a good investigation by not getting the required documents needed for corroboration, or by trying to bypass a warrant that will cause you to lose your evidence.

Few cases are wrapped up in a day, and generally good investigations may take weeks – and sometimes months – to be put together. It would be a shame to lose the case because you tried to cut corners and missed that important piece of evidence.

Not every case can be solved within a 28 day period. It is the perseverance of the good detective, persistence and attention, that help move an investigation to its conclusion. Trying to rush things doesn’t work.

Time is on your side.

Just because a case isn’t solved in the first 72 hours doesn’t mean you won’t have any success.

One of the principles of homicide investigation is that you follow 2 sets of numbers:
24 & 72

24 meaning you want to go back over your victims actions for the 24 hours prior to his/her death. Very often this will provide insight into why the victim was killed, which often will lead to who did it.

The 72 refers to the first 72 hours of the investigation. This is the time that the foundation of a good investigation is laid – the first 72 hours. You may not have the case wrapped up in 72 hours, but the efforts and work you put in during the first 72 hours should provide you with an insight into what happened, and several theories about why and who. You can’t make up for these early hours right after an investigation begins – capitalize on the crime scene forensic evidence, and on interviews of interested parties while the event is still fresh in their mind – and while it still means something to them.

The other way that time is on your side is with the addition of the human element.

Often, your perpetrator will tell someone about what happened. This provides a pool of potential witnesses – you just need to find the right one.

If the crime isn’t solved quickly, time becomes a friend and may eventually bring the killer to justice. But you have to work at it!


You will often hear that a case was broken because someone “got lucky”.

In most cases where “Luck” is attributed to solving the case, the investigator made his/her own luck. They got off the chair and into the field and knocked on doors. They handed out flyers, the canvasses and re-canvassed. Finally something happens that pays off. “Luck” solved the case? Or the hard work they put in over weeks of “no results” paid off finally.


You create your own luck by getting into the street and asking questions.

You knock on peoples doors and you ask them questions.

You don’t wait for the phone to ring – witnesses won’t be tracking you down, you have to track them down.

Get Off You’re A** and Knock On Doors” – GOYAKOD

There comes a time when all the research and background has been done – get out into the street and do what detectives do. Talk to people. Ask questions. And follow up on leads.

Forensics doesn’t solve homicides – detectives do. Forensics provide the corroboration, the support, and often the valuable lead – which the detective needs to act on to build a case. Without the work of the detective, the case does not get “solved”.

Create your own “luck” – a recipe for success as a Detective.


Having said all that regarding the professional detective investigator - is there anyone there who has ever seen an episode of BARNEY MILLER that doesn't think that show is one of the most realistic detective shows ever to air on televsion??

Think about - every squad room has the same cast of characters that occupied Barney's squad room. A classic show if there ever was one!

More on Barney Miller's cast of characters to come.


Being released this weekend is a new movie, "BROOKLYN'S FINEST".

Is it really?

Another movie depicting corrupt cops and disgruntled police in operation. It seems to have received some mixed reviews, as the Daily News gave it 3-Stars, while the NY Post pretty much canned it.
The NY Post described the movie as "tale of demoralized cops who turn a blind eye to crime, grab every chance to rip off drug dealers, and befriend the gangs who are ostensibly running the neighborhoods".
Retired Det First Grade Louis Savarese, retired from Brooklyn North Homicide Squad, is quoted in the NY Post article about the movie.

"I just wish once they would do a story about a guy who comes in and does an honest day's work, but that would never sell," fumed retired homicide detective Louis Savarese, who spent 33 years in the Brooklyn neighborhoods featured in the film.

You can read the entire NY Post article on this link:

Starring Richard Gere and Ethan Hawke, they certainly added some pretty well known names to the cast.

What you probably didn't know, though, was they also had a contingent of people from the streets of Brownsville - they filmed a lot of their scenes in Brownsville, and put some local talent to work.

All well and good, except one of their talent pool was none other than the person we arrested for a Homicide last year.

A convicted murderer and overall crook received several thousand dollars for his work as an "extra", and for providing the "technical advice" on what people would do if a drive-by shooter approached. (He told them they wouldn't run away; someone would be running after the car shooting back. They apparently took his advice, and reshot the scene).

In real life this "advisor" shoots and kills one person in the middle of the afternoon in what was termed the "Cake To Die For" homicide (the victim stopped at a local bakery for a piece of cake, where the perp found him and ran up on him shooting) - while firing shots into a salon as the victim ran, striki ng an off-duty MOS in the foot, and a second Non-Fatal Victim multiple times.

Makes you want to see the picture even more?

I thought it was interesting that the cast and staff of the film had a "New York Opening" of this film - "Brooklyn's Finest" - recently.

Where was the party held?

You guessed it - MANHATTAN!


March 1, 1945 PO Albert Black, Traffic F, Fire rescue
March 1, 1970 PO Joseph Mariconda, Aviation and
PO Patrick Harrington, Aviation
Helicopter Accident
March 2, 1924 PO Thomas Gaffney, 26 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
March 3, 1989 PO Robert Machate, BSTF, Shot-car stop
March 4, 1927 PO Henry Farrell, 3A Pct, Fire rescue
March 5, 1973 PO Irving Wright, 20 Pct, Shot-arrest
March 5, 1975 PO Robert Rogerson, Div.Licenses, Auto accident
March 9, 1948 PO Julius Mirell, 34 Pct, Shot-burglary
March 9, 1974 PO Timothy Hurley, 103 Pct, Shot-robbery
March 10, 1917 Ptl Deforest Fredenburg & Ptl John Lober, No information available
March 10, 1994 PO Sean McDonald, 44 Pct, Shot-Robbery
March 10, 2003 Det Rodney Andrews, OCCB Firearms, Shot-UC gun buy
March 10, 2003 Det James Nemorin, OCCB-Firearms, Shot-UC gun buy
March 11, 1930 Ptl Joseph Scott, 32 Pct, auto accident on patrol
March 11, 1947 Ptl Winthrop Paris, 30 Pct, Shot-Investigation, off duty
March 11, 1959 Ptl Robert Forrest, 24 Pct, Off duty LOD heart attack
March 11, 1987 Det Louis Miller, FTU10, Shot-Burglary in progress
March 12, 1909 Lt Joseph Petrosino, Det Div; Shot – Investigation in Italy
March 12, 1931 Ptl James Flanagan, 25 Pct, Shot- off duty investigation
March 14, 1872 Det Phillip Lambreck, 19 Pct, Assaulted
March 14, 1967 Det John Pollins, Narc, Arrest- narcotics buy/bust
March 14, 1996 PO Kevin Gillespie, SCU, Shot – investigation

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

Giuseppe di Lampedusa: The Leopard


The retired NYPD Lieutenant that thousands of cops know, yet never knew, recently passed away. Huh?

Jesse Oldshein was the inspiration for the paper target that thousands of New York cops shot at for years. How many of us ever knew his name?

Jesse Oldshein retired as a Lieutenant, and has been living in Florida. He died recently, at the age of 92.

It was less than 2 years ago that he was unmasked as “The Thug” – the male holding a gun in a shooting pose that we shot at as a target at Firearms training for years.

This target was replaced in 2008, with a faceless Mr Clean look-alike, it was revealed that Jesse Oldshein was the model for the target.

When he showed up for firearms training one day in the early 1960’s, Oldshein was asked to pose for a picture. “Pose in a boxing stance”, he said he was told. “Next thing I know, my face is on a target.”

Jesse Oldshein served as a Lieutenant in the 79 Precinct before he retired. It was here that “The Ministers-Father” worked with Oldshein. Freddie remembers him fondly as a great cop and a “great Lieutenant – he really knew his stuff”.

Not only was he the face that everyone knew, even if we didn’t know him, but he was truly a “cops cop”.

In a thank-you letter sent Jesse OIdshein from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, he summed it up best when he wrote “Yours is the face that launched a thousand careers.”

We say “Farewell- and God Bless” to this NYPD legend.


Parking in NYC is no easy task. Heck, even the police cars get towed.

But if you think it’s tough here, I found a few articles recently about parking issues in Europe that makes New York sound like a parkers dream.

Parking fines based on the owners income?

European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore the tickets.

A millionaire Ferrari driver min Swtzerland recently received a $290,000. speeding ticket, that was described as being fair and well-deserved by Swiss courts.

Germany, France and Austria, as well as the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on the person’s wealth.

The record for a speeding fine in Finland is $190,000 which was handed out in 2004.

A spokesperson for the Swiss courts indicated that rich drivers were routinely lightly punished until voters approved a 2004 penal law overhaul that let judges hand down fines based on personal income and wealth. This includes fines for traffic offenses and minor misdemeanors.

Wonder how long before this gets a good look here in the States? That banker’s bonus may just get paid back in the form of a speeding ticket!


In April 1964 the City Council passed a bill that formally established the Detective Division in the Police Department.

This measure now allowed the Police Commissioner statutory authority to designate Lieutenant’s as Commander of Detective Squad (CDS) and Sergeants as Supervisor of Detective Squad (SDS). It also allowed the formal establishment of both 2nd and 3rd Grade Detectives – prior to this statute, the only recognized rank as a Detective was Detective First Grade.

That doesn’t mean they weren’t using the titles before this, only that the city charter did not formally establish this until 1964.


A way to keep track of arrests made in a squad was by the use of the UF5 – Arrest Disposition Card.

Whenever a detective made an arrest, or was assigned to take fingerprints for an arrest made by a patrol officer, the UF5 was prepared and filed in the detective squad.

Up until the early 70’s, arrests requiring fingerprints were printed only by detectives. The fingerprints were only taken by the detectives; the measure was designed to ensure that prints were properly taken (when you do enough fingerprints, you can’t help but get at it – as most of us have learned!), but also provided the detectives the opportunity to see all those arrests within the precinct. This provided opportunity for future sources of information to be developed – standing and holding someone’s hand for the time it takes to roll several fingerprint cards is certainly a good opportunity to strike up a conversation – and most good detectives utilized this to their advantage.

The disposition of the arrest was noted on the card as well, as a way of keeping track of the “bad guys” in the neighborhood. Prior to computerization, the hand records kept in the squad were the lifeblood of a good investigation.

This provided a reference source when it was necessary to “round up the usual suspects.”


A 1948 edition of Spring 3100 has a cartoon that you may find amusing.

Man standing in front of the Desk Officer: “I want to speak to the burglar who was arrested for breaking into our house last night.”

Desk Lt: “Why?”

Man: “because I want to ask him how he got in without waking up my wife.”


Not only does Germany have the expensive speeding ticket to hang in front of the wealthy, they also have the burning car threat.

It seems that in parts of Berlin there is an anti-capitalist movement underway that targets expensive automobiles.

To scare the wealthy away from gentrifying neighborhoods, expensive cars are singled out and are lit on fire. These attacks have become so common that some Berliners use it as a way of gauging whether an area is up-and-coming.

Mercedes cars are the most popular, with a barbecue set slid underneath the car and lit on fire as the common way of starting the fire. Over 200 such fires have been reported in the past 6 months.

The areas of the city that have historically been inhabited by the less wealthy, but recently inhabited by the wealthy as they buy up and build – and force out those who have been living there – have seen the most incidents.

Authorities have noted that while some arson attacks may be random acts of vandalism, the location of many burnt cars – which are in areas of intense gentrification – suggest clear political intent.

So the wealthy of Europe not only have drive safely, but they better also watch where they park – and what cars they drive.


A recent article in the Financial Times notes how the current economic crisis has proven to be a boost to the bottom line of the Italian Mafia.

Because organized crime is cash based its balance sheet has flourished. As legitimate credit is pulled back, the Mafia is able to increase its usury rates allowing it to charge up to 10 percent a day because of reduced lending by banks.

The protection money – pizzo – extorted from an estimated 160,000 businesses has remained unchanged even during the economic crisis. This despite the increasing number of arrests effected by the Italian police agencies and high number of seizures of people and assets. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi describes the crackdown on organized crime in Italy as being the “toughest since Mussolini”.

Despite the crackdown, a leading fighter of organized crime notes that “Mafia Inc is a great entrepreneurial and financial group, with numerous tentacles”. Having these tentacles into narcotics – its largest income group – as well as construction and waste disposal, organized crime among the five main Mafia organizations is estimated at equaling 7 percent of Italy’s GDP.

To break the pull on organized crime you truly have to follow the money, in order to break the flow of the money.


While this is NOT intended as to replace or substitute for any actual NYPD Procedures in place regarding the “Handling of Physical Evidence”, the following basic guidelines regarding DNA evidence is presented as a background for the professional investigator.

Because extremely small samples of DNA can be used as evidence, greater attention to contamination issues is necessary when identifying, collecting, and preserving DNA evidence. DNA evidence can be contaminated when DNA from another source gets mixed with DNA relevant to the case. This can happen when someone sneezes or coughs over the evidence or touches his/her mouth, nose, or other part of the face and then touches the area that may contain the DNA to be tested.

To avoid contamination of evidence that may contain DNA, always take the following precautions:

Wear gloves. Change them often.

Use disposable instruments or clean them thoroughly before and after handling each sample.

Avoid touching the area where you believe DNA may exist.

Avoid talking, sneezing, and coughing over evidence.

Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth when collecting and packaging evidence.

Air-dry evidence thoroughly before packaging.

Put evidence into new paper bags or envelopes, not into plastic bags. Do not use staples.


What are you reading?

An obvious inquiry to an avid reader, often resulting in long conversation. Ask a reader this question and you never know what door you may open.

Let’s take a look at what’s on The Minister’s shelf.


I have recently acquired a copy of this new book, POLICING CONTROVERSY, by Ian Blair.

This book recounts the thirty-four year policing career of the man who served as the Commissioner of Police for London’s Metropolitan Police. He began his police career in 1974 with the Metropolitan police, serving in uniform and detective positions culminating in his rise to the highest position in British policing in 2005. He served as Commissioner until 2008 when he was forced to resign.

Ian Blair, properly named SIR Ian Blair – he was knighted in 2003 – holds no punches as he describes the trials and tribulations of leading the largest police force in England. I find it interesting to note that, despite the obvious differences between the police force in London compared with that in New York, how similar they are.

Keeping in mind that London has been battling a counter-terrorism mission for a longer period of time than we have here in New York, it’s of interest to the police professional to hear the inside scoop on some of these issues. Not often shared by other authors from similar backgrounds, Sir Ian Blair holds no punches in describing the political issues he faced while leading the department.

It’s obvious that he was not a very popular police leader, and he never professes to be otherwise. He introduced into a police force whose members – with the exception of some specialized teams – do not carry firearms, a corps of non-police officer individuals to assist the uniform force with their daily duties. His introduction of these “civilian” uniform positions, Police Community Support Officers, who work side by side with the uniform Police Constables, was and remain a point of controversy – especially with the uniform police officers.

Don’t these Support Officers take away positions from the other Police Officers? While they do not have all the “powers” of the police officers (constables, as they are known), they have visible duties in close contact with the public throughout the London area that the MPS polices.

He discusses at length the controversy over the police shooting of a person mistaken to be a terrorist bomber after the London Subway bombings, recounting many of the frustrations encountered by police whenever time allows a second-guessing of a moments life or death decision.

It was his differences with the Mayor of the City of London, who served as the President of the Metropolitan Police Authority – the overseers of the MPS – that eventually led to his resignation from his position.

As any fan of true crime will appreciate, and as we often say ourselves, no matter the different geography, there are more in common with the police agencies throughout the world than different. Reading what Sir Ian Blair has to say about his 34 year career and his struggles leading the MPS is no different.

I’d love to hear from my policing friends in the UK what they have to say about this former Commissioner.

“Policing Controversy” is my newest addition to my True Crime Library.


No, The Minister does not only read boring true-crime “buff” books, but you already know that.

I am at the point where I’m trying to decide what to dive into next.

I have a copy of Thomas Pynchon’s latest book, INHERENT VICE, sitting on my nightstand.

It’s right on top of WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel, the novel of Thomas Cromwell and 16th Century England. It has characters like King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey, winner of the Man Booker Prize as Best Book for 2009.

You have King Henry VIII, who is entranced by the Boleyn sisters and wants a divorce. Apparently in the 16th Century, if you were the King of England you had to get a divorce in order to sneak around with other women. We all know how good that went, with the Church saying No-Way, and Henry saying Fine, I’ll just start my own Church then.

Along the way you have Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey and all the problems that faced knights living in that time. (Surely very different from knighted Sir Ian Blair!)

Winner of the Man Booker Prize is no easy prize, so there must be something here.

INHERENT VICE is a novel that brings you back to the 1960’s in the form of a bohemian-type private detective who makes very little money and spends his free time enjoying the high quality marijuana that California has to offer him. Sounding an awful lot like Magnum P.I. – but in hipster California instead of Hawaii, with a pot smoking lead character in place of, well, Tom Selleck. Can this story work?

Lots of people believe it has, as it has been critically acclaimed by reviewers everywhere. Are the reviewers acclaiming it for its story, or because of its well known author?

It’s been compared to Raymond Chandler’s private eye character, Philip Marlowe, but in a California surfer dude.

It’s a slightly spoofy take on hardboiled crime fiction, a story in which the characters smoke dope and watch “Gilligan’s Island” instead of sitting around a night club knocking back J&Bs. It’s “The Maltese Falcon” starring Cheech and Chong, “The Big Sleep” as told by the hippy-dippy weatherman. Whether you think it’s funny depends a little on whether you think Cheech and Chong and the hippy-dippy weatherman are funny for more than about two minutes. It’s funnier than Chandler, anyway.

But can it compare to the hard boiled detective fiction, the crime noir that it embodies?

I started reading INHERENT VICE on a short plane ride. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

I think I’ll be looking into what Tomas Cromwell may have to say. I’ll let you know.


Just about everyone who has gone through high school will have read, or at least supposed to have read, A CATCHER IN THE RYE. You probably have a copy of it somewhere – or at least the Cliff Notes for it.

With the recent death of its author, J D Salinger, this book has received a lot of attention the past weekend. The death of this 91 year old kook, who chose to remove himself from all human contact, will certainly reignite discussion of his tome.

Written in 1951, The Cathcer In The Rye is a story of a disenchanted youth, Holden Caufield, who has been described as the “prototypical angry young man”.

While Salinger was certainly a recluse, he was no hermit.

In 1953 he retreated from New York to a country cabin away from everyone so that he could “avoid any goddamn stupid conversation with anybody.” Sounds like he would be real fun at parties.

He married that same year. I wonder how that conversation went.

At 36 years old, he married a 19 year old from Radcliffe College. They apparently conversed enough to produce 2 children. The marriage lasted nine years before they divorced. She probably wanted to talk – he said “Good-bye”.

He managed to get married again in 1972, at 53 years old, to an 18 year old freshman from Yale. Wonder how she did in her English studies at Yale. That marriage lasted about 1 year.

Then again in the 1990’s, at around 70+ years, he again married a much younger woman. He remained married to his death. It’s not clear, but I imagine she never really had too much to say!

I have my copy of CATCHER IN THE RYE on by bookshelf – I’ll see how the tale of the knights of old goes. Maybe I’ll revisit Holden Caufield, but just for fun.

Or maybe I’ll get a copy of THE ROAD and read it before the movie reaches high acclaim!

February 1, 1935 Sgt George Nadler, ESU, Explosion-investigation
February 2, 1975 PO Frank Bugdin, Midtown North, Shot-investigation
February 4, 1933 Sgt Eugene Monahan, 34 Pct, Shot: Robbery pursuit
February 6, 1864 Ptl John Hoffman, 25 Pct – Accident, runaway horse
February 6, 1864 Ptl Austin Easterbrook, NFI
February 6, 1914 Ptl Edward Murtha, 147 Pct, Shot-Robbery investigation
February 6, 1944 Ptl Eugene Mahoney, 5 Det Sq, Auto accident on patrol
February 9, 1963 Det Richard Arundell, DetDiv, LOD Heart attack
February 10, 1926 Ptl Frank White, 35 Pct, Shot-Burglary in progress
February 11, 1966 Ptl Stanley Butch, Harbor, Fell from boat
February 11, 1982 PO James Carragher, PSA1, Shot: Off duty robbery
February 12, 1930 Ptl George Miller, 22 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
February 12, 1936 Ptl James Young, Mounted, Shot-robbery
February 12, 1940 Ptl John Holt, 28 Pct, Off-duty burglary
February 12, 1980 PO Robert Bilodeau, SCU, Shot-investigation
February 13, 1918 Ptl Samuel Rosenfeld, 102 Pct, Shot-Robbery in progress
February 14, 1921 Ptl John Sheridan, 70 Pct, Line of duty incident
February 14, 1925 Det Chester Hagan, DetDiv, Shot-investigation
February 14, 1963 Ptl Vincent Zichetella, 14 Pct, Shot-robbery
February 14, 1984 PO Thomas Ruotolo, 41 Pct, Shot-Robbery
February 14, 1999 PO Matthew Dziergowski, 123 Pct, Auto accident
February 15, 1917 Ptl Samuel Cunningham, 42 Pct, Shot-GLA Arrest
February 15, 1932 Ptl James Goodwin, 34 Pct, Shot-off duty robbery
February 15, 1971 Det Joseph Piciano, 41 Sq, Shot by prisoner

Friday, January 01, 2010


Modern technology is making its way to the pathologist’s table – the autopsy room – and could see the advancement of television detectives brought to real life.

Pathologists conducting an autopsy sometimes have only one chance to look for clues when dissecting a body. Sometimes the determination of the cause of death could be delayed as toxicology tests are performed, and minute microscopic bone analysis takes place.

Research and development that is going on in Sweden is bringing gaming technology to the medical examiner. A “Virtual Autopsy” system has been developed, and is sure to lead the way in pathology reform.

The virtual autopsy is one of the greatest advances in forensic medicine in the past hundred years. With the aid of three-dimensional X-ray techniques, virtual and bloodless autopsies are now being performed on suspected victims of crime. CMIV (the Centre for Medical Image Science and Visualisation) at Linköping University Hospital, NVIS (Norrköpings Visualisation and Interaction Studio) and the National Board of Forensic Medicine in Linköping are world leaders in the field of virtual autopsies.

Under the virtual autopsy exam, the body needing to be examined is first scanned using a computed tomography (CT) machine. This process takes about 20 seconds and creates up to 25,000 images, each one a slice through the body.

Different tissues, bodily substances and foreign objects – such as bullets – absorb the scanner’s x-rays in varying amounts. The software recognizes these and, through the aid of computerized graphics technology, a 3-D visualization is created.

A pathologist is able to peel through layers of virtual skin and muscle with the click of a computer mouse to get a close up view of everything inside the body, without the need to actually cut into the body.

A recent article in THE ECONOMIST concerning the advancement of the “Virtual Autopsy” outlines many of these advancements.

This technology is combined with a virtual autopsy table that makes the entire process easier to perform. Standing around a large touch-sensitive table that is an LCD-screen, the image of the body is displayed. Up to six examiners can gather around the table and, with the swipe of a finger, remove layers of muscle, zoom in and out of organs and slice through tissue with a virtual knife!

In use already in Sweden, the technique has been used in over 350 death cases and has proven its worth already.

Unlike the physical autopsy it does not alter evidence, enabling examiners to revisit a cadaver for additional clues as they need to.

Apart from avoiding cutting in the body the medical experts, such as coroners, can see things that are difficult to discover in a conventional autopsy. Furthermore, the technique opens up for new opportunities in countries where autopsies are not accepted due to cultural reasons.

The commonly used term for this Virtual Autopsy is “Virtopsy”.

Virtual Autopsies create digital and permanent records of the body, making it easier for forensic pathologists to communicate with each other. Real samples are hard to transport and share between pathologists, while the digital image of the body can be shared electronically among forensic pathologists and can be stored for future study.

Forensic pathologists can conduct autopsies through the internet, freeing some hospitals from the need to retain or hire forensic pathologists of their own. This means that hospitals with CT and MRI units can take advantage of virtual autopsies even though they have no in-house forensic pathologists.

The legal system will also benefit from this new technology as the three dimensional images can easily be shown in courtrooms and spare people from having to look at the traditional autopsies' gruesome pictures of the victim's body. The images from a virtual autopsy can also be made interactive, helping the judge and jury understand some technical facts.

Although the equipment needed in performing virtual autopsies are very expensive, virtual autopsies will be a lot cheaper than conventional autopsies as the process involves fewer resources and is a lot easier to perform.

The University Medical Center's Institute of Diagnostic Radiology in Bern, Switzerland has already performed over a hundred virtual autopsies in the past three years. These virtual autopsies were followed by real autopsies and, so far, the results have matched.

In 1999 this technology was used to apprehend the murderer of a woman found floating in a river. Soon this technology can be used for some complex or time-consuming cases. For instance, it can be used to determine whether a baby has been shaken to death as it would be easier to study the blood ruptures behind the eyes. In cases of heart attack, it can detect damage to the heart muscles.

This technology can also be used to study blunt force trauma cases. A Virtual autopsy is also a good method in bioterrorism incidents as it lowers the risk of contaminating pathologists and other medical personnel.

A Virtual Autopsy leaves the body intact, so it would not add to the grief the victim's family is feeling.

This also overcomes the obstacles presented by religions that forbid cutting up cadavers.

For a video demonstration of the Virtual Autopsy, check out the following link:

This following link demonstrates the Virtual Autopsy Table:


I found the following advice on restoring dry cigars written by Thor Nielsen.

Every cigar smoker will at some time be faced with the problem of trying to restore dry cigars. Doing it properly will bring them back to life, and perhaps keep you from losing a sum of money invested in the stock. Doing it improperly will only speed up the trip to the garbage container.

One of the most important steps in restoring dry cigars is patience, and lots of it.

It’s always good to remember that if moisture can escape from a cigar, it can be
put back in it. If a cigar is dry it can be revived, but it may be difficult. There
are different methods to restoring dry cigars.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a slow process, and the cigars need to go through a couple of phases of thawing and/or a slow introduction back to humidity before it can be put into a functioning humidor or exposed to any sort of higher humidity

Some people store their cigars in the freezer. This is something that many
people do but is not advisable as it can easily damage a cigar. Freezing cigars
prevents aging, it will dry them out and the cigars will need to be returned to
normal temperature slowly before they can be smoked, (otherwise they could
split or crack). The cigars should have a solid two to three weeks at the proper
temperature in a humidified environment before lighting them up in order to
ensure the best possible smoking experience.

Restoring dry cigars can be done, but even with effort, in the end they may not be as good as they could have been if stored properly in a humidified environment from the beginning.

After taking a cigar from the freezer, put it in the refrigerator, that will allow it to thaw
at a slower rate, putting less risk on damaging the cigars. After the cigars have
been in the refrigerator long enough to thaw, take them out and put them in
Tupperware or plastic bag and let them come up to room temperature. After
that is achieved, you can add a damp towel or let them rest in a slightly dry
humidor for a few days so the cigars can start to absorb some of the humidity.

If using a humidor go back and fill the humidification system only part way,
letting the cigars rest for another week before fully charging the humidity
regulator. This method ensures a slow absorption of moisture, preventing the
cigars from getting too much humidity too soon, which can result in splitting or
cracking making the cigars un-smokeable.

If you don’t store your cigars in a freezer and they dried out at room
temperature, a great method is to place a box inside a plastic bag. Be sure the
bag is not completely closed because some airflow is actually desired. A
dampened sponge with water or 50/50 solution should be placed in the bag.

This process can take several weeks or a month. Rotate the cigars every few
days, bringing the ones on the bottom to the top, etc.

If this is done properly the result is usually successful and pleasurable. If a cigar box is not available, other containers like Tupperware may be used. Put the dry cigars in the
container and seal it for a couple days - this traps any moisture left in the cigars.
On the third day a damp sponge can be added, but don’t over-saturate the
sponge so the cigars become moist too quickly.

Keep the lid propped open in one corner so air can circulate.

When cigars lose moisture, they also lose much of their bouquet, and which
together results in a cigar not tasting as good as one that has been properly
humidified. The most important factor that needs to be reiterated, is this is a
slow process.

With patience the wait is usually always worth it.



Patrolman John Thompson of the Brooklyn Police Department was killed in the line of duty on December 18, 1877.
Patrolman Thompson was killed when he was thrown from his horse while attempting to stop a runaway horse pulling a grocery wagon on Hamilton Street. During the incident he was impaled by a piece of the grocery cart and succumbed to his injuries.
Patrolman Thompson was assigned to the Mounted Squad.


Roundsman (equivalent of today’s Sergeant) Phelan of the Brooklyn Police Department died of injuries he received six years earlier when he was struck on the head with a paving stone. Roundsman Phelan was struck in the head with a paving stone while assisting in a U.S. Government raid on a illegal whiskey still at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Plymouth Street.Roundsman Phelan had served with the Brooklyn Police Department for 19 years, and was assigned to the 2nd Precinct (present day 84th Precinct).Roundsman Phelan was survived by his wife.


January 2, 1932 Ptl John Kranz, Det Sqd, Shot
January 3, 1975 PO Michael McConnon, 13 Pct, Shot-robbery
January 3, 1978 PO Ronald Stapleton, 77 Pct, Shot, off duty incident
January 5, 1922 Det William Miller, 38 Sqd(32 Sq), Shot-arrest
January 5, 1922 Det Francis Buckley, Det Div, Shot-arrest
January 5, 1944 Ptl Patrick Malone, Traffic I, Auto accident on patrol
January 7, 1930 Ptl Paul Schafer, 19 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
January 7, 1933 Ptl Walter Murphy, 14 Div (13 Div), Shot-pursuit
January 7, 1934 Ptl Ernest McCarron, 68 Pct, Fire rescue
January 8, 1946 Ptl Benjamin Wallace, 32 Pct, Shot-Investigation
January 9, 1938 Ptl Anthony Tornatore, 52 Pct, Shot-investigation
January 9, 1973 Ptl Stephen Gilroy, ESS8, Shot-robbery / hostages
January 10, 1987 PO Francis LaSalla, ESS1, Fire rescue
January 10, 1998 PO Edward Ahrens, 28 Pct, Shot (5/5/75) narco invest



Health and happiness throughout the New Year.

Bring on 2010!!