Monday, December 19, 2011

75 Precinct
Rest In Peace

December 12, 2011
Killed in the line of duty-effecting arrests for Robbery
22 years of service to the City of New York

Please say a prayer for Peter and his family during this tragic time. While others are shopping and preparing for the coming holidays, his family buried a son, father, friend.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

“I like homicide detectives.  They wear hats.  They wear hats so that other law-enforcement people will know they’re homicide”

Elmore Leonard, well known crime fiction writer of such works as BE COOL, PAGAN BABIES, GET SHORTY, KILLSHOT, and many more.


This is a very basic formula for success as a detective. Take the time to read what you have written.

In today's world of case management and investigative documentation, known in the NYPD as "ECMS" - reading what you have written before finalizing a DD5 report is critical to a successful case.

Just for familiarity of those who are not familiar with the terms, ECMS refers to the Detective Bureau's Electronic Case Management System- the electronic record keeping of all DD5s and other case documents developed during an investigation. It is the "electronic" version of the hard-copy case folder the detective prepares for an investigation; the place where the DD5s are created and stored electronically.

It is extremely important that a detective takes the time to read whatever he or she has typed out into a DD5 to make sure what you want to say is what you have said.

Not only for simple errors of grammar or spelling, but to make sure the intended message is what others read.

Of course, we all understand the error of typing DID when you meant to type DIDN'T. For example, to memorialize "the witness did get a good look at the culprits face" has a totally changed meaning- and certain obstacle later at trial- if you meant to say the witness DID NOT GET A GOOD LOOK AT THE CULPRITS FACE.

Errors like that, or on messy grammar and sentence structure, never really seem like "such a big deal"- until you're on the witness stand and the defense attorney has the jury believing that your work is soooo sloppy -"just look at these reports" - that your work is certainly subject to casting a "reasonable doubt" as to it's proper conclusion.

Will you really feel comfortable knowing a shooter walked out of jail because you didn't take the time to read what you wrote?

Along these same lines, it's important that you read the reports that other detectives prepare for YOUR case.

Make sure that you thoroughly understand what they are reporting, and that the written version matches the actual factual version.

A common problem that arises in the reporting of area canvasses.

Detectives are sent to a scene to help in canvassing a large area or a big building. They come back to the squad after completing this task and report to you "we canvassed that building and no one saw anything".

However, if you take the time to read the DD5 that is prepared for this canvass you learn that there are 5 apartments where no one was home. Perhaps there is a witness from one of these apartments, which you will never know about, if you didn't read the report AND GO BACK to knock on those doors.

If you missed that fact, and your Sergeant who signed off on the report missed that fact, I can assure you of someone who won't miss it- the Defense Attorney, in his quest to show the jury your "sloppy work and investigation".

Simple theory that takes a little time to avoid a lot of problems- READ WHAT IS WRITTEN, and make sure it presents the right message.


I can recall an investigation that clearly illustrates a point on the importance of reading what others write in your case.

We all have been faced with the shooing/homicide in a location out in the open and no witnesses. Frustration we have all undergone.

In one such incident, which the investigation had gone on for almost a week with no witnesses to speak with despite the fact that we had discovered a probable suspect and background-motive for the incident, the DD5s were being reviewed for supervisor approval. A canvass of a building overlooking the courtyard where the shooting occurred was being signed off on- lots of No Info results from knocking on doors, but it was also noted that there were 3apartments on the 2nd floor overlooking the courtyard that were canvassed twice with "No Answer" reported.

Despite the looks given to the supervisor by the detective to "go back and try again" the detective went back. Of course, by now, you know the end result. A witness was developed from one of those apartments. It tuned out to be the only witness to a case that produced 2 arrests for Murder 2. (The effort it took convincing the DA to go with the 1 witness is the subject of a whole other theme, at another time!).

Pay attention to the details. Read what you wrote: is it what you want to say? And read what others wrote: is there anything else I need to do with this information?

We don't do it because some Chief wants us to-we do it because it's the right way to investigate the case!

NLEA: National Law Enforcement Associates

I very recently enjoyed a nice luncheon on the Chelsea Piers for the NLEA Holiday Celebration.

I have been fortunate to attend several of these, and thank Ret Capt. Frank Bolz-known by all as "HNT ONE"- for his hospitality. He and his good friend Mr Ben Barbosa of Global Entertainment Security acted as my host, and I thank them publicly.

Anyway, there were probably close to 1000 people in attendance. It's always good to see the retired members who one to this, and it gives you a great opportunity to catch up with others you haven't seen in a while. The cast of people you will rub shoulders with- and you will certainly be rubbing shoulders at the reception hour- are as varied and complex as you can imagine in a group of law enforcement professionals.

Active law enforcement and retired law enforcement, in all different capacities, rubbing shoulders and sharing an afternoon of good cheer. The collective stories in that room are infinite! 

I was sitting at my table and looked around the immediate tables, and to give you an example of the cast, I was slightly overwhelmed.

Here is the man who started the very first- Hostage Negotiation Team. He was also the first person to wear a baseball hat with a PD patch on it at a hostage scene, after his wife sewed one on the hat to help identify him at a scene. If only he/she could have patented that idea.

There's a man who now works for Channel 2 News. He recently worked for the federal government in a high-placed counterterrorist position; before that he had worked as the DCPI and was surely the only one in that room that actually sat with, and interviewed, Osama Bin Laden!

Here's a former Chief of Detectives, chatting with a former First Deputy Commissioner, both who retired after over 35 years of service.

I'm talking with a Retired First Grade Detective who spent over 11 years in the Bomb Squad- starting there in1956. Can you guess how sophisticated and the level of protection these bomb squad detectives had at that time??

To my immediate sides are members whose combined experience in the department, in detective investigations and major narcotics, at over 155 years!! And that's just within arms reach (and I'm short-my arms don't reach far!).

You can't help leave an event like that and feel good about what you do each and every day. Whenever I feel a little own I find there's nothing better to be with a group like that. You know what they all want to talk about? How much of a good time they had "on the job".

A great boost for the holiday season! Merry Christmas, for sure.

Global Entertainment Security
Intelligent Solutions for Entertainment Properties


National Law Enforcement Associates is a non-profit organization formed to conduct training and provide other educational opportunities while facilitating cooperation among its members in the law enforcement and private security communities.  

The goal is not only to facilitate the achievement of their common goals but also to further the preservation of the adherence to the Constitution of the United States.  

The organization will conduct regular meetings and seminars at which its members may hear and interact with expert speakers in various law enforcement and security fields while providing a forum to discuss challenges of
mutual interest.


If I may just take a moment, I would like to acknowledge- and thank- those people in the past few days that approached me and encouraged to start writing on this blog once again.  You helped get me kick-started, and feeling positive about the fact that there is a positive reaction to some of this that I write, overpowering the negative feeling that I had been hearing "You have to be careful what you write about the department".

Once again, as I know I have said this on this site in the past, I am very protective of our role as police officers in this city. I am dedicated in what I do, as most of us are, and this is no place for ranting or raving or negativity. It will not be coming from my typewriter (yes, you still remember that- a typewriter).  

Hoping all are enjoying their holiday season, and festivities along the way.
Be safe at all times!

If you would like to contact The Minister of Investigation- perhaps you have a story or anecdote you'd like to tell - you may contact me at:

Readers- please note the change in email address; although I still maintain the Yahoo address that appeared here on this site for many years, I do not check it all that often and would like to merge into this new Gmail address. Thank you again....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


One of the drawbacks of watching 96 hours of a James Bond movie marathon is a somewhat distorted outlook on reality.

As I have discovered first hand.

Channel surfing the other day for something to entertain me I discovered I had a cable channel known as Sleuth TV. What an amazing channel for a buff! They just happened to be showing a James Bond movie at the time. I felt like I hit the lottery.

A channel called Sleuth, and a Bond movie to boot. Well, that wasn't the all of it. It seems that Sleuth was about to start showing more than 96 hours of Bond movies! I was just the right candidate for this.

They were not just showing any Bond movies, but they had a pattern. A movie with each of the different Bonds!

Sean Connery, Robin Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig- all the Bond's were represented. They even included the two most people forget- George Lazenby in the 1969 "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and Timothy Dalton in the 1987 "The Living Daylights".

There was Dr No, with the unforgettable Ursula Andress coming out of the water in a bikini and a dagger- surely one of the top Bond girl candidates. There wax Halle Berry, my top choice for Bond Girl, playing the CIA counterpart to Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. Daniel Craig running around with Eva Green in Casino Royale, coupled with some really great 007 gadgets.

Did you know that in addition to providing the opening theme to "Die Another Day", Madonna also had a cameo appearance as a fencing instructor?

In "You Only Live Twice", Connery comes back to life- as an Asian! This movie has Bond fighting the evil forces of Ernst Blofeld, who later became the inspiration for Mike Meyers smash hits Austin Powers series. All while he squints the part of an asian male!

Let's just say I realized I overdosed on Bond after four days of 007 films.

The look I got from the Starbucks barista when I ordered my morning coffee "shaken, not stirred" was only matched by the look I got when I referred to Nancy, at the Boro, as "Miss Moneypenny". I found myself looking for a baccarat game- and I'm not even sure what baccarat is!

I called Marty, at Resource Allocation, "Q", and wondered why Bond gets these fancy Aston Martin cars with rockets and all sorts of unbelievable features and I can't even get a simple light package for my department four-cylinder Dodge?

Oh well, I have to go now. Sleuth is playing another Bond film.

Where's my Bond girl?


The 1875 Police Department of the City of New York had a somewhat different rank structure than todays department.

The Patrolman was appointed after a recommendation "by a number of reputable citizens".

Next in line was the Roundsmen. They were attached to each precinct, "to traverse the precinct from point to point, in order to see that the Patrolmen were discharging their duty faithfully".

Above them in grade were the Sergeants. There were four attached to each precinct, and were appointed by the Board of Police "at pleasure", after an examination was passed. The Sergeants "presided at the desk in the station house, and kept the "blotter", so-called, a book in which, with great minuteness of detail, all the transactions of Police life are entered".

Above the Sergeants rank are the Captains. "Those in command of the precincts were absolutely supreme".


I'd like to ask you all to say a prayer for me friend, Fermin "Sonny" Archer.

Sonny is a detective with the Fugitive Division's Regional Task Force, who is currently on life support at North Shore Hospital. Sonny suffered a series of strokes along with a torn aorta, and complications from all of these.

If you've ever had a bad guy tracked by the Regional TF, Sonny was surely involved.

Sonny would be the first to go through a door to catch a crook, even though he is larger than any door he went through.

A real cop's-cop, who practices actions over words, results and not just talk.

Please take a moment and say a prayer for Sonny. He needs it. It's the least we can do right now.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”)


So is the title of the 1885 book that chronicles the HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK POLICE: FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME. The present time, in this case, being 1885.

What a great historical text for any police buff to find!

Over 600 pages of New York police history, including photos and drawings. I could spend years documenting findings of interest in this book alone.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues in the Police Act of 1844.


The police of the city consisted at that time of three separate bodies. There was “the police proper, the Municipal Police, and The Watch”. Those appointed to each agency received their appointments from different sources. Realizing that this was a complicated and inefficient system, the Board of Aldermen repealed the police ordinance on May 16, 1845, and adopted a new police act on May 23, 1845.

Under this new act, the Watch was abolished. The duties that were previously entrusted to the Watch were placed under the Police force as separate subdivisions. What were these duties that now came under the newly re-organized Police Department?

Street Inspectors, Health Wardens, Fire Wardens, Dock Masters, Lamp-lighters, Bell ringers, Inspectors of Pawnbrokers and Junk shops, were all duties that came under the Day and Night Police. The new force consisted of a group “not to exceed 800 men”, including Captains, Assistant Captains and Policemen.

The Chief of Police was appointed by the Mayor.

Each city Ward had the power to appoint a Captain, which came to the power of the Aldermen and Assistant Aldermen of these Wards. The appointments of the Policemen for each Ward also came under the prevue of the Aldermen, with a one year appointment for each position.

The Chief of Police received an annual salary of $1,500. A Captain was paid $700 a year, with Policemen paid $500.

Mayor Havemeyer appointed George W. Matsell his Chief of Police.

It is interesting that of the Policemen that were appointed, it is recognized that they were appointed in the following categories.

There were 9 Day Police Officers, 50 Sunday Officers, and another 16 Bell-ringers. 5 were appointed as Keepers of the Parks, and 1 was an Inspector of Pawnbrokers. An assorted other appointments under titles as Hack Inspectors, Inspector of Carts and Hydrant Inspectors rounded out some of the specific appointment’s to the Police department.

This force “wore no uniform, a star shaped badge, worn on the left breast of the outer coat being their only insignia of office”. Hence they came to be known as “The Star” Police.

All this would last approximately one year, when the new force hardly had the time to become familiar with the changes that had taken place, that the legislature passed another Act for the Establishment and regulation of the Police of the City of New York in May 1846.

“To the Police are committed the enforcement of law, maintenance of order, and the preservation of the public peace. The protection of life and the security of property largely depend on the zeal and fidelity with which they discharge their duties. It is essential, therefore, that they should possess discretion, integrity, activity, sobriety, fearlessness and decision. That these conditions are combined in our New York Police Protectors, few, if any, will be found so ill-informed as to deny”.


Ever wonder why there are green lights in front of a NYC Police stationhouse?

It is believed that the Rattle Watchmen, who patrolled New Amsterdam in the 1650's, carried lanterns at night with green glass sides in them as a means of identification.

When the Watchmen returned to the watch house after patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show people seeking the watchman that he was in the watch house.

Today, green lights are hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the "Watch" is present and vigilant.


An article found recently on the site makes mention of how social networking sites have been utilized to put crooks behind bars.

As a writer on the web site noted recently, alleged bank robbers are already tripping themselves up and being arrested after posting things such as "I'm rich, b*tch" and "WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDEREDS" on Facebook. But that is just "after-the-fact" stuff. What about the people in the news who actually incorporated Facebook into their alleged crimes?

Take 20-year-old mother London Eley, for example. Philadelphia police allege that Eley went on to Facebook and offered $1,000 to anyone who would be willing to kill her ex-boyfriend, the Daily Mail reported. "I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father," she allegedly wrote. The word 'stack' is reportedly slang for $1,000. Police say a man responded to the posting and arranged to meet Eley, but this master scheme was undone when the ex-boyfriend/potential victim's aunt saw the messages on Facebook and alerted authorities.

That was quickly followed by reports Tuesday of a bizarre incident in which an "armed man held a woman hostage at a motel in a tense 16-hour, overnight standoff with SWAT teams, all while finding time to keep his family and friends updated on Facebook." The Associated Press reports that during the hostage standoff(!!), Jason Valdez made six posts to Facebook and added a dozen new friends. Giving new meaning to the phrase "status update," Valdez's first post during the crisis was:

"I'm currently in a standoff ... kinda ugly, but ready for whatever. I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends."

In another twist, some of Valdez's Facebook friends allegedly aided him during the standoff. One friend alerted Valdez that a SWAT officer was hiding in the bushes, prompting Valdez to reply, "Thank you homie. Good looking out." Other friends pleaded for Valdez to "do the right thing." Police stated that they are reviewing whether any of Valdez's friends should be arrested for obstructing justice.


Always remember to let your conclusion develop as a result of your investigation. Don’t fall into the trap that you develop your investigation to suit your conclusion.

Remindful of the fact that we are sometimes pulled in different directions from the outset of an investigation, as good detectives we have to be mindful of how we develop our case.

Reminding ourselves that we are foolish to make assumptions without basis of facts, we are constantly telling ourselves “not to assume anything”.

It’s one thing for a good detective to bring with him an intimate knowledge of the command and its inherent crime conditions, and to be aware of those criminals known to act in and around the location. But to reach a conclusion without fact, and to then to tailor your investigation around this conclusion, is a sure formula for failure.

“Let your investigation lead you to your conclusion. Don’t investigate your conclusion”.


As I noted above regarding assumptions and investigative conclusions, there is actually some scientific basis to my instructions.

It’s known as “Cognitive Dissonance”.

Cognitive dissonance is defined as “anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits”.

In clearer terms in what we generally deal with, cognitive dissonance turns up when facts are discovered that do not support the investigators theory. “Once a detective had made up his mind about a guilty man, contrary evidence is highly discomfiting and will often be rejected out of hand”.

This is the theory a defense attorney will present to a jury in an effort to free his client. “The detective didn’t follow up on these facts because it didn’t support his theory, which is why he arrested my client who is an innocent man”. You get the picture!


The newly elected mayor of Naples blamed local mafia for the trash crisis that is provoking fresh protests, threatening health and choking the normal flow of city life.

"Obviously I don't exclude organized crime," said Mayor Luigi De Magistris, referring to his unkept campaign promise to clean up the disaster in five days if he were elected.

His June victory was largely seen as a call to end the relentless crisis.

The local mafia, or Camorra, has long been accused of infiltrating waste management in Naples and dumping toxic waste on sites near residential areas, leading to perennial flareups. The previous public outcry occurred last November when weeks of clashes and rising trash piles brought Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to the city.

De Magistris went on to reaffirm his intention to rid the city of its waste problem amid rampant protests spanning the city, spilling into surrounding areas of the Campania province.

Early Wednesday, protesters waived Italian flags and sang the Italian national anthem as they marched through the center of town along the rubbish-lined road leading to the Spanish district.

One restaurant owner closed up shop, writing on a sign outside, "I'm ashamed to stay open in this havoc."

Besieged by mounds of trash that have choked the flow of daily life for months, protesters resorted to turning over dumpsters, blocking traffic, and burning trash in the open as government incinerators have failed to resolve the problem.

Firefighters struggled into the early morning to extinguish 30 separate rubbish fires.

To diminish the stench, some resorted to pouring lime on countless trash heaps lining streets, passageways, and even in the middle of the road.

Approximately 1,500 tons of trash remain scattered all over the city.


I believe it was John Russo who passed along the following article to me. But I might be mistaken!

I’d like to give proper credit where due. John, along with Craig Gardella, have passed along quite a few interesting articles from various sources that I always enjoy getting. At the same time I don’t want to put someone’s name to a piece, crediting it from them, only to have them say “I never sent you that”. So, in all fairness, I’m really not sure who passed this along to me. (I accept total blame for not keeping better track.)

So, let’s just say, someone passed this along to me and thought I’d like it. I did. And now I’m passing it along to you.

Written by Dave Krajicek, it appeared under the title “The Crime Beat: Perp Walks”.

"Perp walks" have been used for decades, although more frequently in some cities than others.

In New York, the police press information office frequently has placed a courtesy call to reporters when a high-interest suspect was to be "moved" from a precinct stationhouse to a central booking facility.

Photographers and videographers would gather outside the stationhouse to record the "walk."

The courtesy calls set the NYPD apart from most police departments. In other big cities, including Los Angeles and Washington, no such photo appointments are set. Photographers who want a perp walk shot often must wait and hope.

Many police departments have made perp walks obsolete by freely passing out copies of mug shots to the media.

But old-school reporters argue that perp walks can be great theater.

For example, legendary robber Willie Sutton, who knocked over 100 banks from 1925 to 1952, uttered an immortal quote during a perp walk in New York.

A reporter shouted, "Hey, Willie, why do you rob banks?"

Sutton responded, "Because that's where the money is."

Federal authorities have been fond of perp walks since the early years of the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, who understood the priceless public relations value of an image that showed a cuffed bad guy in the grasp of a federal agent.

In conspiracy and racketeering cases, the feds frequently have offered the media – and the news-consuming public – a graphic of criminal collusion by tethering the alleged conspirators to a single heavy chain before the photo-op.

In 1997, Timothy McVeigh, later convicted and executed in the Oklahoma City bombing case, was subjected to a perp walk nearly three hours before he was officially arrested. McVeigh's attorneys protested that the FBI timed the walk for maximum network TV exposure. McVeigh was surrounded by a dozen FBI agents. They were selected as a reward for collaring McVeigh, a tangential but important aspect of perp walks.

Defense attorneys and minority advocates have long complained about perp walks – lawyers because the photos make their clients look guilty, and blacks because an inordinate number of perp-walk shots show young black men in handcuffs with sweatshirt hoods pulled over their heads, like Grim Reapers.

Some compare perp walks to other forms of public humiliation, such as confinement to stocks or the practice of parading defeated opponents in war, an ancient custom that has regained popularity in the Mideast.

In 2002, federal authorities used perp walks in several white-collar crime cases, including the arrests of John Rigas, former chairman of Adelphia Communications, and two of his sons.

An attorney for the men said, "The Rigases had repeatedly offered to surrender, but were instead roused from their Manhattan apartments at 6 a.m. by federal agents. Later in the morning, they were escorted in handcuffs past news cameras."

Another New York case may sound a death knell for contrived perp walks.

In 1995, a New York City doorman was arrested after a surveillance camera caught him rifling through the underwear drawer and cabinets of a vacationing tenant. The tenant sold the surveillance tape to the local Fox affiliate.

The news director wanted video of the suspect. He called the police press information office, which ordered detectives to walk the perp. The doorman, who was being questioned at a precinct stationhouse, was handcuffed, walked outside, placed in an unmarked police car, driven around the block and returned to the stationhouse.

Fox shot footage of the walk and broadcast it that night.

Charges against the doorman were soon dropped because nothing was missing from the apartment. He sued the city and police for violation of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable arrest.

A trial court and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the police had acted unreasonably and invaded the doorman's privacy by staging a perp walk that was "an inherently fictional dramatization" with "no legitimate law enforcement justification."

However, the court added, "Despite its adverse effects on (the doorman's) dignity and privacy, the perp walk might nevertheless have been reasonable under the Fourth Amendment had it been sufficiently closely related to a legitimate governmental objective."

New York police have been moving to the concept of "legitimate justification" for perp walks. The department says its policy was and is to neither impede nor promote photographs of suspects as they are being moved.

Most journalists oppose any official curtailing of perp walks. The Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics makes these points:

Journalists should "minimize harm" by balancing a criminal suspect's fair trial rights with the public's right to be informed.

"Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity."

"Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy."


All of us in Brooklyn North Detectives were sad to learn of the passing of Retired Detective First Grade Francis Berberich on June 20, 2011.

Frank Berberich was a retired member of Brooklyn North Homicide, having retired in 1995. He served 34 years in the department, appointed in 1961.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.


Many people knew Frank Berberich, a detective assigned to Brooklyn North Homicide, as noted above in his obituary announcement.

But did you know that Frank had a grandfather who was also a Patrolman on NYPD who was killed in the line of duty in 1908?

Ptl. Charles Berberich had served on the NYPD for 11 years when, on November 15, 1908 he was electrocuted.

Patrolman Berberich was killed after coming into contact with a live wire he was guarding.

Patrolman Berberich was assigned to guard a downed wire in front of 360 East Seventh Street, Brooklyn. He was waiting for the electric company to come repair the wire when a woman and two children approached. As Patrolman Berberich helped them around the wire, he came in contact with it and was electrocuted.

Patrolman Berberich had served with the New York City Police Department for 11 years, and was survived by his wife and child. He was assigned to the Parkville Station.


“It is not how they died that makes them a hero, but how they lived their lives”.

June 28, 1927 Ptl Andrew Grennan, 46 Pct, Drowned during rescue
June 28, 1931 Det William DeGive, MODD, Shot during GLA Arrest
June 28, 1963 Ptl. William Baumfield, 4 Div, Shot-Robbery
June 28, 1972 PO John Skagen, TD2, Shot chasing felon
June 28, 1986 PO Scott Gadell, 101 Pct, Shot during investigation
July 1, 1911 Ptl Michael Lynch, 22 Pct, Shot by perp
July 2, 1922 Det John Moriarty, Det Div, Shot:Robbery in progress
July 2, 1970 Ptl Paul Donadio, 75 Pct, Patrolwagon accident on patrol
July 3, 1857 Ptl Thomas Sparks, No info available
July 3, 1917 Ptl John Flood, 31 Pct, Assaulted
July 3, 1966 Ptl Willie Stephenson, HAPD, Drowned during rescue
July 4, 1940 Det Joseph Lynch, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1940 Det Ferdinand Socha, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1993 PO Rudolph Thomas, PSA3, Shot:Off duty
July 5, 1946 Sgt Isaac Price, 28 Pct, Heart attack during robbery arrest
July 6, 1979 PO Ignatius Gentile, 77 Pct, Fell under train
July 7, 1872 Ptl John Donohue, 5 Pct, Ambushed, assaulted
July 9, 1938 Ptl Arthur Howarth, 85 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
July 10, 1851 Ptl George Gillespie, NFI
July 10, 1968 Ptl Nicolo Danisi, PA, Shot:Off duty mistaken ID
July 11, 1938 Ptl Angelo Favata, 85 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
July 12, 1924 Det Timothy Connell, DetDiv, Shot:Robbery
July 13, 1868 Ptl Henry Corlett, 32 Pct, Drowned during rescue
July 14, 1922 Ptl Frank Mundo, TrafficDiv, Auto accident in pursuit
July 14, 1936 Det Lawrence Gallagher, 47 Pct, Shot
July 14, 1941 Ptl Norman Dixon, 120 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
July 14, 1980 Det Abraham Walton, SCU, Shot: Robbery, off duty

WISHING ALL A VERY HAPPY JULY 4TH WEEKEND! Sunshine, maybe some beach and sand, a little barbecue action- shared with family and friends. Enjoy the holiday!


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The good investigator understands the difference between a “task” that needs to be completed, and an investigative opportunity.

All too often, investigators – and sometimes even managers- see a performance standard as merely a “task” that needs to be completed, and misses the opportunity to capitalize on an investigative opportunity.

What am I talking about?

Think about these investigative functions – building canvasses, vehicle canvasses, review of 311 calls. If you see only the necessity to “complete the task”, without understanding the investigative opportunity each function provides, then you are missing the big picture in investigations.

Realizing the importance for the detective to get someone to tell them what happened, these simple investigative assignments may be thought of in their true measure as providing an opportunity for an investigative lead to be developed. Remembering the big secret of detective work- getting someone to tell you what happened- is sometimes the biggest hurdle the novice detective needs to achieve.

Knowing why you perform certain tasks in an investigation is critical to achieving success. If you don’t understand why you are doing something, and are merely performing the act, i.e. building canvass, because it needs to be “checked off” on the checklist, then you are missing the big picture of investigative success.

This is not just a problem for the new detective, but sometimes even for the more seasoned detective, and at times one that even the investigative manager or executive may be found guilty of. What do you expect to achieve by the task you are performing?

Take, for example, the building canvass. Knocking on doors and talking to people- isn’t this the foundation of the good detective? Can you talk to someone that may be an eyewitness? Perhaps if not a witness, but someone that may be able to provide you with background intelligence on why something may have happened, or intelligence on the area and players frequenting it, is the purpose of the building canvass. Having an opportunity to develop this information should be well sought after.

The building canvass provides an opportunity to talk to people. Certainly an investigative opportunity and more than merely a task to be completed!

So too is the vehicle canvass. Merely having plate numbers on cars recorded is only the first step. Actually reviewing the information for investigative leads is the second, and more critical, step. Is there a vehicle on the scene that appears out of place? Does the vehicle canvass provide you with an investigative opportunity, or is it merely a task that needs to be checked off?

When you begin to think of detective assignments in a follow-up investigation along these lines, seeking to determine the investigative opportunity and not merely viewing it as a laborious task, you have taken the step towards a successful detective investigator.

There’s nothing more discouraging than to hear a detective being assigned a task to be completed “because the Chief wants this done”. If you want your detectives to be successful investigators than take the time to explain what investigative opportunities are being sought.

When the detective knows why he or she is doing something, then they can be expected to do it to the best possible way they can. If they are only instructed to complete the task, for the sake of the task- and never understand why it is being performed- than you can’t really expect to get anything of value.

You certainly cannot, as an investigative manager, expect to have this detective reach any investigative potential unless you take the time to instruct “why” something needs to be done. There is no replacement for the thinking detective!

If you don’t know “why”, then how can anyone expect “positive results”?

If you don’t know “why”, then ask a question. If you are giving instructions and you don’t know why, take the time to find out first.

Investigative opportunities are limited. Don’t waste a good opportunity for success.

It’s an investigative opportunity, and not merely a task that needs to be checked off.


As noted in the 1846 Rules and Regulations for the police department, the inspection of street lamps was a very important job of the patrolman. So, too, was the arrest of anyone who tampered with these street lamps.

It is written in the 1846 Rules & Regulations that it was the duty of every Policeman, if they came upon anyone tampering with these lamps, to take them into custody and to “forthwith give information to the mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, or either of the Special Justices of said city”.

I’d like to have been there for that notification to the Mayor!

It’s also noted specifically that they needed to act against anyone who was driving greater than 5 miles per hour. Remember, that driving referred to driving a horse-drawn cart or horse 5mph! Just wonder how they were able to determine 5mph in 1896?


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.


A quote I came across regarding detectives and investigations that I thought I’d share with you.

“Computers don't make the match. Analysts make the match”.

“Computers narrow down the field of comparisons for the analyst”.

I like this thought, and use it when speaking with new investigators. This goes along the same lines as the quote from Dr. Baden, esteemed Medical Examiner to the stars.

Baden served as the Chief Medical Examiner in NYC and went on to become one of the preeminent pathologists in the country, whose opinion is sought by the media on almost all deaths of any notoriety.

Speaking at a symposium on DNA to police executives, Dr. Baden started his lecture with the following statement.

Forensics doesn’t solve homicides. Detectives solve homicides. Forensics provides the investigative tools for the detective to help solve a case. Sometimes providing an investigative lead or helping to corroborate or refute a statement, but it’s the detective that solves the homicide”.

A great statement, I thought!


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, April 29, 2011


This 1970’s crime drama highlighted a pair of plainclothes homicide detectives, Lt. Mike Stone and Inspector Steve Keller, cruise the streets of San Francisco solving a variety of crimes, usually involving murder. Stone, played by Karl Malden, is the street-smart 20-year veteran cop, and Keller, who was played by a very young Michael Douglas, is the college-educated rookie detective. Much of the series' success was due to the friendly by-play and relationship between the two leads.

In San Francisco, the detectives go by the title “Inspector”.

The show ran for five seasons, between September 16, 1972, and June 9, 1977, on ABC, amassing a total of 120 60-minute episodes. The series started with a pilot of the same title, and was based on the detective novel Poor, Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston.

The show revolved around two police officers who investigated homicides in San Francisco. The centre of the series was a veteran cop and widower, Lt Mike Stone (Karl Malden) who had more than twenty years of police experience and was now assigned to the Homicide Detail of SFPD’s Bureau of Inspectors (the San Francisco Detective Bureau). He was partnered with a young detective and energetic partner, Assistant Inspector Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) a college graduate, age twenty-eight, who had no experience in the police force. Stone would become a second father to Keller as he learned the rigors and procedures of detective work. Eventually, Keller was promoted to full inspector. As the series went on, Douglas became a star in his own right.

After the second episode of the fifth and final season, Douglas left the show after successfully producing the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, which won the Academy Award for Best Film for 1975. He in turn would also establish a film career. His character's absence was explained by having him take a teaching position at a local college, while Lt. Stone was partnered with another detective, Insp. Dan Robbins, played by Richard Hatch. The change was not popular with audiences, and the show ended in 1977, due to low ratings.

Michael Douglas would go on to continued fame, later starring in the hit movie “Wall Street”, and go on to marry Catherine Zeta-Jones.


The following is taken from the booklet “A Detectives Secret”, printed February 1898, authored by Ex-Chief Thomas Byrnes.

Byrnes, as regular readers to this site may recall, was a Chief of Police and former “Chief of Detectives”- attributed as the “First” Chief of Detectives of the department; for more info on Byrnes take a look at recent prior postings to this site.

Here is the opening to Byrnes’ dictum on “How To Become A Detective and How To Succeed As One”.

“To become a successful detective a young man must have, first of all, natural aptitude; then, plenty of brains, and last, but far from least, an almost inexhaustible fund of perseverance. Without all of these qualifications he may grow to be a satisfactory, or even an excellent policeman, but he can never hope to be a successful detector of crime.”

Byrnes is attributed to being the lawman who headed the Broadway Squad and drew an imaginary line in the street on Broadway and John Street- a “dead line”- and made the statement to the criminals of America: “Beyond this corner you shall not pass”.


In keeping with the general media theme this past week concerning events in London, what with some sort of wedding going on there on the other side of the pond that has many people’s attention, I am including some details of a project that has been ongoing by the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) in London known as Operation Trident.

What is Trident?

Trident is an anti-gun crime operation that was set up in 1998 to help bring an end to a spate of shootings and murders among young, black Londoners.

Over 350 police officers and 86 support staff work just on Trident. They are advised and informed by a group of black community leaders called the Trident Independent Advisory Group.

75% of London's gun crime involves the victim and suspect both coming from the capital's black communities. Trident was set up in response to black community members wanting the police to do something that specifically targeted the criminals affecting them. “Trident only works because it is a partnership with community leaders combined with robust, intelligence based policing”, according to official Scotland Yard statements.

What's the problem?

For a small number of people either carrying a gun, or living in fear of gun crime, is an everyday reality.

Operation Trident or Trident, is a Metropolitan Police Service unit set up to investigate and inform communities of gun related crime occurring within London’s black community, with special attention being placed on shootings relating to the illegal sale of drugs.

The importance of Trident is such that it was established as a dedicated Operational Command. called the Trident Operational Command Unit within the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate. This is the equivalent of the Detective Bureau establishing a separate Division to address gun related crimes in the black communities of the city. In 2004 it expanded with the formation of Operation Trafalgar, which investigates all other non-fatal shootings in London.

As part of the Specialist Crime Directorate, Trident is also known as SCD8 and more recently officers within the command have referred to themselves as "the Ocho".

According to Metropolitan Police publications, the key responsibilities of Trident include the prevention and investigation of shootings in London’s communities and all gun related murders within London’s black communities.

Trident is composed of several key units. These include three Shooting Investigation Units, four Murder Investigation Teams (MITs) and five Proactive Units. These are supported by an Intelligence Unit incorporating airport liaison and immigration units, the Community Engagement Team and the Financial Payback Unit.

Trident was initially set up as an intelligence based initiative in April 1995 after the brutal murders in and around areas of Lambeth and Brent. Of particular attention was the murder of Marcia Lawes in Brixton by Delroy Denton. These incidents “were made much harder to investigate due to unwillingness on the part of witnesses to come forward through fear of reprisals from the perpetrators of such criminal behavior”.

Following a continuation of the shootings and murders Trident was implemented on a London wide scale. In May 2004 Trident was expanded and currently has over 460 police officers and police staff engaged in the investigation and prevention of firearm murders and other gun crime affecting London’s communities.

The work of these combined units is coordinated in the following areas.

In terms of the investigations of MURDER, Trident investigates all murders by shooting involving a gun, where both the victim and suspects are from black communities.

In terms of Non fatal Shootings, Trident investigates all non-fatal shootings, as well as any threat to police officers where a firearm is produced but not discharged.

Their Pro-Active Operations are aimed at targeting those who possess, supply, convert, reactivate and manufacture illegal firearms and those who seek to use illegal firearms to prevent shootings occurring.

A 2009 article in the Baltimore Sun addressed Trident, with a reporter for the Sun accompanying the Trident officers on a ride-along. The following is excerpted from the November 27, 2009 Baltimore Sun article on this topic.

“The Trident program was set up about 10 years ago to address the growing problem of black-on-black gun crime in Britain's Afro-Caribbean and black communities. The impetus was a wave of killings, along with the black community's simmering distrust of police.

“With 300 officers and a budget of $44 million, Trident investigates homicides and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on slick public-relations campaigns aimed at diverting young men from gun violence.

“The Trident squad gave The Baltimore Sun an inside look at a murder investigation, though because of government-imposed restrictions in Great Britain on reporting about active cases, police insisted that certain facts and names be withheld to preserve the prosecution.

“Detective Chief Inspector John Crossley's squad typically handles cases in the northern part of town but has had to pick up a few cases from South London recently to balance workloads. The workload in London, of course, pales in comparison to that of Baltimore police. London, a city of 7.5 million, has seen 110 homicides this year, only 17 of which involved guns. There is no unit that is equivalent to Trident in Baltimore, where the homicide division, by default, specializes in black-on-black gun crime, with nine out of every 10 of the homicides fitting that pattern.

“In the early stages of an investigation, a killing in Baltimore gets assigned to a squad of six, and police can free up additional resources as needed.

“The cases being investigated by Trident squads are scrawled in blue marker on white dry-erase boards at opposite ends of an upstairs office. Each case is assigned an obscure operational name, such as "Operation Tilton," "Operation Conch Key," and "Operation Tavernier." On the board, there are slots for each officer assigned to the case, such as the primary case officer, the officer who will act as a liaison to the family and the officer assigned to inspect closed-circuit television footage. Each board lists about 20 cases - dating to the late 1990s.

“Overall, officials say, gun crime is on the decline. Police are seeing more shootings apparently intended only to maim, a trend that police and city leaders believe might be due to criminals' awareness of the stiff penalties they face if charged with murder. Though total shootings have nearly doubled this year, from 123 to 236, gun crime is still at one of its lowest points in the past five years. Fatal shootings investigated by Trident have dropped from six in the past fiscal year to four this (2009) year”.

Not immune to the budget and economic crisis that is affecting everyone throughout the world, London’s Metropolitan Police appear likely to be closing down Operation Trident by the end of 2011.


The following was written by Elbert Hubbard, best known for his writing “A Message To Garcia” in 1898.

While this more famous work, “Message To Garcia”, deserves much longer inclusion on this site at a later time, I chose to reprint this following writing on “Horse Sense”, which I think many will enjoy.

“If you work for a man, in Heaven’s name work for him. If he pays wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, and stand by him, and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man, I would work for him. I would not work for him a part of his time, but all of his time.

“I would give an undivided service or none. If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, why, resign your position, and when you are outside, damn to your heart’s content. But, I pray you, so long as you are a part of an institution, do not condemn it.

“Not that you will injure the institution – not that – but when you disparage the concern of which you are a part, you disparage yourself. And don’t forget – “I forgot” won’t do in business”.

Certainly applicable to any work situation, least of which being this life we have chosen.


Somewhere along the way, probably in a measure of political correctness, investigators have adapted and interchanged these two terms. More often than not, without understanding the basis of the terms to begin with.

Talking to people is the basis of detective work.

A good detective understands this as the foundation of an investigator. Detectives need information from others, and talking to people is how we get much of that information.

Two of the major terms to describe the forms we take in talking to people are Interview, and Interrogation. The third term is Debriefing.

As defined for the investigator, these terms distinguished as follows.

Interrogation- in speaking with another person, a confrontational tone for the purpose of obtaining a confession or admission of guilt, culpability, or other involvement.

Interview- in speaking with another person, a conversational tone for the purpose of obtaining information.

The Interrogation is the confrontational discussion with another who is a suspect in a crime. The Interview is the informational questioning with someone in an effort to get information.

In an effort to sound “less confrontational”, or to make an effort to seem less accusatory, we use the term “interview” when, in reality, we know what we are conducting is an “interrogation”.

The third term, Debriefing, is even less accusatory, but slightly different in definition than the interview.

While the “debriefing” is in reality an “interview”, is has grown into main stream investigative usage in the past decade or so, adapted from the militaristic intelligence gathering interview.

When a military source returned from a battle field, from the “front lines”, or when an intelligence source came back from “contact with the enemy”, the intelligence “debriefing” was conducted.

The debriefing was intended to gather as much information from the source as could be obtained, with this intelligence to be examined by analysts as to its appropriate value.

Investigators have coined this “debriefing” as a general question and answer session with someone, usually one who has been arrested, in an effort to gain intelligence on other criminal activity.

Thus, while all are very similar in scope, the three terms- Interview, Interrogation, and Debriefing – have distinct differences in scope.


With all the attention given in these past several weeks over the ceremonial undertakings in London involving the wedding of Will and Kate (yes, The Minister is on a first name basis!), I thought this following information on a current crime trend in London was worth taking a look at.

It seems that New York City is not alone in the recent push towards bicycle usage- in fact, we are somewhat way behind our European cousins in the use of this mode of transportation.

In London, Mayor Boris Johnson wants more people to get on their bikes, and an active push is underway to encourage bicycle usage- and to stop bicycle thefts. The City is also aware that if a bicycle gets stolen, the owner is not as likely to replace and continue the use as had been before the theft.

Last year, approximately 24,000 bikes were stolen in the capital city of London, which is why the Cycle Task Force was created, and the London Police is making it a priority to catch cycle thieves all over London, and to educate cyclists about keeping their bikes safe.

The unit is made up of three sergeants, 12 Police Constables and 12 Police Civilian Community Officers, who work all over London in tandem with the Traffic’s Cycle Team.

“Having a cycle squad helped us have a better understanding of the type of cycle theft happening out there,” says Commander Mark Gore, who heads STC.

Sergeant Titus Halliwell of the squad says: “There’s no typical cycle thief. You might think that they’re entry-level criminals who are just cutting their teeth. But what we’ve found is that there are people out there making hundreds of pounds (dollars) a day from stealing bikes and selling them on websites such as Gumtree and eBay.”

One recent tactic being used by thieves is to steal a bike and simply chain it up elsewhere until they find a buyer. This way they hope to avoid being caught with it.

The Cycle Task Force encourages riders to get their bikes registered on private sites, such as or, which upload the frame number to a central database. A sticker is then affixed to ward thieves off. Police officers can access their databases by requesting a login. They’re also encouraging retailers to security-mark the bikes at the point of sale.

Investigators in the Cycle Task Force catch criminals by looking for clues, such as repeat phone numbers on sites such as Gumtree or eBay. They also carry out sting operations, putting out decoy bikes to see if a thief will bite.

Cyclists reunited with their property by the task force often tell other cyclists on riding forums, which leads to more people reporting stolen bikes, thus improving intelligence.

“By making it safe to own a bike in London we are reducing the fear of crime, lessening pressure on the transport system and encouraging people to live healthier lives,”says Steve Burton, a spokesman for the Transport For London.


Some basic information for the cigar smoker.

Lighting the Cigar: Holding the cigar, rotate the foot just above the flame. Warming or pre-heating the foot primes the cigar to light faster. Then without letting the flame touch the cigar, draw gently while rotating the cigar to ensure an even burn.

What about the ash? The ash on a premium cigar should be even and tight. Remember a premium cigar has a long leaf filler and the ash will be long, therefore you want the ash length to show, noting your selection of a fine cigar. When the ash is about to drop, you may let it drop naturally into the ashtray or with your index finger lightly tap the cigar over the ashtray. If the ash falls on your clothing, don�t panic, the fire is on the cigar not in the ash. You can stand up and let the ash fall to the floor, or gently brush the ash away.

What about the band? To remove the band or not is a personal preference. It�s completely up to you. (The Minister leaves the band on).


Some history of the department that every member should be aware of concerns these officers who have received multiple awards of the Medal of Honor.

Department history reflects only three members who have received multiple awards of the Medal of Honor. Only one of these lived to receive his second medal.

Detective Timothy J. Connell was awarded his first Medal of Honor in 1922, after he was wounded foiling a hold up at a cigar store which resulted in a shoot-out with two armed perpetrators of which he mortally wounded one and the second showed up the next day at a local hospital with a bullet wound. Detective Connell was awarded his second Medal of Honor posthumously in 1926 after he was killed in another shootout with four armed adversaries in 1924.

Detective John Cordes was awarded his first Medal of Honor in 1924 after a shootout in which he was wounded five times, and again in 1928 for another shoot out. He lived to be awarded his second Medal of Honor, and completed his career as a Lieutenant – Commander of Detectives, commanding first the Broadway Squad and then the Riverfront Squad, from where he retired.

Police Officer Robert Bilodeau, Street Crime Unit, was awarded his first Medal of Honor for an incident that took place on April 5, 1979, when while making an arrest during a decoy operation his throat was slashed, an injury that required 63 stitches. His second award was posthumously in 1981 for an incident that took place on February 12, 1980, when Officer Bilodeau chased a gunman into an alleyway. The gunman turned and shot Officer Bilodeau three times, but before he died he was able to wound his assailant.


May 1, 1892 Ptl Robert Nichol, 20 Pct, Off duty fire rescue
May 1, 1964 Ptl Edmond Schrempf, TPF, assaulted
May 1, 1981 PO John Scarangella, 113 Pct, Shot- car stop
May 2, 1974 PO William O’Brien, 10 Pct, auto accident on patrol
May 3, 1913 Ptl William Heaney, 12 Pct, Shot- arrest
May 3, 1921 Ptl John Conk, 97 Pct, Struck by horse
May 3, 1931 Ptl Bernard Sherry, 15 Pct, Shot- burglary in progress
May 3, 1964 Det Joseph Greene, DetDiv, Auto accident on patrol
May 4, 1863 Ptl Francis Mallon, 4 Pct, Shot by EDP
May 4, 1914 Ptl Michael Kiley, 156 Pct, Shot- arrest
May 4, 1931 Ptl John Hoey, 40 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
May 4, 1938 Ptl Thomas Hackett, 4 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
May 4, 1968 Ptl Gerard Apuzzi, 107 Pct, Asphyxiated
May 4, 1981 Lt Jan Brinkers, PSA8, Shot- off duty robbery arrest
May 5, 1934 Ptl Arthur Rasmussen, 3 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
May 5, 1971 Det Ivan Lorenzo, Narco Div, Shot- off duty incident
May 6, 1934 Ptl Lawrence Ward, 23 Pct, Shot-investigation
May 6, 1964 Ptl Stanley Schall, 70 Pct, Line of duty heart attack
May 7, 1931 Ptl John Ringhauser, 102 Pct, auto accident on patrol
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

Friday, April 15, 2011


Fifty years ago, running for two seasons from 1961 to 1963, the television sitcom Car 54 burst onto the television screens to critical acclaim.

The series follows the adventures of NYPD officers Gunther Toody, who was played by Joe E. Ross, and Francis Muldoon, played by Fred Gwynne, in the fictional 53rd precinct in the Bronx, assigned to Patrol Car 54.

Toody, played by the Seward Park HS dropout Joe E. Ross, was short, stocky, nosy, not very bright, and lived with his loud, domineering wife Lucille.

Muldoon, played by the Harvard educated Fred Gwynne, was the tall, quiet, and more intelligent partner. He was a shy bachelor who lived with his mother and two younger sisters.

Fred Gwynn – Muldoon – would later go on to stardom playing the part of Hermn Munster in The Munsters, and the judge in the movie My Cousin Vinnie.

Car 54 was one of the first sitcoms that regularly featured characters from multiple ethnicities. Another of the recurring characters, playing Officer Schnauzer, was Al Lewis, who you may know as Grandpa in The Munsters. (While this show may have folded, it seems The Munsters did pretty well from the cast!)

Filmed in a studio in The Bronx, it was one of the first television shows to make use of on location shooting on the streets of New York.

At that time television shows were in black and white- color TV was not yet in practice.

So as to avoid confusion, the producers had a special police car provided for the show that was painted a red color.

The TV show's police cars on location shots were actually bright red and white, but appeared as the proper shade of gray for an NYPD car on black-and-white film. NYPD cars of that era were black and green with a white roof and trunk. Thus, the filmmakers achieved a realistic appearance without alarming or confusing bystanders during production.

This series had a brief revival in past years on televisions Nick at Night, but because of the relatively short time frame and limited number of episodes it has remained out of rerun viewing. To commemorate the fifty year anniversary a boxed set of season 1 episodes is being released.

If you were a fan of the show, or recall seeing some episodes on Nick at Night and caught yourself laughing out loud, you will be happy to know you’re not without good company.

The show also counted among its loyal viewers author William Faulkner, who, according to several biographers, never missed a Sunday-night airing of the program during the final year of his life.

William Faulkner, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, hated television,” said actor Hank Garrett, who played Officer Ed Nicholson on the program. “But he would go every week to a friend’s house to watch the show.”

In more recent years a movie version of this show was produced, titled- you guessed it – Car 54. If you happened to see this movie at some point, I can assure you the TV shows were much funnier. If you never saw the movie version- don’t bother!

The television series started off with a very catchy theme song, as most television shows of that time period did.

Does anyone remember the lyrics?


There’s a holdup in the Bronx, Brooklyn’s broken out in fights

There’s a traffic jam in Harlem that’s backed up to Jackson Heights

There’s a scout troop short a child,

Khrushchev’s due in Idlewild,


You can identify the dated material in the theme song- Khruschev was the Russian Premier (actually, it was the USSR), and Kennedy Airport was still known as Idlewild Airport.


A recent takedown of alleged mobsters in the metropolitan New York area highlighted one of the nation's most powerful and sweeping laws: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Now in its 41st year, RICO was passed in 1970 to pursue the Mafia as a whole, tying the big bosses to the crimes of their underlings by claiming they were all part of a "criminal enterprise." Prosecutors have used RICO to pursue some of the highest-profile organized-crime families, including the Gambino’s and Genovese’s.

The law allows federal prosecutors to stitch together crimes going back many years, from extortion and loan sharking to murder, in a single case. It is easier for them to convict mob defendants when they wrap in evidence of the "broader context in which the crime was committed, along with the pattern of conduct that led up to the crime," said Samuel Buell, a professor at Duke University School of Law.

RICO's reach has expanded well beyond the mob in recent years. Businesses can be considered enterprises subject to the law, said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University, in Michigan. Victims of an alleged fraud can use RICO to file civil suits and recover triple the amount of damages they suffered. The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has prompted civil racketeering suits. Some alleged conspirators of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff have been charged under RICO, as have tobacco companies and prominent political figures.

Over time, Mr. Henning noted, the law has become controversial. "RICO is often criticized because of its use in civil cases to deal with business disputes that have nothing to do with mob activity," he said.

RICO's first big test came in 1979, when the law was used to prosecute the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang in California. The bikers were acquitted. With their long hair and tattoos, they didn't look like an organized-crime enterprise to the jury.

After Frank "Funzi" Tieri was found guilty on racketeering charges and convicted as head of the Genovese crime family in November 1980, prosecutors had their road map. By 1986, they had major cases pending against 17 of the country's 24 families.

In New York in 1985, prosecutors for Rudolph Giuliani, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, won indictments of the heads of the city's five Mafia families. The case was different from other RICO actions being brought against specific crime families at the time in that Mr. Giuliani's office sought to connect all five families in one coordinated enterprise.

Before the case went to trial, Philip Rastelli, head of the Bonanno family, was granted a separate trial, in which he was later convicted, and Paul "Big Paulie" Castellano, head of the Gambino family, was assassinated that December in front of Spark's Steak House in midtown Manhattan in a hit set up by John Gotti. Mr. Giuliani handed the prosecution—which at that point included the three other bosses and a handful of their top soldiers—off to a young assistant, Michael Chertoff, who two decades later became the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

The trial was colorful if grim. Carmine "The Snake" Persico, the boss of the Colombo family, acted as his own attorney, telling the judge, "I've had quite a bit of experience with the federal government." He was convicted along with two other mob bosses, "Fat Tony" Salerno of the Genovese family and "Tony Ducks" Corallo of the Lucchese organization. They were each sentenced to 100 years in prison.

Mr. Gotti was acquitted in a racketeering trial in Brooklyn and eventually would be dubbed the "Teflon don" after winning acquittals in other cases. In 1992, he was convicted in another racketeering trial and sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2002.

The law's author, Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey, was said to have named RICO after Edward G. Robinson's gangster in the 1930s film "Little Caesar." Over the years, Mr. Blakey has demurred from confirming or denying the story.


The names of the Five Families are attributed to Mafia informant Joe Valachi.

After his arrest in 1959, Valachi gave the police the names of the current bosses of the Five Families.

It was Valachi who was the first notorious mob informant, at such a high level, to break the code of silence. His story about organized crime (when it was still OK to call them the Mafia) were made into a best seller book, The Valachi Papers.

The names of four of those bosses, Gaetano Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, and Joe Bonanno, were used to name their respective families. The fifth family was headed by Joe Profaci in 1959, but it is named after its 1960s era boss, Joseph Colombo.

Lucchese, Genovese, Gambino, Bonanno, and Columbo- the Five Families of New York Organized Crime.


I must thank Michael Bosak for forwarding me a copy of the 1846 Rules and Regulations of the New York Police Department- a time before the department was known as the NYPD.

Some of the interesting items taken from the rules follows.

There was no such thing as a part time police officer, or of police officers having “a second job”. According to the regulations:

“All members of the department shall devote their whole time and attention to the business of the department, and not follow any other calling; and although certain hours are allotted to each man's duty, on ordinary occasions, yet all the members must be prepared to act at a moment's notice whenever the public service may require their attendance”.

Even then being on time for work was a requirement. “Punctual attendance shall be required of every officer and patrol man connected with the department, on all occasions; sickness and disability only shall be an excuse for absence from duty”.

Not happy about keeping a memo book? In 1846, members of the department were following a similar edict.

“Each- member shall, at all times, have with him a small book, in which he shall enter the names of persons taken in charge by him, and such particulars in each case as will be important on the trial of the cause, if tried”.

Members of the department had certain distinct items to wear to denote their authority. Not everyone had a standardized uniform they were equipped with, and a requirement to distinguish oneself from others was written into the regulations.

“Sergeants and Policemen performing Patrol duty in any of the following streets, shall  conspicuously display the emblem of office from the time of commencing duty in the morning until 11 o'clock, P.M.: -- in Broadway, Bowery, Grand, Chatham, Fulton, Wall, Division, Nassau, Pearl, Courtlandt, Church, Laurens, Walnut, Water, Cherry, West, South, Front, Maiden Lane, Canal, West Broadway, Washington, Walker, Catharine, Hudson, Houston. Anthony, Bleecker, Sixth Avenue, Duane, Third Avenue, Clinton, Centre, John, and in the Twelfth Ward”.

Apparently, on these streets- the busy streets of metropolitan New York City- downtown Manhattan- it was necessary to make sure the officers were distinctly noticeable to the public at large.

Interested in taking a little vacation out of town for the day?

“No member of the Police department shall leave the city without permission from the Mayor or Chief of Police”.

I can just see that play out. “Excuse me, Mister Mayor, I’d like to take the family up to Poughkeepsie to have a picnic tomorrow. Is that OK with you”?

Having the Sergeant come by and check up on you, and scratch your memo book, was not foreign back then either. The term many have heard that the Sergeant would have to “give you a see” on patrol originated here.

“The Sergeants will, if possible, see each man on his beat without calling, but should they not be able to find him, the call rap will be given in the centre and on each extremity of the beat, and if unable then to find the man in search of, the Sergeant will extend the adjoining beats, until the beat of the man absent is the fully covered ; he will report to the officer in command, the name of the man and cause of absence, if ascertained”.

No radios. No telephones or call boxes yet to make it easy to find someone. No, if you couldn’t find the cop by seeing him on foot walking the beat, you’d have to rap your stick on the ground until he came to answer this call. Technology at its finest.

Shield# 22524 113 Pct.
Date of Incident: April 16, 1981
Date of Death: May 1, 1981

Officer Scarangella succumbed to gunshot wounds received two weeks earlier when he and his partner were shot by heavily armed gunmen during a traffic stop.

Officer Scarangella and his partner stopped a van that fit the description of a van wanted in connection with several burglaries in the area. It was believed that Jo Anne Chesimard, a career criminal, was in the van at the time of the stop. Chesimard was wanted in the connection of the killing of a N.J. trooper Phillip La Monico.

Before Officer Scarangella and his partner could exit their vehicle, the two occupants of the van exited and opened fire with 9 millimeter semi-automatic handguns, firing a total of 30 shots. Officer Scarangella was struck twice in the head and his partner was struck 14 times in the legs and back.

Officer Scarangella was removed to the hospital where he died two weeks later. Officer Scarangella's partner, Richard Rainey, was forced to retire in 1982 due to the wounds.

The two suspects in the murder fled the state. One suspect was apprehended in North Carolina by detectives from the New York City Police Department and the Sumter County Sheriff's Department. The second suspect was apprehended in Pennsylvania by two Police Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department when they observed him walking down a street in Philadelphia wearing a bullet resistant vest. When those officers approached the suspect, he dropped a gun and fled on foot. He was apprehended after a fierce struggle in which several officers were injured. At that time, he was found to be in possession of the gun that was used to kill officer Scarangella and wound his partner.

James Dixon-York and Anthony Laborde (the occupants of the van) were both member s of the B.L.A. (Black Liberation Army - a spin off of the old Black Panther Party). Both suspects were convicted of attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Officer Scarangella's partner, but in two different trials the juries were hung on the charge of murder in connection with the killing of Officer Scarangella. In July of 1986 both suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Officer Scarangella had been a member of the New York City Police Department for 12 years. Officer Scarangella was working the day shift that day with his partner Richard Rainey. Scarangella had switched his shift so that he could take his wife to a doctor's appointment.

John Scarangella was known to everyone as “Jerry”.


The Brady doctrine requires that prosecutors turn over material exculpatory to the defendant.

Prosecutors have an affirmative duty under the Fifth Amendment to disclose evidence favorable to an accused upon request, when such evidence is material to guilt or punishment. This duty arises from Brady v. Maryland, and the evidence required to be produced is commonly called Brady material.

In Brady, the Supreme Court overturned a defendant’s murder conviction because the prosecution suppressed the statement of a codefendant in which he admitted to the actual homicide.

After Brady, several decisions expanded the scope of the doctrine. For instance, the government’s duty to produce exculpatory evidence under Brady arises even if the defendant has not specifically requested that evidence. The Supreme Court also held that information relevant to impeach the credibility of a government witness is Brady material.


100 East 50th Street

This building was the former home of both Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano, notorious figures in organized crime not only here in New York City, but in the United States.

Charles “Lucky” Luciano was born Salvatore Lucania on November 24, 1897, and lived until January 26, 1962.

Luciano using the name Charles Ross lived here on East 50 Street, in 39C, a three room suite that he paid $7,600 a year for.

Lucky Luciano was an Italian gangster born in Sicily, Italy. He is considered the father of modern organized crime in America for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime families, and establishing the first crime “commission”.

He was the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family. He was, along with his associate Meyer Lansky, instrumental in the development of the “National Crime Syndicate” in the United States.


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.


April 16, 1907 Ptl Alfred Selleck, 16 Pct, Shot – arrest
April 16, 1955 Ptl Andrew Reynolds, 107 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
April 17, 1925 Ptl Thomas Kelly, 12 Div, Shot – arrest, GLA
April 17, 1938 Ptl Humbert Morruzzi, 9 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
April 18, 1936 Ptl Leroy Sheares, 32 Pct, stabbed, arrest
April 19, 1963 Ptl Kenneth Cozier, ESU, LOD heart attack
April 21, 1934 Det James Garvey, 20Sqd, Shot- investigation
April 23, 1977 PO Robert Mandel, 77 Pct, shot-arrest
April 24, 1897 Rndsmn Oscar Rheinhardt, 31 Pct, Thrown from horse
April 24, 1969 Det John Roth, DD, auto accident on patrol
April 24, 1980 PO Robert Sorrentino, 101 Pct, shot-robbery
April 25, 1874 Ptl John Gibney, 1 Pct, shot
April 25, 1955 Sgt Donald Wiseman, 107 Pct, auto accident on patrol
April 27, 1892 Ptl Adam Kane, Bwy Sqd (1Pct), Beaten by EDP
April 27, 1988 Sgt John McCormick, BxNarco, shot-arrest
April 27, 1994 PO Jose Perez, BSTF, auto accident on patrol
April 29, 1945 Ptl Jacob Szwedowski, 24 Pct, Shot – arrest
April 30, 1979 PO Robert Betsch, 76 Pct, LOD heart attack