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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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....