The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegations

The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegations

Postby admin » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:28 am

by Milton Mollen, Chair
Harold Baer, Jr.
Herbert Evans
Roderick C. Lankler
Harold R. Tyler, Jr.
Joseph P. Armao, Chief Counsel
Leslie U. Cornfeld, Deputy Chief Counsel



July 7, 1994


Commission To Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption And The Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department


Milton Mollen, Chair
Harold Baer, Jr.
Herbert Evans
Roderick C. Lankler
Harold Tyler

Commission Staff

Joseph P. Armao, Chief Counsel
Leslie U. Cornfeld, Deputy Chief Counsel
Brian Carroll, Director of Investigations
Robert A Machado & Frank O'Hara, Deputy Chief Investigators


David A Burns
Edward Cunningham
Charles M. Guria
Jeffrey Zimmerman

Director of Media Relations

Tom Kelly

Support Staff

Nancy Levine
Anne Sherlock
Lourdes Sinisterra

Investigators and Analysts

Frances Alexander
Marilyn Coleman
Marcia DeLeon
Alfred Fernandez
Jose Guzman
Thomas Hopkins
Brian T. Kelly
Frank Luce
Samuel Nieves
Jody Pugach
Charmaine Raphael
Dorice J. Shea
Gregory A. Thomas

Special Counsel

Jonny J. Frank
William Goodstein

Volunteer Attorneys

Charles King
Thomas M. Obermaier

Table of Contents:

 Corruption and Drugs
 The New Character of Police Corruption
 "Crew" Corruption: The New Organization of Corruption
 Methods to Create Corruption Opportunities
 Methods To Escape Detection
 Profile of Today's Corrupt Cop: The Erosion Factor
 The Mixed Motives Behind Corruption: A New Framework for Analyzing Corruption
 Thefts From Street Dealers: "Shake Downs"
 Thefts From Radio Runs
 Theft From Unlawful Searches and Seizures: "Raids," "Doing Doors," "Booming Doors"
 Thefts From Lawful Searches and Seizures
 Thefts From Car Stops and Drug Couriers
 Off-Duty Robberies
 The link Between Brutality and Acts of Corruption
 The link Between Brutality And Police Culture
o The Code of Silence
o "Us vs. Them"
o The Erosion Of Values And Pride
o Police Cynicism
o Moral Character and Fitness
o Police Unions
o Conclusion
 Spreading Accountability
 The New Anti-Corruption Apparatus
 Willful Blindness
 Performance Evaluations
 Resource and Management Failures
 Integrity Control Officers
 The Internal Affairs Division
 The Field Internal Affairs Units
 Minimizing Corruption Through Investigations
 The Michael Dowd/75th Precinct Investigation
 The Ninth Precinct Case
 Concealing Corruption Through Filing and Classification Systems
 The Tickler File
 Other Cases Not Sent to Prosecutors or Not Officially Recorded
 Favoritism Toward High-Ranking Officers
 Scalabrino Case
 Simonetti Case
 The Failure to Employ Pro-Active Techniques
 Failed Undercover Programs: Field Associates and Undercover Operatives
 The IAD "Action Desk"
 Commitment to Integrity
 Recruitment and Screening
 Recruit And In-Service Performance Evaluations
 Integrity Training
 Police Personnel Management
 Police Unions
 Drug Testing
 New York City Residency Requirement
 Enforcement of Command Accountability
 Supervision
 Internal Affairs Operations
 Recruitment of Qualified Investigators
 Intelligence-Gathering Operations
 Investigative Approach
 Organizational Structure
 Command Liaisons
 Civil Rights Investigations
 Discipline
 Disability Pension Abuse
 Community Policing and Community Outreach
o Monitoring Performance of Anti-Corruption Systems
 Monitoring Cultural Conditions
 Monitoring Corruption Trends
 Conclusion
o Exhibit One: Executive Order No. 42 issued by The Honorable David N. Dinkins, Mayor of the City of New York, on July 24, 1992, Appointing the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the New York City Police Department
o Exhibit Two: Opening Statement by The Honorable Milton Mollen, Commission Public Hearings, September 27, 1993
o Exhibit Three: Mid-Hearings Statement by The Honorable Milton Mollen, Commission Public Hearings, October 4, 1993
o Exhibit Four: Exhibits presented at the Commission Public Hearings, September 27, 1993 through October 7, 1993
o Exhibit Five: Letter dated December 27, 1993 to Mayor David N. Dinkins from The Honorable Milton Mollen
o Exhibit Six: Commission's Interim Report and Principal Recommendations, dated December 27, 1993
o Exhibit Seven: New York City Police Department, Map of Patrol Precincts
o Exhibit Eight: The Failure to Apprehend Michael Dowd: The Dowd Case Revisited
 The Failure to Apprehend Michael Dowd
 Sergeant Trimboli and the Brooklyn North FIAU
 Trimboli and the 75th Precinct
 The R&T Grocery Store Robbery
 Corruption in the 75th Precinct
 The Trimboli Investigation
 The Pro-Active Plan
 The 79th Precinct Investigation
 The Yurkiw Investigation
 Final Developments
 Comments

In May 1992, six New York City police officers assigned to two different Brooklyn precincts were arrested not by the New York City Police Department's Internal Affairs Division ("IAD"), but by Suffolk County Police. The officers were charged with narcotics crimes that arose from their association with a drug ring in Suffolk County.

Shortly thereafter, the press disclosed that one of the arrested officers, Michael Dowd, had been the subject of fifteen corruption allegations received by the New York City Police Department over a period spanning six years -- and that not a single allegation ever had been proven by the Department, despite substantial evidence that Dowd regularly and openly engaged in serious criminal conduct....

From the beginning of our investigation, we were struck by the difference between what the Commission was uncovering about the state of corruption and corruption controls within the Department, and what the Department was publicly -- and privately -- stating about itself. The Department maintained that police corruption was not a serious problem, and consisted primarily of sporadic, isolated incidents. It also insisted that the shortcomings that had been disclosed about the Department's anti-corruption efforts reflected, at worst, insufficient resources and uncoordinated organization of internal investigations.

The Commission found that the corruption problems facing the Department are far more serious than top commanders in the Department would admit. We determined that police corruption and brutality are serious problems, and that narcotics-related corruption occurs, in varying degrees, in many high-crime, narcotics-ridden precincts in our City. We also found an anti-corruption apparatus that was totally ineffective and -- worse -- a Department that was unable and unwilling to acknowledge and uncover the scope of police corruption. As a result, the Department's anti-corruption efforts were more committed to avoiding disclosure of corruption than to preventing, detecting and uprooting it....

The corruption of Michael Dowd was not isolated or aberrational, but represents a new and serious form of corruption that exists in a number of precincts throughout our City. While the systemic and institutionalized bribery schemes that plagued the Department a generation ago no longer exist, the prevalent forms of police corruption today exhibit an even more invidious and violent character: police officers assisting and profiting from drug traffickers, committing larceny, burglary, and robbery, conducting warrantless searches and seizures, committing perjury and falsifying statements, and brutally assaulting citizens. This corruption is characterized by abuse and extortion, rather than by accommodation -- principally through bribery -- typical of traditional police corruption.

Simply put, twenty years ago police officers took bribes to accommodate criminals -- primarily bookmakers; today's corrupt cop often is the criminal....

This corruption is not limited to the isolated acts of a few rogue cops, as some have maintained. It is typically committed by groups of police officers assigned to the same command who commit crimes under color of law; through the abuse, and with the protection of their police powers; and often in the shelter of their fellow officers' silence.

Nor is corruption limited to spontaneous crimes of opportunity, as many believe. Corrupt officers create their own opportunities for corruption. They aggressively seek out sources of money, drugs and guns, and often employ sophisticated and organized methods to carry out their criminal activities.

The Commission also found that the most serious and abusive corruption is endemic to crime-ridden, narcotics-infested precincts with predominantly minority populations....

While greed is still the primary cause of corruption, a complex array of other motivations also spurs corrupt officers: to exercise power; to experience thrills; to vent frustration and hostility; to administer street justice; and to win acceptance from fellow officers....

Certain tendencies promote corruption, or a tolerance for it. An intense group loyalty, fostered by pride, shared experiences, and a pervasive belief that police can rely only on other police in times of emergency, binds officers together. While loyalty and mutual trust are necessary and honorable aspects of police work, they can generate what is perhaps the greatest barrier to effective corruption control: the code of silence, the unwritten rule that an officer never gives incriminating information against a fellow officer.

The code of silence influences a vast number of police officers, even those who are otherwise honest. Officers who violate the code of silence often face severe consequences. They are ostracized and harassed; become targets of complaints and even physical threats; and fear that they will be left on their own when they most need help on the street. Consequently, many honest officers take no action to stop the wrongdoing they know or suspect is taking place around them. The code of silence also often extends to supervisors, who seek to protect their subordinates from charges of misconduct and their own careers from the taint of scandal.

Another aspect of police culture is the "Us versus them" mentality that many police display, and which is at its worst, in high-crime, predominantly minority precincts. This divisiveness makes many police officers feel isolated from, and often hostile toward, the community they are meant to serve. The Commission's inquiries show that this attitude starts as early as the police academy, where impressionable recruits learn from veteran police officers that the ordinary citizen fails to appreciate the police, and that their safety depends solely on fellow officers. This attitude is powerfully reinforced on the job. It creates strong pressures on police officers to ally themselves with fellow officers, even corrupt ones, and to disregard the interest they have in supportive, productive relationships with the communities and residents they serve.

Police unions and fraternal organizations can do much to change the attitudes of their members. Because of this, we were particularly disappointed when the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association ("P.B.A") declined our invitation to discuss this matter. Moreover, a variety of sources, including police officers and prosecutors, have reported that police unions help perpetuate the characteristics of police culture that foster corruption. In particular, the Commission learned that delegates of the P.B.A. have attempted to thwart law enforcement efforts into police corruption. Rather than acting to protect the legitimate interests of the vast majority of its honest members, the P.B.A. often acts as a shelter for officers who commit acts of misconduct.

The code of silence and the "us versus them" mentality were present wherever we found corruption. These characteristics of police culture largely explain how groups of corrupt officers, sometimes comprising almost an entire squad, can openly engage in corruption for long periods of time with impunity. Any successful system for corruption control must redirect police culture against protecting and perpetuating police corruption. It must create a culture that demands integrity and works to ensure it.

-- The City of New York -- Commission Report: Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department, by Milton Mollen, Chair
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

Postby admin » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:47 am


The Commission's work reflects the combined efforts of a great many people. Our findings, conclusions, and recommendations are the result of intensive investigations, countless interviews, painstaking collection and analysis of evidence, and many hours of writing and editing. So many people have so generously given us their time and expertise, it is impossible to recognize them all. Nevertheless, we must single out certain individuals . and agencies for their special contribution to our work.

The people who conducted the daily work of the Commission were, of course, the Commission's very able full-time staff, headed by our chief counsel, Joseph P. Armao, deputy chief counsel, Leslie U. Cornfeld, and chief investigator, Brian M. Carroll. They provided outstanding skill and dedication in leading our investigative efforts, systems analysis, and the public hearings. We wish particularly to thank Mr. Armao and Ms. Cornfeld for applying their considerable talents over countless hours to the creation of this Report. We are grateful to the distinguished law firms of Squadron, Ellenoff, Plesent, Sheinfeld & Sorkin, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for their support of Mr. Armao and Ms. Cornfeld in performing this important public service.

Our investigators and analysts, whose tireless efforts, under the supervision of Mr. Carroll, generated many of the witnesses and much of the evidence underlying our findings and conclusions, were deputy chief investigators Frank O'Hara and Robert Machado, who were a constant source of insight and inspiration; investigators and analysts Frances Alexander, Marilyn Coleman, Marcia DeLeon, Alfred Fernandez, Brian T. Kelly, Samuel Nieves, Jody Pugach, Charmaine Raphael, Dorice J. Shea, and Gregory Thomas.

In addition, four of the Commission's investigators were loaned to us by federal and state agencies. The Commission is deeply indebted to Ronald Goldstock, the Director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, for loaning us the expert services of our deputy chief investigator Frank O'Hara. The Commission is also similarly indebted to the Regional Inspector of the Inspection Service of the Internal Revenue Service, William Gill and his predecessor Joseph Reinbold, for loaning us two of the Service's best agents, Thomas Hopkins and Frank Luce. We also wish to thank especially the New York Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and its former and current Special Agents in Charge, Robert A. Bryden and Carlo Boccia, for providing us the valuable services of Intelligence Analyst Jose Guzman.

Commission attorneys, whose many functions included supervising investigations, interviewing witnesses, and preparing the hearings, were David A Burns, Edward Cunningham, and Charles Guria. Special Counsels Jonny J. Frank and William Goodstein provided us and our staff with constant advice and guidance that were critical to the success of our projects. We are indeed grateful to former United States Attorney Andrew Maloney and to United States Attorneys Mary Jo White and Zachary Carter for continuing Mr. Frank's assignment to us. The Commission also received able assistance from two part-time volunteer attorneys, Charles King of the firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and Thomas Obermaier of the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In particular, we thank Jeffrey Zimmerman, who served the Commission diligently for over three months as an assistant counsel, and to the law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler for providing Mr. Zimmerman's valuable services to us pro bono.

We are also indebted to Professor Mark H. Moore and Mr. David M. Kennedy of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government who acted as consultants to the Commission. Their wisdom, experience, and judgment guided many aspects of our work.

The members of the Commission's support staff, Anne Sherlock, Nancy Levine, and Lourdes Sinisterra, supported the Commission in all phases of our endeavors. We thank them (and their families) for the many nights and weekends dedicated to helping us accomplish our tasks. In particular, we thank our public information director, Tom Kelly, for his dedication, professionalism, and expertise in coordinating the Commission's public information.

Many law enforcement officials and agencies gave us extraordinary assistance and cooperation. In particular, we would like to extend our warm thanks to the Honorable Mary Jo White and the staff of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York; the Honorable Robert M. Morgenthau and the staff of the District Attorney of New York County; the Honorable Charles J. Hynes and the staff of the District Attorney of Kings County; the Honorable Richard A Brown and the staff of the District Attorney of Queens County; the Honorable Robert Johnson and the staff of the District Attorney of Bronx County; and the Honorable William Murphy and the staff of the District Attorney of Richmond County; the Honorables Andrew Maloney and Zachary Carter and the staff of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York; and the Honorable James Catterson, the District Attorney of Suffolk County. We also wish to extend special thanks to Thomas A Coughlin ill, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, and his Inspector General, Brian F. Malone, who were a constant source of important assistance. In addition, we thank Mr. Joseph Yarrish, the Regional Inspector General of the United States Department of Agriculture, Supervisory Special Agent Richard Gallo, and Special Agent Michael Pagliughi for their important assistance.

We are especially grateful to United States Attorney White and Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Horowitz, Sarah Chapman, and Michelle Hirschmann for their guidance and direction in our investigation of the 30th Precinct. Similarly, we express our gratitude to District Attorney Hynes and Assistant District Attorneys Dennis Hawkins and Wanda Lucibello for their assistance and guidance in the course of our 73rd Precinct investigation, as well as United States Attorney Carter and Assistant United States Attorney Charles Gerber.

Others to whom the Commission is indebted for valuable cooperation, assistance, and advice are former Police Commissioners Patrick V. Murphy, Raymond W. Kelly, Robert J. McGuire, and Richard Condon, and former officers of the Department Joseph Trimboli, John Guido, Aaron Rosenthal, and Daniel Heggarty; James Fox, William Doran, Mark Codd, John O'Connor, and Roger Viadero of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Judge John Keenan and Judge Whitman Knapp of the Southern District of New York; Michael F. Armstrong, former Chief Counsel, Knapp Commission; Richard Girgenti, Commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Gerald W. Lynch, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Professor Lawrence W. Sherman; Paul Schechtman, Chief of the Criminal Division, United States Attorney's Office; Helene Gurian, chief counsel to the State Investigation Commission; Thomas A. Reppetto, president of the Citizens' Crime Commission; former Lieutenant David Durk; Edward T. Mechmann, former Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Laurence A Levy of the Office of the Corporation Counsel, and Grace de Fries and Mark McCreery of the Office of the Mayor.

The Commission worked in cooperation with and received much help from officials of the New York City Police Department In particular, we thank Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, First Deputy Commissioner David Scott, Deputy Commissioner John E. Maple, Deputy Commissioner Walter Mack, Deputy Commissioner Elsie Scott, Chief of Personnel Michael Julian, Deputy Chief William Casey, Deputy Chief Joseph Raguso, and Inspector Charles Campisi. We should particularly note the outstanding cooperation given the Commission by former Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Police Commissioner Bratton, Deputy Commissioner Mack and Deputy Chief Casey in the course of the 30th Precinct investigation.

Special thanks are due to the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the New York Community Trust for their generosity in providing critical funds to support the Commission's work. We also wish to thank The Acorn Group, Ltd. for their excellent and generous services in preparing our public hearing exhibits and assisting in reproducing them in this Report.

We should particularly note the outstanding cooperation of the former Mayor of the City of New York, the Honorable David N. Dinkins, for his unwavering support and for the freedom he afforded the Commission to fulfill its mandate. We further express our deep appreciation to the Honorable Rudolph W. Giuliani, the Mayor of the City of New York, for the support and valuable insights he provided to us since the date of his election to the completion of our endeavors.

Last, but never least, we thank the many police officers and citizens of New York City and elsewhere who wrote or telephoned to express their support and encouragement for our often difficult work. In particular, many thanks go to the many committed and courageous members of the Police Department who came forward to provide this Commission with invaluable information, direction, and insight to guide our inquiries. Much of the Commission's work could not have been accomplished without these individuals, who choose not to be named. It was their commitment that confirmed for us early in our tenure how fortunate this City is to be served by the fine men and women who comprise the overwhelming majority of the finest Police Department in the world.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

Postby admin » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:55 am


This Commission has spent the past twenty-two months investigating the nature, extent and causes of police corruption today and the New York City Police Department's competence and commitment to prevent and detect it. When the Commission was created in July 1992 by Executive Order of Mayor David N. Dinkins we were given a three-fold mandate: to investigate the nature and extent of corruption in the Department; to evaluate the Department's procedures for preventing and detecting corruption; and to recommend changes and improvements in those procedures. What follows is the Commission's Report on the state of corruption we observed, the Department's ability and willingness to deal with it in recent years, and our recommendations for lasting change.

Part of what we found was uplifting, part was disheartening. But our fundamental conclusion is that this City has cause for faith in the future of our police department. Unlike the situation a generation ago, this Commission can confidently report that the vast majority of New York City police officers are honest and hard-working, and serve this City with skill and dedication each day. It also appears that the work of this Commission and the attitude of the Department's current leadership has resulted in a determined commitment to fighting police corruption. This is a critical achievement for the Department and the people of our City. Without such a commitment, no efforts to combat corruption will succeed. This Report is intended to help the Department maintain and carry out that commitment -- both today and in generations to come.

Despite our overall cause for optimism, we found that police corruption is a serious problem confronting our City. Our findings raise significant concerns about the nature of corruption today, the conditions that fuel it, the Department's willingness to confront and fight it and, perhaps most troubling, the potential for these problems to grow without sustained vigilance and oversight.

What we found is that the problem of police corruption extends far beyond the corrupt cop. It is a multi-faceted problem that has flourished in parts of our City not only because of opportunity and greed, but because of a police culture that exalts loyalty over integrity; because of the silence of honest officers who fear the consequences of "ratting" on another cop no matter how grave the crime; because of willfully blind supervisors who fear the consequences of a corruption scandal more than corruption itself; because of the demise of the principle of accountability that makes all commanders responsible for fighting corruption in their commands; because of a hostility and alienation between the police and community in certain precincts which breeds an "Us versus Them" mentality; and because for years the New York City Police Department abandoned its responsibility to insure the integrity of its members.

All these factors contributed to the state of corruption we uncovered. While the systemic and institutionalized bribery schemes that plagued the Department a generation ago no longer exist, a new and often more invidious form of corruption has infected parts of this City, especially in high-crime precincts with an active narcotics trade. Its most prevalent form is not police taking money to accommodate criminals by closing their eyes to illegal activities such as bookmaking, as was the case twenty years ago, but police acting as criminals, especially in connection with the drug trade. Corruption occurred not only because of fortuitous opportunities and the frailties of human nature, but often because of created opportunities and premeditated, organized group effort.

Former police officer Michael Dowd, for example, did not just take bribes from drug traffickers to turn his head; he became a drug dealer himself and actually assisted and protected major drug operations. Former police officer Kevin Hembury did not only steal drugs, guns and money in the course of a series of unlawful searches; he was part of a gang of cops that raided drug locations almost daily for the sole purpose of lining their pockets with cash. Former police officer Bernard Cawley -- nicknamed "the Mechanic" by his sergeant because he so openly and frequently "tuned people up," or beat them -- not only used informants to identify drug locations for robberies, but beat people indiscriminately in crime-infested housing projects in his precinct. And it is alleged that former police officer Alfonso Compres, one of the fourteen officers arrested thus far in the Commission's year-long 30th Precinct investigation, did not just steal from drug dealers on the streets; he demanded regular payments to allow them to operate freely in his precinct and robbed those who did not pay -- he even used his service revolver to shoot a dealer while stealing a package of cocaine while in uniform. To cover up their corruption, officers created even more: they falsified official reports and perjured themselves to conceal their misdeeds. Thus, while more limited in extent, police corruption has become more serious and threatening than ever before.

In the face of this problem, the Department allowed its systems for fighting corruption virtually to collapse. It had become more concerned about the bad publicity that corruption disclosures generate than the devastating consequences of corruption itself. As a result, its corruption controls minimized, ignored and at times concealed corruption rather than rooting it out. Such an institutional reluctance to uncover corruption is not surprising. No institution wants its reputation tainted -- especially a Department that needs the public's confidence and partnership to be effective. A weak and poorly resourced anti-corruption apparatus minimizes the likelihood of such taint, embarrassment and potential harm to careers. Thus there was a strong institutional incentive to allow corruption efforts to fray and lose priority -- which is exactly what this Commission uncovered. This reluctance manifested itself in every component of the Department's corruption controls from command accountability and supervision, to investigations, police culture, training and recruitment.

For at least the past decade, the system designed to protect the Department from corruption minimized the likelihood of uncovering it. In a Department with a budget of over one billion dollars, the basic equipment and resources needed to investigate corruption successfully were routinely denied to corruption investigators; internal investigations were prematurely closed and fragmented and targeted petty misconduct more than serious corruption; intelligence-gathering was minimal; integrity training was antiquated and often non-existent; Internal Affairs undercover officers were often placed in precincts where corruption was least prevalent; reliable information from field associates was ignored; supervisors and commanders were not held accountable for corruption in their commands; and corruption investigators often lacked investigative experience and almost half had never taken the Department's "mandatory" basic investigative training course. Most Internal Affairs investigators and supervisors embraced a work ethic more dedicated to closing corruption cases than to investigating them. Most volunteered for Internal Affairs to get on a quick promotion track rather than to get corrupt cops off the job. Indeed, a survey of Internal Affairs investigators we conducted through an Internal Affairs "insider" revealed that over 50 percent of Internal Affairs investigators' time was spent on non-investigatory matters. And no one said a word about this state of affairs until this Commission commenced its investigations.

This was no accident. Weak corruption controls reduced the chances of uncovering serious corruption and protected police commanders' careers. Since no entity outside the Department was responsible for reviewing the Department's success in policing itself, years of self-protection continued unabated until this Commission commenced its independent inquiries.

This abandonment of effective anti-corruption efforts did more than avoid public exposure of corruption, it fueled it. It sent a message throughout the Department that integrity was not a high priority and that Department bosses did not really want to know about corruption. In short, it gave everyone in the Department an excuse for doing what was easiest: shutting their eyes to corruption around them.

And that is precisely what happened. The principle of command accountability, which holds commanders responsible for fighting corruption, completely collapsed. Supervisors and commanding officers were largely complacent about maintaining integrity. Few were concerned with corruption on their watch -- unless it exploded into an embarrassing corruption scandal. One officer in a high-crime precinct related how his commanding officer went so far as to announce at roll call that he knew his officers were committing acts of corruption, and gave them this bit of advice: if you get caught, keep your mouth shut. Obviously, any officer who hears that message will conclude that his bosses are content to let corruption continue -- despite the Department's rhetoric to the contrary.

Patrol officers, too, shut their eyes to corruption. Officers from various commands told this Commission that they would never report even serious corruption because they feared the consequence of being labeled a "rat" and lacked confidence in the Department's commitment to uncover corruption and maintain confidentiality. Indeed, so powerful is this code of silence that in dozens of Commission interviews and in recent group discussions held by the Department, police officers admitted that they would not openly report an officer as corrupt as Michael Dowd -- though almost all of them would silently hope that he would be arrested and removed from the Department.

Even corruption investigators understood that avoiding scandal was often more important than uncovering corruption. As one Internal Affairs detective testified at a private hearing:

They [IAD's commanders] didn't want us to be effective .... They didn't want us to uncover any serious misconduct or large-scale or any kind of misconduct that would bring bad press to the Department or would cause embarrassment *** [serious] cases were not aggressively pursued. There was no aggressive posture taken when it could have a potential to develop into something that would cause embarrassment to the Department.

This attitude began at the top. At the Commission's public hearings, Daniel F. Sullivan, the veteran chief of the Department's Inspectional Services Bureau -- and the Department's top uniformed commander of its corruption controls -- testified about the Department's view of corruption investigations:

The Department [was] paranoid over bad press .... There was a message that went out to the field that maybe we shouldn't be so aggressive in fighting [police] corruption because the Department just does not want bad press. (Tr. 25) [1]

This attitude is no secret in the crime-ridden, narcotics-infested communities where police corruption is most prevalent. Numerous residents and leaders of these communities told us that they often do not know whom to suspect more: the cops or the criminals. Few civilians would ever turn to the Department to report corruption -- because they believe the Department will invariably support even corrupt cops more than the public. They believe that no one with the same uniform really cares what cops do on the drug-ridden streets of North Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan, or the streets of any ghetto of this City. Regardless of the truth of this perception, it is the perception that often matters. And this perception poisons relations between the community and the police, compromising the credibility of the vast majority of honest and dedicated cops who need the community's cooperation to carry out their difficult jobs effectively.

The Department also failed -- or refused -- to recognize that police corruption is a multi-dimensional problem that cannot be overcome by focusing solely on the corrupt cop and inadequate investigations. In so doing, the Department failed to insure that corruption controls operated on a variety of fronts and in the daily operations of the Department, including: recruitment, screening, integrity training, supervision, deterrence, accountability and police culture. Because of that failure, the Department abandoned some of its best tools for conquering corruption: the honest cop and the community.

Enlisting the support of the honest cop who comprises the bulk of the Department is critical to effective integrity controls. First, most corrupt officers start off as honest and idealistic. The focus must be on keeping them honest. We found that over time the constant and repeated exposure to certain conditions and temptations -- especially those in high-crime and drug-ridden precincts -- erodes the values and principles of many officers. This makes them more susceptible to corruption and to a culture that accepts and protects it. Second, it is honest cops who, by their silence, allow corruption to continue. Reforms must focus on making honest officers feel responsible for keeping their fellow officers honest, and ridding themselves of corrupt ones. Despite this, until recently no effort was made to encourage the honest cop to become part of the solution to corruption. To the contrary, honest cops, like the community, were often discouraged from doing so. Scores of officers told us that they believed the Department did not want them to report corruption, that such information was often ignored, and that their careers would be ruined if they did so. The evidence shows that this belief was not unfounded.

Convincing honest cops to help fight corruption will not be easy. The culture of group loyalty and protection is powerful -- as it should be. It bolsters morale and is vital to successful policing. But too often an officer's loyalty to fellow officers -- even corrupt ones -- exceeds his loyalty to the Department and the law. The challenge is to redirect those otherwise admirable values away from cops who have tarnished the badge, and toward all those who honor it daily. We are convinced such a transformation is possible.

There is a strong basis for our optimism. First, history shows that a Department-wide tolerance for corruption can be turned into corruption intolerance with proper leadership and commitment. After the Knapp Commission's revelations of widespread police corruption, former Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy made integrity a centerpiece of his administration and held police commanders and supervisors personally accountable for combatting corruption. It worked. Successful integrity controls swiftly eliminated much of the corruption that had plagued the Department and a new code of ethics arose among the troops. That commitment eventually eroded because no mechanism was ever implemented to sustain it. But the point is that former Commissioner Murphy demonstrated that a corruption-infested Department with a corruption-tolerant culture changed because of aggressive leadership and unwavering commitment.

An even more important basis for our sense of optimism is the essential values of the hundreds of honest officers of all ranks we interviewed over the past months. While they may yet be reluctant to turn in fellow officers who dishonor their badges, they silently hope that such officers are removed from the job. They despise corrupt cops and want the Department to root them out of their patrol cars and from their precincts. Their attitude gives rise to much hope. It shows us that the battle to change police culture is already half won. It shows us that the wall of silence is far from impenetrable and that the beginnings of widespread intolerance for corruption already exist.

We believe the Department has the leadership and commitment needed to transform the Department once again. We are confident that the current Police Commissioner has the skills and insights to accomplish his mission of driving corruption from the ranks of his Department. We have seen what appears to be a new era in the fight against police corruption. The Department, in partnership with this Commission, has begun to implement many of the reforms set forth in this Report. Much time, effort and resources have been devoted to strengthening corruption controls, signalling the Department's genuine commitment to fighting police corruption.

The challenge we face is to maintain that commitment long after this Commissioner departs and the glare of public scrutiny subsides. We believe the Department cannot maintain that commitment alone. If history proves anything, it is that when the glare of scrutiny shines on the Department, it can and will successfully police itself. But history also proves that left to its own devices the Department will backslide, and its commitment to integrity will erode. It is no coincidence that the only two times in the past twenty years that fighting corruption has been a priority in the Department was when an independent commission publicly reviewed and disclosed the Department's failures to keep its own house in order. This is because, in the words of former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and former Chief of Inspectional Services Daniel Sullivan, outside oversight "keeps the Department's feet to the fire." Indeed, law enforcement officials unanimously told us that the Department's heightened commitment and vigilance began only after the creation of this independent oversight Commission. Only a truly independent body, working with the Department but beyond its control, can sustain this commitment -- and make the fear of failed corruption controls more powerful than the fear of corruption's disclosure.

There is another benefit to outside oversight. It will provide assurance to the public, when justified, that the Department is using its best efforts in the fight against corruption. Often, the public incorrectly views the Department's success in uncovering corruption as evidence of widespread management and integrity failures. As happened in the wake of the recent 30th Precinct case, an independent monitor can tell the public when the arrests of police officers is evidence not of the Department's failure to fight corruption but of its successful commitment to rooting it out. It can help turn what has been traditionally a matter of shame for the Department, into a cause for pride. It can help reduce the pain of corruption disclosures -- and thus the Department's reluctance to uncover it.

For these reasons, we recommend the establishment of a permanent independent oversight body so that the vigilance and determination to fight the police corruption we see in our City today does not again evaporate when public attention and political concerns turn elsewhere.

But independent oversight alone will not do the trick. The primary responsibility for combatting police corruption should and must remain with the Department. We are confident that the Department possesses the skills and the ability to fight corruption effectively. There are, however, numerous internal reforms and a new orientation to the approach of fighting corruption that must be adopted. We have recommended a wide-range of internal reforms and a new approach to combatting corruption that focuses on strengthening corruption detection and prevention, as well as on the conditions that nurture corruption and its tolerance. These include:

• improving screening and recruitment;
• improving recruit education and in-service integrity training;
• strengthening first-line supervision;
• reinventing the enforcement of command accountability;
• attacking corruption and brutality tolerance;
• challenging other aspects of police culture and conditions that breed corruption and brutality;
• enhancing sanctions and disincentives for corruption and brutality;
• strengthening intelligence-gathering efforts;
• preventing and detecting drug abuse;
• soliciting police union support for anti-corruption efforts;
• minimizing the corruption hazards of community policing; and
• legislative reforms.

External independent oversight will help insure that these reform efforts succeed. Ultimately, however, it is the Department's own officers, supervisors and commanders who will determine whether the battle is won or lost -- whether a culture that tolerates corruption can be transformed into one that drives it out. Therefore, it is imperative that both these elements are present to devise effective reforms: successful internal Department controls coupled with an independent outside entity to insure their lasting success.


To reach the conclusions and recommendations in this Report, the Commission sought information from a wide variety of sources. We reviewed thousands of Department documents and case files; interviewed a number of corrupt officers who agreed to cooperate with the Commission; conducted hundreds of private hearings and interviews of former and current police officers of all ranks; audited, investigated and conducted performance tests of the principal components of the Department's anti-corruption systems; conducted unannounced on-site systems inspections; conducted an anonymous survey of Internal Affairs investigations with the assistance of an Internal Affairs "insider"; analyzed hundreds of investigative and personnel files; interviewed private citizens, criminal defense attorneys, alleged victims of corruption and criminal informants; conducted an extensive literature review on police corruption and prevention; and held a series of roundtable discussions and other meetings with a variety of police management and corruption experts including local, state and federal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, former and current police chiefs and commissioners, inspectors general, academics and police union officials.

We also undertook a number of special projects and conducted a series of private hearings on various critical aspects of corruption control, including Internal Affairs' operations and performance, recruitment and screening, training, supervision and command accountability, integrity control officers, police perjury and falsifications, as well as an empirical study of the connection between brutality and corruption.

The Commission also initiated a number of its own field investigations in various precincts in the City, sometimes in conjunction with local and federal prosecutors, targeting areas where our analysis suggested police corruption existed. We were aided in all of our efforts by former and current members of the Department of all ranks who came forward to offer their assistance and insights about the state of corruption and corruption controls in the Department.

From September 27, through October 7, 1993, the Commission held two weeks of public hearings to present much of the information we had uncovered in the three primary areas of our mandate.


It was these investigations, audits and analyses that led to the conclusions presented in this Report. We believe that our findings and recommendations will strengthen the Department's ability and desire to fight corruption, not only today but in the future. We are not so naive as to believe that corruption can ever be completely eliminated among police officers, or in any other profession. Any occupation comprising large numbers will have some corruption. More than any other profession, however, the police face seductive opportunities to turn corrupt. Today, many neighborhoods of New York City are awash with drugs, money and guns, and our police are on the front lines. Potential for the misuse of power and strong temptations challenge many of our police officers to abandon their oaths every day. Given such circumstances, in a police department whose numbers will soon exceed 31,000, some corruption is inevitable. But the tolerance for corruption is not. Nor can it ever be acceptable.

Our mandate was limited solely to the police. We are all too aware that corruption exists in other government agencies and other professions. But there are good reasons for special concern about police corruption. For most of us, police officers are the law and a symbol of justice. They are the first guardians of our safety and well-being. We depend on them for our protection and our peace of mind when confronted with news of crime and violence each day. As a society, we, therefore, have given police officers special powers not possessed even by our highest government officials. They have the power to arrest and deprive us of our liberty, the right to bear arms, and the right to use force in carrying out their duties. Every day, we allow our police to judge our conduct as citizens and, consequently, we expect their conduct to adhere to the strictest standards. When charges of corruption are levelled at the police, therefore, the public has a right to be alarmed and to demand an accounting and a solution.

What citizens often fail to see is that the Department's vast majority of honest officers are as alarmed as they are over corruption. Police corruption victimizes the honest cop as much as it does anyone else. Not only does the corrupt act of a police officer undermine the reputation and authority of his or her honest colleagues, it places them in real danger as they patrol our streets and attempt to protect us from those who would do us harm. Nobody, therefore, has a greater stake in insuring the honesty and incorruptibility of our police than the police themselves. And nobody can carry out that responsibility better than the police of our City. The findings and recommendations that follow are intended to help insure, for this generation and those to come, that this critical responsibility is successfully carried out.



1. Throughout this Report, references to "Tr." indicate pages in the transcript of the Commissions public hearings, held from September 27, 1993 through October 7, 1993.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

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"The crooks, however, that you have uncovered, the criminals seem to be a different breed of criminals [than twenty-years ago], ... the guys you're digging up, these guys are walking around with lead-lined gloves and riding shotgun for organized crime people, it seems to me they have changed the nature of being a 'meat eater' in the Department. Instead of taking money to look the other way while someone else commits a street crime, they're out there competing with the criminals to commit street crimes themselves; and it seems to me that is a very big difference. "

-- Michael Armstrong, Chief Counsel, Knapp Commission, Testifying before the Mollen Commission, October 7, 1993

The new nature of police corruption this Commission observed shatters many of the traditional, and more comforting, notions of police corruption that existed at the time our investigation began. When former police officer Michael Dowd was arrested in May 1992, the Department maintained that he was an aberration and that corruption was limited to a few "rogue cops." Police corruption was said to be a matter of isolated and sporadic opportunities, rather than planned or organized group efforts. It was said to be motivated solely by greed, nothing more. The Commission found that these notions of police corruption were wrong and vastly underestimate the serious nature of present-day corruption.

Today's corruption is far more criminal, violent and premeditated than traditional notions of police corruption suggest and far more invidious than corruption of a generation ago. Testimony and field investigations demonstrated that its most salient forms include groups of officers protecting and assisting drug traffickers for often sizable profits -- stealing drugs, guns and money -- and often selling the stolen drugs and guns to or through criminal associates; committing burglary and robbery; conducting unlawful searches of apartments, cars and people; committing perjury and falsifying statements; and sometimes using excessive force, often in connection with corruption. Greed is the primary motive behind these activities, but a complex array of other powerful motives and conditions also spur corruption.

How widespread this corruption is in the New York City Police Department is difficult to gauge. With a staff of under twenty investigators and attorneys it was, of course, impossible to determine the full scope of the problem in the Department's seventy-five precincts and other commands. What we have concluded, however, is that in precincts where certain conditions exist -- in particular an active and open narcotics trade and high crime -- pockets of corruption are likely to exist in varying degrees of seriousness, frequency and size.


The Commission's findings are based on the consistent and repeated results of our field investigations; on information from hundreds of sources both in and out of the Department; and on an extensive analysis of patterns of corruption complaints. While we cannot disclose the full details of certain Commission field operations that are still under investigation, we can disclose that in every high-crime precinct with an active narcotics trade that this Commission examined, we found some level of corruption to exist. For example, the Commission's investigation into Manhattan North's 30th Precinct, which has thus far resulted in the arrest of fourteen police officers, revealed that a significant percentage of the precinct routinely engaged in some form of corruption. It further revealed that numerous other officers were complicit through their silence and protection of these corrupt cops.

Evidence disclosed at the Commission's public hearings in the Fall of 1993 suggests that groups of officers engaged in various levels of corruption in other narcotics-ridden precincts as well, including Manhattan South's 9th Precinct, the Bronx's 46th Precinct, Brooklyn North's 75th Precinct, and in the 73rd Precinct where the Commission's joint investigation with state and federal prosecutors has thus far led to the arrest of seven police officers on federal charges since our public hearings.

In evaluating the nature and extent of corruption, the Commission sought information from a variety of sources. Our first sources of information came from within the Commission and its staff. Our senior investigators were former police officers with long and varied experience within the Department. They were thoroughly familiar with the operations of the Department, its culture, and the likely sources of corruption facing officers today. In addition, like the Commissioners themselves, most of our staff attorneys had extensive experience in law enforcement and were thoroughly familiar with the operations of the criminal justice system. From the outset, therefore, our collective knowledge and experience guided the focus of our inquiry into the state of corruption.

Initially, we analyzed thousands of Department documents and corruption case files pertaining to corruption and reviewed thousands of corruption complaints lodged at Internal Affairs over the past five years. At the same time, Commission staff members conducted over one hundred private hearings or informal interviews with current and former members of the Department, including Internal Affairs officers of all ranks. Scores of interviews were also conducted with law enforcement officers from a number of agencies including the District Attorneys' Offices, the United States Attorneys' Offices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. We also interviewed defense attorneys, criminal defendants, private citizens who resided in precincts suspected of corruption and criminal informants who claimed to have knowledge of police corruption.

A number of police officers assigned to Internal Affairs and other commands who came forward on a confidential basis, provided us with invaluable information about corrupt activities. At an early stage of our investigation we therefore had a fairly clear picture of the prevalent forms of corruption within the Department, much of which involved the drug trade.

But the Commission's obligation extended beyond simply compiling information and allegations about corruption. We knew we must produce hard evidence, if any existed, of the extent and nature of corruption within the Department. This could be accomplished not only through our field investigations, but also through information and testimony provided by corrupt cops. Throughout our investigation we therefore sought to find police officers who had engaged in corruption who were willing to talk candidly about their own corrupt acts and those of their fellow officers. We knew that this would be no easy task. The code of silence was strong and would deter even officers publicly accused or convicted of corruption from talking frankly with us. But we also knew that if a corrupt officer could be persuaded to provide testimony or information about corruption based on personal experience, this would be of inestimable value to the Commission.

In the course of our investigation we obtained the cooperation of such officers. Sometimes with the assistance of various law enforcement agencies, we persuaded several corrupt officers to provide information to Commission investigators. Because of the constraints of continuing investigations at this time, we can identify only six: former police officer Michael Dowd of the 75th and 94th Precincts; former police officers Kevin Hembury, Philip Carlucci and Daniel Eurell of the 73rd Precinct; former police officer Bernard Cawley of the 46th Precinct; former detective Jeffrey Beck of the Drug Enforcement Task Force; and several police officers cooperating in the 30th Precinct investigation. Of these, Dowd, Hembury and Cawley testified about their careers of corruption at the Commission's public hearings. In addition, we secured the cooperation of a number of civilian accomplices and associates of corrupt police officers. These included "Mr. X," a widely used law enforcement informant, who testified at the Commission's public hearings under a pseudonym about corruption he observed among officers of the 9th Precinct.

Armed with fairly substantial knowledge of the likely patterns and locations of police corruption gained from our own analysis of corruption trends and information from reliable sources, the Commission staff launched a number of self-initiated field investigations where police corruption was likely to exist. Of course, with limited time and resources, we were unable to examine every precinct in the City, or even all the precincts where we found indications of corruption to exist. We therefore concentrated our efforts on those commands we thought were most likely to produce evidence of corruption. Because evidence generated from Commission field investigations has been turned over to prosecutors, we cannot at this time identify all the precincts in which we operated or all the details of our operations. But, whenever possible, we employed the full panoply of investigative techniques, including electronic surveillance, undercover agents, informants and cooperating or "turned" police officers.

One critical point is that our investigative approach vastly differed from the Department's limited approach to the investigation of police corruption. Instead of focusing simply on the single corrupt cop, we designed our investigations to gain evidence of broad patterns of criminal conduct and conspiratorial wrongdoing. In essence, we approached our investigation as the Department would typically approach any investigation of organized and continuing criminal activity -- except for police corruption. That the Department did not apply these basic approaches to their own corruption investigations speaks volumes about its past reluctance to uncover the full extent of police corruption in our City.

Our methods and philosophy in investigating police corruption are best illustrated by our investigation into the 30th Precinct. The Commission set out to determine whether precincts in the City suffered from corruption more widespread and complex than Internal Affairs had uncovered by the narrow "rotten apple" approach that characterized its investigations.

We began the 30th Precinct investigation by targeting precincts that exhibited the conditions that signal corruption hazards: densely populated, high-crime areas with extensive drug dealing, patrolled by tight-knit groups of officers. With these conditions in mind, we conducted an analysis of the patterns and volume of corruption complaints lodged at Internal Affairs, a review of their past investigations in certain precincts, and an analysis of individual officers with long histories of corruption allegations. The results of our analysis -- based largely on information the Police Department had known about, but ignored, for years -- focused our attention on the 30th Precinct.

In December 1992, approximately three months after the Commission staff was assembled, Commission investigators began a series of proactive investigative tactics that had been sorely lacking from the Department's internal investigations for years. Before long, our investigation identified a group of police officers who we suspected were engaged in drug corruption. Within a month, Commission investigators developed a confidential informant who confirmed that a number of police officers in the 30th Precinct were accepting payoffs from drug dealers in bodegas and various other storefront locations in the neighborhood. We immediately put our informant to work in an undercover capacity. Wearing a body recorder under the Commission's supervision, the informant was able to engage in a number of criminal transactions with an individual we suspected of paying off police officers to protect drug operations. At this time, the Commission notified the United States Attorney's Office and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office of the evidence.

In the Summer of 1993, Commission investigators arrested a civilian targeted in our undercover operations who acted as the intermediary for drug dealers who were paying off police officers for protection of their drug operations. After his arrest, this individual agreed to cooperate with the Commission and the United States Attorney's Office.

His cooperation allowed us to develop substantial evidence of drug-related corruption against a police officer who had approximately seventeen corruption allegations already filed against him at Internal Affairs, most of which involved narcotics. None of these allegations had ever been substantiated by Internal Affairs.

At this stage of the investigation, the Commission and the United States Attorney notified the Police Commissioner about our investigation. He pledged the assistance of Internal Affairs to aid the investigation.

In the Fall and Winter of 1993, the investigation developed sufficient evidence to arrest two 30th Precinct police officers on charges of narcotics conspiracy. When faced with these charges, both officers agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Over the past months, these officers have worked in an undercover capacity, wearing recording devices, under the supervision of the Commission, the United States Attorney and selected members of the Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau.

We discovered that the Department's past belief that corrupt officers will not cooperate or turn against fellow officers was wrong. When confronted with serious criminal charges, corrupt cops -- like most other criminals -- are often eager to assist prosecutors in exchange for consideration. The powerful code of silence has its limits. Indeed, largely because of this willingness to cooperate, the code name this investigation acquired was "Operation Domino."

The fruits of this investigation have thus far resulted in the arrest of fourteen police officers and ten of their drug dealer associates -- one of the largest, and most serious, police corruption cases in a generation. The investigation is still continuing at the time of the publication of this Report and additional arrests are anticipated.

Of course, the Commission could not produce an estimate of the full extent of corruption within the Department with scientific precision. We recognize that our concentration on corruption-prone precincts necessarily focused our attention on the Department's integrity problems. Notwithstanding this focus, what is significant about our findings is that whenever we searched for corruption, we found it. This helped lead to our unilateral conclusion: that where certain narcotics and high-crime conditions exist, serious corruption is likely to appear in various degrees of frequency and scope. Our conclusions, therefore, about the nature and extent of present day police corruption was borne out by specific observations made on those areas we were able to examine in detail.

It is these findings on the nature and extent of corruption to which we now turn.


Corruption and Drugs

Most serious police corruption today arises from the drug trade. And, not surprisingly, it is most prevalent in drug-infested precincts where opportunities for corruption most abound -- and the probabilities of detection have been slim. The explosion of the cocaine and crack trade in the mid-1980s fueled the opportunities for corruption by flooding certain neighborhoods with drugs and cash, and created opportunities for cops and criminals to profit from each other. It also eliminated the unwritten rule of twenty years ago that narcotics graft is "dirty money" that is not touched even by corrupt officers. With that change in attitude and opportunity came a wide spectrum of drug-related corruption ranging from opportunistic thefts from street dealers, to carefully planned group assaults on drug locations, and long term partnerships with narcotics traffickers.

The seriousness of drug-related corruption must not be minimized. Many have mistakenly characterized today's corruption as cops "merely" stealing from drug dealers -- or, in other words, punishing those who deserve to be punished. This is wrong. Today's narcotics corruption involves not only cops stealing from dealers, but cops using their authority to permit dealers and narcotics enterprises to operate freely and flourish on the streets of our City. Even worse: today's corruption involves officers using their police powers to actively assist, facilitate and strengthen the drug trade. Thus, the victims of corruption are not the drug dealers on the streets of East New York. Indeed, they are often corruption's beneficiaries. The victims of today's corruption are the thousands of law-abiding individuals who live in the high-crime, drug-ridden precincts of our City. They are victimized not only by the crime and drug trade in their neighborhoods, but by the assistance of officers who protect drug dealers rather than provide the police protection and services the public so desperately needs. Furthermore, cops who associate with drug dealers in the open view of the public breed cynicism among citizens. It breeds the sense of abandonment and hostility that poisons relations between the community and corrupt and honest cops alike. And corruption victimizes the millions of law-abiding residents of this City who depend upon the credibility and effectiveness of the police to fight the war against crime that threatens us all.

There is another new feature of narcotics-related corruption that the Commission observed. Unlike twenty years ago, today's corruption does not reach high into the chain of command. While certain supervisors engaged in corruption, most corruption was carried out by uniformed patrol officers who are surrounded daily by drug traffickers operating in the streets, apartments and storefronts of their precincts.

Nonetheless, even the most elite units of the Department are not immune to the temptations of the drug trade. For example, while the Commission was in the midst of its inquiries in March 1993, two Department detectives, along with a State Police investigator assigned to the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force -- a highly reputed operation staffed by the Police Department, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and the New York State Police -- were convicted of stealing drugs, money and jewelry from legitimate large-scale seizures, and enlisting the aid of an informant to sell the stolen drugs. And recently a detective assigned to the Organized Crime Investigation Division was arrested for selling confidential police information to members of organized crime.

We do not mean to suggest that all corruption today is linked to the drug trade or limited to drug-infested precincts. While the most pervasive forms of corruption are drug-related, the Commission learned about more traditional forms of corruption as well. These include officers who conspired with business owners to exaggerate insurance claims in return for a percentage of the recovery, received kickbacks for referrals to tow truck companies, befriended local store owners for free meals, drinks and merchandise, and used Department computers to sell various types of police information.

It is important to note, however, that as with drug-related corruption the vast majority of officers do not engage in these more traditional forms of corruption. To the contrary, most officers confront and reject these types of opportunities each day. Nonetheless, these forms of corruption should not be ignored by the Department. Many officers told this Commission that corruption is evolutionary: that it begins with minor misconduct and grows into serious corruption and crime. Thus efforts to prevent serious corruption must not disregard these more minor forms of corruption. The focus of this Commission, however, has been on uncovering the most pervasive forms of corruption today. These were typically serious crimes linked to drugs.

The New Character of Police Corruption

That minor forms of corruption are no longer the most pervasive reflects a significant change in the nature of police corruption. Twenty years ago, the most common form of corruption was relatively minor. Officers of all ranks took bribes to allow gamblers, prostitutes and others to avoid the law and escape arrest. These "grass-eaters," as the Knapp Commission called them, constituted the majority of cops in the Department at that time; serious corruption, committed by what the Knapp Commission called "meat-eaters," was relative rare. Today the situation is reversed. Minor corruption is no longer systemic among the ranks. And for that the Department should be commended. But the "meat-eaters" are the rule rather than the exception among corrupt cops today.

Corruption of a generation ago was primarily characterized by a mutually beneficial accommodation between cop and criminal. Criminals offered bribes in return for immunity from arrest and cops accepted them -- principally through standardized bribery "pads" which were highly systemic and hierarchial bribery schemes for the distribution and collection of bribes among police officers. In contrast, today's corruption is primarily characterized by serious criminal activity. Officers in numerous narcotics-infested precincts throughout the City routinely stormed drug locations and stole whatever drugs, money or other property they could find; they stopped drug dealers and their vehicles and stole from them openly; and they sometimes used violence to carry out these activities.

Much of the corruption we found, however, was a modern form of accommodation corruption -- and was far more serious and damaging than the accommodation corruption of the past. Criminals paid cops not only to turn a blind eye to criminal activities in their precincts; they paid cops to work hand-in-hand with them to actively facilitate their criminal activities. And many cops went so far to assist criminals that they used their police powers to become criminals themselves. Corrupt officers of generations past did not actually operate gambling or bootlegging establishments; they took money to allow them to operate. Michael Dowd, Bernard Cawley and others, however, did not just permit dealers to operate, they became dealers themselves and protected, assisted and helped to operate large drug rings.

"Crew" Corruption: The New Organization of Corruption

Many in the law enforcement community have remarked that "organized corruption" has vanished since the days of the Knapp Commission. This is partially -- but not entirely -- true. There is nothing today that corresponds to the long-running, institutionally perpetuated "pad" of twenty years ago. And the simplest, most common form of narcotics corruption today -- lone officers "stealing" drugs and money from dealers -- does not involve much group planning or organization.

Virtually all of the corruption we uncovered, however, involved groups of officers -- called "crews" -- that protect and assist each others' criminal activities. This was accomplished in a variety of ways, including: identifying drug sites; planning raids; forcibly entering and looting drug trafficking locations; and sharing proceeds according to regular and agreed-upon principles. These crews vary in closeness, purpose and size. In the 30th Precinct, a large group of cops worked in quasi-independent groups of three to five officers, each protecting and assisting the other's criminal activities. In the 73rd Precinct, a tightly knit group of eight to ten officers who worked together on steady tours of duty, routinely conducted unlawful raids on drug locations while on duty from 1988 to 1992. Sometimes most of the squad, ten to twelve officers, would attend clandestine meetings in desolate locations in the precincts -- like one known as "the Morgue," an abandoned coffin factory -- to drink, avoid patrol duties and plan future raids.

When Kaplan and Caracappa met, they followed a protocol designed to prevent detection. Caracappa's mother lived on Staten Island near the Verrazano Bridge. Her house on Kramer Street was a modest bungalow. Caracappa often spent his weekends there. If Kaplan wanted to meet "Marco" he set a time with Caracappa. At the appointed hour, Kaplan pulled up outside Caracappa's mother's house and beeped his horn. He then proceeded down Kramer Street. There was a small cemetery surrounded by a chain-link fence. The headstones were modest, the surnames Italian. The cemetery was nearly always empty. Kaplan would get out of his car and wait for Caracappa. The two men would walk and talk along the pathways between the graves. The cemetery rolled into a small rise overlooking the rowhouses and affording a view of the Verrazano Narrows. It was the place where Caracappa passed along information that led to many murders, and received money in return. The exchanges were ghoulish -- the Eagle and Marco taunting the dead.

-- The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia, by Guy Lawson & William Oldham

The 75th Precinct had a similar gathering location known as "the Pool" -- an isolated inlet near Jamaica Bay -- where Michael Dowd and as many as fifteen other officers from his crew would meet while on duty, to drink, shoot their guns, meet their girlfriends and plan future criminal activities. Another former police officer, Bernard Cawley from the Bronx's 46th Precinct, told the Commission how he and various members of his crew of approximately twelve police officers routinely burgled drug locations and beat local residents as well as suspected criminals. In the 9th Precinct, groups of officers would meet in a local store to drink, use cocaine, and avoid their duties.

This "crew" corruption displays a new and disturbing form of organization. Whereas pads were standardized and hierarchical -- almost bureaucratic -- crews are more akin to street gangs: small, loyal, flexible, fast moving, and often hard hitting. They establish areas to plan and discuss their operations. They often structure their legitimate police work to generate the leads they need to locate promising targets. They use the police radio network, and code names, to mount and coordinate operations. They often use Department equipment to force entry. They manipulate fellow officers, their supervisors, and the courts to their advantage. And they fuel each other's corruption through their eagerness to prove their loyalty and toughness to one another.

There is another feature of today's corruption that reflects planning and organization among officers: corruption pacts. Engaging in open criminality safely requires an agreement among the officers involved. Having such an agreement was critical to their corrupt conduct because it was a way to doubly insure that fellow officers witnessing their crimes would not report them. As Dowd, Hembury, and Cawley testified at the Commission's public hearings, early in their tenure with their partners, they came to an agreement to share the proceeds of their corrupt activities. In Dowd's case, the agreements were quite explicit. Dowd told Commission investigators that each time he was assigned a new partner, he would deliberately "test" his willingness to engage in corruption by soliciting his partner to engage in minor forms of misconduct, such as taking free food and drinking on duty. Once he knew that his partner would engage in minor misconduct, he formed an express pact with him to share the proceeds of whatever corrupt acts they engaged in and to protect each other from detection. Apparently, each of his partners was willing to enter into such an agreement.

In other cases, the agreement was not as explicit. In Hembury's case, for example, there was no express agreement between him and his partners to share the proceeds of their thefts. Their corruption was a course of conduct that developed over time. Consequently, a tacit agreement arose whereby an officer who stole money would split it with his partner and any other officer who participated in the theft. Interestingly, in most cases, even if officers had a prior agreement to split money, they would not do so unless the other officer was actually present during the theft and knew about it. There is no honor among thieves, even if they happen to be police officers.

Methods to Create Corruption Opportunities

We also found that corrupt cops did not just stumble upon opportunities for corruption, they sought them out. Numerous corrupt cops told us how they would elicit information from street dealers and other civilian accomplices on where large quantities of money and drugs could be found and when they would be transported. They would then attempt to steal from these "stash houses" or "bag men" transporting large quantities of cash. Dowd told us how he would "sniff out" potentially profitable radio runs -- and respond to those calls to be the first to arrive on the scene and fill his pockets freely. In the 30th Precinct, a group of cops devised a way to identify drug locations and stash houses based on the type of keys in a suspect's possession. Cops would unlawfully frisk suspected dealers and search known hiding places in apartment buildings for what they called "felony keys" -- keys to expensive locks. Since most residents in this low-income precinct had standard locks on their doors, a high security lock indicated a drug location, which the cops would then find and raid. Once inside a drug location, dealers usually hid their goods in floor tiles or other areas known as "traps" out of fear of rival dealers, robbers, and law enforcement. This did not hinder cops in pursuit of profit: they would climb into crawl spaces and rip out wall panelling or floor tiles -- often with the aid of devices like bathroom plungers -- until as Dowd put it the "gold mine" was hit.

Methods To Escape Detection

Methods for evading detection often were similarly sophisticated and premeditated. In the 30th Precinct there was a highly organized method of regular protection payments from dealer to cop. Cops were too clever to accept payments directly from dealers. Instead, dealers would leave cash in brown paper bags for their police accomplices in neighborhood stores. The cop would then visit the location, and walk out with a brown bag filled with cash. Some of these payment schemes were fairly systematic, others were more opportunistic. One 30th Precinct officer allegedly picked up $2,000 in cash each week, off-duty, at a local shop. Michael Dowd picked up $8,000 in cash every Tuesday from an auto stereo shop that was a known drug location in his precinct, while on duty and in uniform.

To further insure their protection, corrupt -- and even honest -- cops would warn each other when Internal Affairs or a law enforcement "outsider" was in the precinct. They would transmit code words over their police radios -- like "W0-10" which meant "watch out 7 + 3" or 73rd Precinct -- to warn of "unfriendlies" in the area. In the 73rd Precinct, corrupt cops would use code names to identify each other and certain locations over police frequencies to carry out corrupt activities.

They also employed a division of labor in carrying out corrupt acts. While committing an unlawful raid, for example, cops would regularly assign each other specific roles for carrying out the raid and insuring that they were protected from other cops and supervisors. To keep their victims quiet, they would employ a variety of schemes including leaving the dealer with some of his money or drugs, foregoing arrests, or threatening them with the consequences of making a report.

Other conditions also protected corrupt cops. First, victims of police corruption did not need much prodding to remain silent. They are often reluctant to report corruption. Internal Affairs' reliance on complaints for investigations meant that not only were officers safe from detection, but that the Department's official corruption statistics vastly underestimated the extent of the corruption problem in its precincts. More important, corrupt officers were typically protected by the silence of their fellow officers, and often the willful blindness of supervisors.

Profile of Today's Corrupt Cop; The Erosion Factor

The crime and drug-ridden conditions that breed corruption opportunities are often so overwhelming and frustrating that they breed corrosive changes in attitudes and principles even among initially dedicated and honest cops. As a result, our findings revealed that the traditional -- and rather comforting -- notion that most corrupt cops "slipped through the cracks" during recruitment and should never have been permitted to join the Department is not always true.

Some of the most notoriously corrupt cops in the Department, were ideal recruits on paper: excellent references and employment histories, well respected and liked in their communities, and good scores on their psychological evaluations. Framed as an issue of "nature versus nurture," we found that the latter -- the influence of precinct environments and job culture -- often controlled. While there is no excuse for succumbing to corruption, regular and constant exposure to certain conditions and opportunities in crime-ridden precincts changes the attitudes and behavior of some officers. This erosion theory of corruption helps explain why so many initially dedicated cops become corrupt. It further explains why so many honest cops are able to tolerate and overlook corruption among colleagues.

We also found that many -- although not all -- of these corrupt cops looked similarly "ideal" while in the Department: many of the 30th Precinct officers, for example, had outstanding performance and award records. Some had well over a dozen awards and honors for police work. Some cops performed well because despite their corruption they wanted to be effective cops; others because a stellar police performance served as a good cover to corruption. No one suspects a hero cop is a corrupt cop, as one arrested officer put it. Other corrupt cops, of course, had dismal performance records: few or no arrests in high-crime precincts, poor attendance and sick leave records. They had long ago abandoned their responsibilities as police officers.

The Mixed Motives Behind Corruption: A New Framework for Analyzing Corruption

We also found that the traditional idea that police corruption is motivated solely by greed, no longer fully reflects what we found on the streets of New York. While money is still the primary cause of corruption, a complex array of other motivations also spur corrupt officers: to exercise power over their environments; to vent frustration and hostility over their inability to stem the tide of crime around them; to experience excitement and thrills; to prove their mettle to other officers and gain their acceptance; and to administer their own brand of street justice because they believe the criminal justice system will administer none. Corrupt officers usually raided drug locations for profit, but sometimes also to show who was in control of the crime-ridden streets of their precincts; sometimes to feel the power and thrill of their badges and uniforms; sometimes because they believed that vigilante justice was the only way to teach a lesson or punish those who might otherwise go unpunished.

Police falsifications and perjury too result from a variety of motives. Sometimes to cover up corruption or brutality; sometimes for personal gain; and sometimes for what is erroneously perceived as legitimate law enforcement ends.

As with corruption, officers use unnecessary force for a variety of reasons. In the vast majority of instances, force is necessarily used to protect the safety of officers or citizens. Officers frequently could not carry out their responsibilities without resorting to necessary force. But we have learned through testimony and field investigations that force is also used outside the bounds of necessity: to further corruption for profit; to establish respect, exert power, and vent frustration; and to administer what they believed was street justice.

Given these mixed motivations for corruption and violence, we found it useful to analyze the patterns of corruption we uncovered in terms of three categories: corruption for profit; corruption for power; and corruption for perceived "'street" law enforcement ends. By focusing on the officers' intent, this framework helps to identify the causes and conditions that spawn particular forms of corruption -- as well as strategies to prevent them.


The salient patterns of corruption we uncovered were strikingly similar in precincts where comparable conditions existed. Each group of corrupt officers, however, established their own distinctive corruption methods, based largely on unique precinct characteristics. In Manhattan South's 9th Precinct, for example, where there exists an abundance of street dealers, public testimony indicated that one of the most common patterns of corruption involved cops shaking down street dealers. In Brooklyn North's 75th Precinct and Manhattan North's 30th Precinct, where large-scale, cash-laden drug traffickers operate, we found the patterns of corruption were more serious and complex. To explain the complexity and range of modern police corruption, it is essential to examine each of the predominant patterns of corruption we found. These include:

Section 1: Cops Committing Theft

• from street dealers
• from radio runs
• from warrantless searches and seizures
• from legitimate raids and searches
• from car stops and drug "couriers"
• from off-duty robberies;

Section 2: Cops Protecting and Assisting Narcotics Traffickers;

Section 3: Cops as Drug Dealers and Users;

Section 4: Police Perjury and Falsifications; and

Section 5: Police Violence and Brutality.


Thefts From Street Dealers: "Shake Downs"

The most common and simplest form of narcotics corruption is "shaking down" street dealers. According to a number of corrupt police officers and informants, officers would approach drug dealers operating on the streets of their precincts, force them to an alleyway, behind a building, or some other secluded location, and steal whatever drugs or money they found in their possession. If the dealer kept his drugs and money hidden somewhere nearby, some officers would threaten the dealer with arrest or with violence unless he revealed its location. Officers involved in the shakedown would sometimes split their "score" or proceeds in the patrol car or elsewhere. If drugs were stolen by the officer, they were usually concealed in a location to which the corrupt cop would return on his way home.

The size of scores from shakedowns varied depending on the dealer and the nature of the drug trade in a particular precinct. Most scores were not very large, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Nonetheless, even a high volume of small shakedowns could substantially contribute to an officer's income. Dowd and his partner set shakedown goals of $300 to $500 a day -- and more in the holiday season -- which totaled approximately $1,500 to $2,500 a week. Scores in the heaviest narcotics precincts like the 30th Precinct, however, could bring in thousands of dollars, from the seizure of drugs and cash. One former 30th Precinct officer, for example, chased a dealer into an apartment building, and stole a bag of crack and cocaine, which he later sold to another dealer for $8,000.

Even this most simple form of narcotics corruption was not without premeditation and planning. For example, to avoid complaints, officers typically let drug dealers go free after their scores, or left them with some cash and drugs. As Dowd, Hembury, Cawley and others explained, if you left a drug dealer happy after stealing from him, he would not only be unlikely to complain, but would come to accept police shakedowns as a routine "tax" or cost of doing business. In many cases, officers would pretend to take drugs and money for vouchering as forfeited property and were doing the drug dealer a favor by letting him go unarrested. Far from considering himself the officers' victim, the dealer would then consider himself their friend. Officers could then use him to gain information about other dealers' lucrative drug locations.

These shakedowns were motivated primarily by greed -- but not entirely. Corrupt officers said they would sometimes steal ten or fifteen dollars from dealers, just to show who was boss in their precincts.

The extent of shakedowns depended largely on the kind of drug trade in the precinct and the officers' level of experience with corruption. Shakedowns were most common in precincts with a lot of street-level sales, rather than distribution of large quantities of drugs. Simply put, corruption was tied to the opportunities the local narcotics-trade presented.

We also found that corrupt cops often begin their corruption with simple shakedowns. Like Dowd and dozens of others, they then graduated to more lucrative, bold, and risky activities. Others stole from dealers only a few times in their career, without ever graduating to more serious corruption. But even this dabbling with corruption should not be ignored. Once an officer crosses the line, corruption of all types is easier to accept, justify, and protect.

Thefts From Radio Runs

Calls for service or radio runs are the everyday business of patrol officers. In busy, high-crime precincts, some officers respond to twenty or more radio runs each day. These calls for service -- to the scenes of robberies, burglaries, domestic disputes, assaults, and murders -- afford the enterprising corrupt officer with numerous opportunities for gain by providing a legitimate reason for entering a premise. These opportunities are, of course, particularly abundant in high-crime drug precincts, where large amounts of cash, drugs, guns, jewelry, or other expensive property are often stashed in apartments, stores and other locations.

Police officers, especially those assigned to busy precincts, come to know their precincts extremely well, and can immediately identify a location where the opportunity for a score exists. Corrupt cops told us that they became expert at sensing corruption opportunities and would race to certain locations to search for money, drugs or other valuables before other officers arrived. Dowd, for example, testified that he and his partner would speed to what they called "rare locations", places not often the subject of radio runs -- even if it was miles outside their assigned sector -- because they were often stash houses used by drug rings, or private residences, where money or other valuables were likely to be kept.

Dowd once responded to a shooting incident at a home outside his sector because he suspected it was a well-stocked drug den. Dowd and his partner, Kenneth Eurell, were, as planned, the first to arrive at the scene. They entered the house, ignoring a corpse lying in the doorway. Dowd arranged to have other officers who had responded to the scene occupied while he searched the rooms. Inside a bedroom, Dowd found heroin and a semiautomatic weapon which he stuffed into a duffel bag. He and Eurell then left the premises passing other officers and a sergeant who never questioned them about leaving the scene of a crime with a large duffel bag. Their score from that radio run: approximately $1,200 after selling the heroin to a local drug dealer, plus a gun.

Radio runs provided yet another avenue for corruption. In the 75th Precinct, for example, corrupt officers generated their own radio runs to specific locations by calling 911 with manufactured complaints. This practice provided a cover to justify an unlawful presence or entry into a location. In another precinct, which we are not at liberty to identify, police officers' used civilian accomplices, such as drug dealers, to call 911 with false complaints about locations where cash or drugs were stored. After receiving the radio runs generated by their associates, corrupt officers had an apparent justification to enter the premises to steal the contraband.

Not all thefts from radio runs arise from the narcotics trade. Enterprising officers find -- or create -- opportunities for profit in a variety of situations ranging from stealing from the home or body of a deceased person, to stealing cash or property from a private residence. In what Dowd testified was his most embarrassing act of corruption, he responded to a radio call from a sixteen-year old girl whose home had been burgled. With theft in mind, Dowd asked her if any money had been stolen. She responded that her mother kept their savings hidden, but she did not know where. He asked her to call her mother at work to find out where she hid her cash, and offered to check it for them. The mother and daughter trustingly told Dowd where their savings -- $600 -- was hidden. He ran to "check," slipped the money into his pocket, and reported that their savings too had been stolen, failing to mention that he was the one who stole it.

Theft From Unlawful Searches and Seizures: "Raids," "Doing Doors," "Booming Doors"

Corrupt officers do not often worry about having a pretext for entering apartments, stores, and other private locations. The Commission's investigation revealed that forcible, warrantless entries for the purpose of theft were at times a regular practice for on-duty officers in the precincts we examined. In groups ranging in size from two to thirteen, they would actively seek out locations where drugs and money were hidden, break in without warrants or probable cause and steal whatever drugs, money, guns, or other valuables they could find.

In the 73rd and 75th Precincts these break-ins were known as "raids," and three corrupt officers from the 73rd Precinct who agreed to cooperate with the Commission, all reported that approximately twelve to fifteen officers conducted these raids from 1986 through 1992. In the 30th Precinct this practice was known as "booming doors," and officers and drug dealers reported that a large number of officers regularly boomed doors for at least the past four years. In the 46th Precinct, the practice was known as "doing doors," and corrupt officers and drug dealers from that precinct told us that a closely knit group of twelve to fifteen officers assigned to a uniformed narcotics enforcement unit known as the Bronx Area Narcotics Drive ("B.A.N.D.") "did doors" in groups of two to six officers, almost daily -- sometimes storming eight to ten drug locations in a single tour.

The size of scores from these raids varied by precinct, reflecting differences in the nature of the drug trade in each. Scores in the 73rd and 75th Precincts ranged from several dollars to several hundred dollars. The biggest score Hembury ever made was several hundred dollars. Scores in the 46th Precinct, which had a more active and organized drug trade, ranged from several hundred to several thousand dollars -- Bernard Cawley's biggest score from a University Avenue drug den was over $32,000: $16,000 in cash, two handguns, 1-1/2 kilograms of cocaine which he sold to another officer for $16,000. In the 30th Precinct, which has one of the largest and most organized drug trades in the City, the scores were often in the several thousand dollar range. The largest "score" of which we are currently aware in that precinct: over $100,000.

But large scores were often the exception, not the rule in these precincts. As officers uniformly told us, money was not always the sole objective of these raids. In the 73rd Precinct, for example, there was not always enough money to be made to justify the risk of detection. The thrill of breaking down doors, of raiding drug dens, of shifting the balance of power from the criminals to the cops was also much of the allure of the activity. There was also a sense of justification that many corrupt cops would explain in interviews: that they were giving criminals what they deserved -- and what they believed the community really needed. Although we know that this was more of a rationalization than a true motive, this attitude did help corrupt cops justify their criminality to themselves and to each other. It also helped honest cops justify their silence.

But any such rationalization is baseless. Rather than shifting the balance of power from criminals to cops, these raids strengthen the power of drug dealers. They allow dealers to operate with immunity from the criminal justice system because cash or drugs buy their continued freedom. For the dealers, the raids and thefts became just a routine cost of doing business in an otherwise profitable precinct. In addition, these corrupt cops helped maintain the supply of drugs in the precinct by selling drugs they had stolen from one dealer back to others at low prices thereby supplying a relatively cheap source of drugs to friendly dealers for their own profit.

Despite differences in jargon and sizes of scores, the raids in Brooklyn North, Manhattan North and the South Bronx displayed strikingly similar features: they were planned and involved groups of officers who aggressively prospered from the drug trade. And in many of the precincts we examined, corrupt officers said there was an evolution to the raids.

In the 73rd and 75th Precincts, raids often began as a means to accomplishing a law enforcement end: arresting otherwise unapprehendable drug dealers who sold narcotics out of fortified locations (usually apartments, abandoned buildings, and storefronts) equipped with hiding places and escape routes meant to thwart law enforcement. At the outset, raids were haphazard and infrequent. They often took place at the end of the squad's tour so that an officer making an arrest in the course of a raid would maximize overtime payments. To justify the probable cause for the arrest, officers would falsify arrest and other records, and if the case went so far, perjure themselves before a grand jury or at trial to support the charges against the drug dealers and to escape charges against themselves.

Over time, however, the raids assumed a different purpose: to steal drugs, money, and handguns from the drug dealers. And, as their purpose changed, the raids became more frequent and highly organized.

Planning a raid in the 73rd Precinct, for example, often began right in the stationhouse or locker room while officers prepared for their tour of duty. Officers discussed plans about raids of drug locations and which of them wanted to participate. They selected locations based on their own observations of which drug spots in their sectors appeared to be doing a brisk business or on information provided by drug dealers, prostitutes, or other denizens of the neighborhood with whom they were friendly. Corrupt officers in the 30th Precinct often had their own regular group of "friendly" dealers who would provide information about rival dealers. Some 30th Precinct officers also rousted drug dealers for the keys to their apartments, often searching for keys to high security locks which indicated prize raid sites. Officers in the 46th Precinct had fewer sources -- but they utilized them to the fullest. Cawley, for example, testified about how he and his partners enlisted the assistance of a drug dealer to help them make bigger scores. After arresting the dealer on drug possession charges, they extracted an agreement from him to provide information about lucrative drug spots in return for his freedom. A profitable partnership thus began.

In one instance, the informant told Cawley and his partner about an apartment where drugs and money were hidden beneath a tile in the bedroom floor. While the informant was inside the apartment, Cawley and his partner kicked in the door, and chased everyone out except the informant. Alone in the apartment, the three found $800 in cash under a floor tile, seven ounces of cocaine, and a handgun. The officers then pretended to arrest the informant by placing handcuffs on him and putting him in their radio car so that the people in the area would not suspect him of conspiring with the police. They then drove to a nearby motel where they split the money and drugs in three equal shares. For his safety, the informant stayed at the motel for several days to give the drug dealers in the precinct the appearance that he had been jailed because of the arrest. Before he went back to his residence in the precinct, Cawley gave the informant bogus court documents to show to anyone who may have questioned the arrest.

To plan and carry out raids, officers in the 73rd Precinct arranged clandestine meetings in desolate locations within the precinct by calling each other over the Department radio on an unused frequency. To mask their communications, officers used code names to call each other and to identify the place they arranged to meet. For example, Hembury was known as "Klondike," Eurell as "Double D," and Carlucci as "Pasquale." Their meeting place was known as "The Morgue." A typical radio communication to arrange a secret meeting among these officers would be: "Double D go to ten (change frequency). Double D and Pasquale, meet Klondike at the Morgue in ten (minutes)." If supervisors were monitoring the radios -- as they should have done -- no one ever asked what that meant.

Although there was no consistent number of sector cars or officers who would join the meetings, on occasion most of the 73rd Precinct evening tour attended these secret rendezvous -- four to seven sector cars with two officers in each car. Once at the meeting place, the officers discussed their plans for a raid, selected a location and assigned themselves various roles. Some officers would be responsible for breaking through the front door -- often with Department issued hammers and crowbars -- while other officers covered the rear of the building, the roof or other escape routes. The patrol cars then approached the location in tight formation, with radios and headlights off to escape detection and gain the element of surprise over dealers inside the premises they were about to assault.

Once inside it was every officer for himself. The officers stole whatever valuables they could find in the premises or on the people inside. Drug dealers within the building were typically let free, unless one of the officers wanted to make an arrest for overtime reasons. In that case, some of the money and drugs was vouchered, or recorded as evidence, to sustain the basis for the arrest.

Officers typically divided their "booty" according to their own set of rules. An officer who stole money split it with his partner, and with other officers at the raid who knew that money was stolen. The money might be split in the precinct bathroom, locker room, or at a predetermined location where the officers stopped to meet before driving home. Two officers hid their $800 score in rubber gloves in a nearby park.

Officers disposed of stolen drugs in one of three ways. The drugs were discarded or destroyed, kept for personal use, or sold to officers who had connections with drug dealers. If the drugs were sold, the profits were divided between the officer who stole the drugs and the officer who arranged the sale.

Stolen handguns were always a prize commodity. They provided several hundred dollars if sold. While some officers sold their stolen guns -- sometimes to criminals -- most officers either threw them away or brought them home. One officer even told us that stolen guns could be used as a "throw-away" to plant on a suspect in the event of a questionable police shooting.

Raids often resulted in a good measure of violent conduct on the part of these corrupt officers. To enter locations, they broke down doors with hammers and rams; to find drugs and money, they tore open walls and floor boards. They forcibly detained and rifled through their victims' pockets and broke open safes and storage boxes. They threatened them with physical harm to get information about places and people to make even bigger scores. Sometimes, when unsuccessful in making a score, they ransacked the place.

Thefts From Lawful Searches and Seizures

Corrupt police officers also have stolen contraband in connection with lawful searches and seizures. Seized items were not even safe once they were in the stationhouse. In the 30th Precinct, for example, it is alleged that some of the arrested officers once stole about $80,000 cash from a locked safe that was brought to the stationhouse for vouchering after a seizure.

This kind of corruption usually does not involve patrol officers. In March 1993, three investigators -- two Department detectives and a New York State police trooper -- assigned to the elite New York Joint Drug Enforcement Task Force ("D.E.T.F.") were arrested for their attempt to sell heroin they stole from a lawful seizure of narcotics. All three subsequently pleaded guilty to federal narcotics distribution charges. One of the convicted detectives, Jeffrey Beck, provided information to the Commission.

In the D.E.T.F. case, instead of stealing directly from drug dealers, officers stole drugs, money, jewelry and other valuables seized as evidence in the course of legitimate investigations and safeguarded within the D.E.T.F. headquarters. According to Beck and court documents, Detective Joseph Termini stole heroin from a seizure of narcotics from a large-scale drug organization. He then recruited Beck and another D.E.T.F. officer to help him sell the stolen drugs. Beck, in turn, convinced a long-standing D.E.T.F. informant to sell the heroin for $25,000. Showing more honesty than the police officers for whom he worked, the informant told the Department's Internal Affairs Bureau of the officers' criminal plans and they were arrested.

The investigation revealed that the theft and attempted sale of the stolen narcotics by police officers was part of a pattern of crime involving civilian accomplices, that included: thefts of money and other valuables from the site of search warrant locations; conspiracy to rob drug traffickers under investigation by the D.E.T.F.; and conspiracy to burgle stash houses used by drug dealers under investigation. D.E.T.P. members used their positions as police officers to gain confidential information, including information from court-authorized wiretap interceptions, and to burgle drug locations before search warrants could be executed.
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Thefts From Car Stops and Drug Couriers

Because of the unusually large quantities of drugs and drug money being transported in and out of high volume narcotics precincts, corrupt cops devised schemes to score from the transportation of these large stashes.

Corrupt cops, for example, made unlawful stops and searches of cars they suspected of carrying drugs or money. When their suspicions were correct, the scores usually amounted to thousands of dollars. One 30th Precinct officer allegedly once found a bag of cocaine in an unlawfully stopped car which he sold to a dealer for $16,000. Another cop allegedly made $26,000 off a single car stop from drugs he found and later sold to a local dealer. Finding the stash in a stopped car is sometimes no easy feat. Drug traffickers -- ever-concerned about being stopped or robbed -- sometimes hid their goods in a concealed compartment, known as a "trap," which cannot be located or opened without knowledge of the opening mechanism. Some traps, for example, could only be opened by putting the car in a specific gear while stepping on the brake pedal. Corrupt cops -- like many effective, honest ones -- were experts at finding and opening these traps.

Occupants of the car usually would be allowed to drive away without arrest. This minimized the likelihood of a complaint. But sometimes the occupants would be arrested, with only part of the drugs or cash vouchered -- and thus charged with a lesser crime than warranted. Because the quantities of drugs transported in the 30th Precinct are often so large, skimming even part of the drugs could lead to thousands of dollars in profits.

When the stop or search was unlawful, officers falsified their statements about the arrest to cover for the unlawful acts. Fabricating a traffic violation or claiming to see contraband in-plain view was a commonly used pretext -- which was virtually never questioned by supervisory officers. In one score from a car, for example, the records indicate that the officers fabricated a story for the District Attorney's Office about a car running a red light, and that they then observed the butt of a gun in plain view. The driver of the car in this case complained about the unlawful stop, but the allegation was never substantiated.

In one precinct, another scheme was to rob drug couriers or "bag men" who carried large sums of drug money on their way to make wire transfers. On-duty officers would stake out money-wiring locations and rob the courier before he arrived to make the transfer. These robberies were typically well planned and organized. Cops would get -- often extort -- information from dealers about when large drop-offs would be made. They would then sit in their patrol cars waiting until their prey appeared. This scheme was so lucrative that there was competition among corrupt cops about who would make the score. On one occasion, two cops were sitting in their patrol car in front of a transfer location waiting for the pickup person to arrive. When he got there, another patrol car suddenly sped to the scene, jumped the man and stole his cash. The two preempted cops were given a token sum for their thwarted efforts.

Similarly, in the D.E.T.F. case, Jeffrey Beck told us that his former colleague, Detective Joseph Termini, had plans -- which never materialized -- to use confidential police information to rob a car transporting large quantities of money. Officers in the 73rd Precinct had similar plans to rob drug couriers which never materialized.

Off-Duty Robberies

For some corrupt officers, criminal activities did not end with their tour of duty. For these cops, knowing the drug business in their precincts lured them back on off-duty hours to stage armed robberies of drug spots. These officers either worked alone, with civilian accomplices, or with other officers. In each case, however, the knowledge, gun, and badge that comes with being a police officer facilitated their crimes.

The most notorious case of this kind came to light in June 1992. Police Officer Robert Cabeza, a five-year veteran of Brooklyn's 83rd Precinct, was arrested for robbing a Brooklyn liquor store and murdering its owner in February 1991. Cabeza committed the robbery while off-duty and accompanied by civilian accomplices. In the course of the robbery, Cabeza displayed his police shield to his intended victims to gain access to an area protected by a plexiglass barrier. Once inside, Cabeza's accomplices followed. Cabeza then shot the store owner in the back as he lay on the floor. Cabeza had a history of complaints for drug dealing and robbery at Internal Affairs before he was finally arrested as a result of an investigation conducted by Brooklyn homicide detectives. [2]

In January 1993, another officer, Fabian Lorenzo of Manhattan's 9th Precinct, was arrested as a result of an investigation of a gang of criminals that broke into apartments and private houses to rob drug dealers of drugs, guns, and cash. Internal Affairs detectives arrested Lorenzo and three civilian accomplices as they planned to stage an armed robbery. At the time of his arrest, Lorenzo was carrying his service revolver and police badge.

Sergeant Joseph Trimboli's aborted investigation into the crimes of Michael Dowd and other officers of the 75th Precinct began, in fact, with an off-duty robbery. In July 1988, former 75th Precinct police officers Walter Yurkiw, Henry Guevara, and Jeffrey Guzzo committed an armed robbery of an East New York bodega that fronted for a drug sale location. After their arrest, Internal Affairs and Trimboli learned from a number of sources that Yurkiw, Guevara, Guzzo, Dowd, and a civilian accomplice often acted together as a stickup gang that committed several off-duty robberies of drug locations in the 75th Precinct. According to one informant, he tipped off Yurkiw and Dowd when narcotics and cash were present in drug spots they robbed. According to Dowd's own statements to us, he and these other officers committed a number of armed robberies not only for the loot, but to assist the drug operation he was protecting by intimidating competing dealers and disrupting the business of rival drug traffickers.


Some corrupt police officers went so far as to conspire with drug dealers to protect, assist, and strengthen their drug operations. They worked hand-in-hand with drug traffickers and other criminals to thwart law enforcement efforts. Narcotics protection schemes existed twenty years ago, but on a much more limited scale. As the narcotics trade has grown, so too have the opportunities for this form of corruption not only for officers in special narcotics units as was exclusively the case in the past, but for much of the patrol force which now has regular contact with drug operations.

There is one motive only for this form of corruption: money, and often much of it. Some drug organizations are willing to pay handsomely for the power, prestige and protection of having a New York City police officer on their payrolls. The most notorious case of police officers assisting large-scale drug rings was Michael Dowd and his partner, Kenneth Eurell, who from 1987 through 1988 received $4,000 a week each to protect drug organizations operating in their precinct. Their Department paychecks: $400 a week -- ten times less than their illicit profits. In fact, Dowd's weekly narcotics profits were so high that, as he testified at the public hearings, he sometimes forgot to collect his Department paycheck. Officers in the 30th Precinct also collected thousands of dollars a week each for protection -- generally several hundred dollars from various small dealers in exchange for immunity from arrest.

There are many ways cops use their powers to assist drug traffickers -- and many levels of involvement and assistance that can be provided. As the 30th Precinct case shows, "protection" ranges from cops providing permission to operate, to facilitation of operations; from occasional assistance, to long-term agreements for regular protection services. The most basic level of assistance is cops stealing drugs and money from street dealers in return for letting them operate freely on that day. The protection is immediate: no long-term relationship or promises are made. No active facilitation is involved. The protection offered dealers often was more long-term, organized and systematic. Cops and dealers entered into agreements whereby cops would allow dealers to operate freely and openly in their precincts, in exchange for regular, set payments that would be dropped off for cops at a specified location. The drop-off was usually at neighborhood stores to avoid direct contact and suspicions.

Some officers were paid not only to permit, but to facilitate drug operations. The most extreme level of facilitation is when the corrupt cops themselves become an integral part of the operation of the narcotics enterprise; when the corrupt cops themselves become dedicated drug traffickers. Such was the case with Michael Dowd, who when asked at the public hearings if at the height of his career he considered himself to be a cop or a drug dealer, he replied that he was "both." When asked whether he owed his allegiances as a New York City cop to the community he was supposed to be policing or the drug traffickers he was protecting, he replied, "I guess rd have to say the drug traffickers." (Tr. 141)

According to Dowd, protecting drug rings in his precinct began with his meeting Baron Perez, a narcotics dealer who ran an automobile stereo shop that was actually a front for a drug distribution network. Dowd and Eurell began to visit Perez regularly while on duty and in uniform, taking their meals and drinking beer there to show their willingness to engage in misconduct in an effort to associate themselves with his drug business. As ties of trust developed between them, Dowd used cocaine in Perez's presence to seal their ties of confidence and eventually asked him to sell drugs that he had stolen while on duty. Soon a mutually beneficial -- and lucrative -- partnership between cop and crook began. Before long, Dowd met the drug ring's boss, Adam Diaz, and became a central figure in the operation of Diaz's drug ring by providing information, finding new drug locations and intimidating rival drug lords.

The 30th Precinct investigation unearthed several cops who spent much of their days with their drug dealer friends rather than policing the streets. While Dowd was the most extreme case of police officer turned drug trafficker, he was not alone. The Commission observed numerous ways other corrupt officers actively assisted and facilitated the drug trade in New York City. First, officers provide dealers with confidential information about such things as narcotics raids and undercover operations to protect them from detection by the police. Sometimes the information was real, sometimes not. Sometimes it was provided regularly, sometimes only when the opportunity arose. Dowd and Eurell, for example, were once offered $8,000 to provide information on planned police activity in a drug area in their precinct over the July 4th weekend. As patrol officers, they had no specific information on the narcotics division's planned activities, but based "just on common sense" as Dowd testified, they told the dealers their operations would be safe that weekend. Dowd and Burell spent the weekend at home and made $4,000 each. They were later put on retainer by a major drug ring to regularly provide intelligence on narcotics operations.

Officers, however, also provide genuine information on planned raids to thwart law enforcement efforts. On one occasion, Dowd testified that he learned that narcotics officers planned to raid a bodega under his protection. While in uniform, he immediately entered the bodega, pretended to buy two beers and signalled that a raid was imminent. When the raid took place a short time later, all operations had been shut down as Dowd had instructed. Law enforcement's efforts to shut dawn an active drug location were blocked, because of a corrupt cop.

Police officers also provide another valuable commodity to drug traffickers: armed police protection. This is typically done by protecting the transportation or transfer of large quantities of narcotics and cash. Officers do this by escorting a car transporting drugs or cash and intervening if the dealer's car is stopped by the police or rival dealers -- a practice known as "riding shotgun." In June 1993, for example, the Queens District Attorney's office charged officer Andre McDougal from Queens' 101st Precinct with accepting $10,000 to escort and protect a drug dealer's delivery of $100,000 in illicit drug proceeds. The officer's role was to intervene in the event the delivery car was stopped by the police. As recently as May 1994, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office charged Sergeant Robert Santana of the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights with conspiring with a drug dealer to provide him armed protection during a narcotics transaction.

Having a cop on the payroll provides drug organizations with another valuable asset: power, or "juice" as Dowd put it. Corrupt officers and dealers who provided information to the Commission reported that traffickers sometimes paid officers to simply watch, while in uniform or in their patrol cars, while drugs or cash were being transported or loaded into a car. The key was the cop's visibility. This protected an organization from rival dealers by signaling to them -- and possibly to any law-abiding citizens watching -- that this drug ring has the power of a cop behind it.

Corrupt cops also used their police powers to strengthen the powers and profits of protected dealers by harassing and intimidating their competition. Some officers, for example, would get information from "friendly" dealers about rival dealers' well-stocked stash houses. They would then raid these locations, keep the cash, and sell any stolen drugs back to their dealer-associates at cheap prices. Dowd also testified that he and others would sit in his police car outside a rival dealers' sale location to disrupt his business. On other occasions, officers would submit narcotics intelligence reports on a rival's operations to instigate enforcement activities against them.


What these various forms of protection reveal is far more than cops merely making money off drug traffickers. They reveal cops actively using their authority to facilitate and strengthen the drug trade and to thwart law enforcement efforts in the war against drugs. They reveal how easily narcotics corruption turns corrupt cops into criminals.


Drug corruption among several of the corrupt officers we interviewed did not end with efforts to score off drug dealers. Some of them were drug dealers and users themselves. For these officers, the theft of drugs was motivated solely by their desire to maintain a supply of drugs that they could distribute for profit.

There are three principal ways corrupt officers act as drug dealers. Some officers, in the course of their duties, cultivated connections with drug dealers who resided in their precincts. They would transact drug business with them both on or off duty, often in uniform. Certain officers arrested in the 30th Precinct, for example, routinely sold their stolen drugs to particular "friendly" dealers who operated in their precinct. We have been told that similar arrangements existed in other precincts including the 9th Precinct.

Other officers used fellow officers as "fences" for stolen drugs. In the 30th Precinct, for example, officers without connections to drug distributors would make deals to sell stolen drugs through colleagues they knew had such connections. Cawley and other officers of the 46th Precinct consistently used one particular colleague to sell stolen drugs and other contraband on their behalf. When an officer fenced drugs for a fellow officer, he ordinarily received a percentage of the sale price.

Still other officers, like Dowd, Kenneth Eurell and Carlucci, had off-duty, civilian connections, most of whom were personal friends and neighbors. They sold them the drugs they stole while on-duty in New York City for distribution in the localities where they resided. In fact, the arrests of these officers resulted from their involvement in a drug ring in Suffolk County rather than their criminal activities while on police duty in Brooklyn.

Police officers have also told us that they believe that personal drug use, especially the use of cocaine and steroids, has become a significant problem within the Department, even among officers who do not engage in other kinds of corruption. While the Commission cannot determine the full extent of this problem, information from these officers as well as from the Department's health services officials indicates that drug abuse among police has grown considerably in recent years. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all suspensions and dismissals of police officers is for drug use.

Because of the danger that drug abusing police officers pose to their colleagues and the community, the Commission recommends that a new aggressive drug deterrence and detection program be implemented, as is discussed in Chapter Five.


"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

-- Sir Walter Scott

Police perjury and falsification of official records is a serious problem facing the Department and the criminal justice system -- largely because it is often a "tangled web" that officers weave to cover for other underlying acts of corruption or wrongdoing. One form of corruption thus breeds another that taints arrests on the streets and undermines the credibility of police in the courtroom. When the police lose their credibility, they significantly hamper their own ability to fight crime and help convict the guilty. A police officer's word is a pillar of our criminal justice system. On the word of a police officer alone a grand jury may indict, a trial jury convict, and a judge pass sentence. The challenge we face in combatting police falsifications, is not only to prevent the underlying wrongdoing that spawns police falsifications but to eliminate the tolerance the Department and the criminal justice system exhibit about police who fail to tell the truth.

Our investigation into this form of corruption focused on a number of manifestations of the problem, including: testimonial perjury, as when an officer testifies falsely under oath before a grand jury or at a court proceeding; documentary perjury, as when an officer swears falsely under oath in an affidavit or criminal complaint; and falsification of police records, as when an officer falsifies the facts and circumstances of an arrest in police reports. We will collectively refer to these various kinds of wrongdoings as "falsification."

In conducting our investigation of police falsification, the Commission sought information from a variety of sources. Commission investigators interviewed scores of former and current police officers and supervisors about falsifications; interviewed a number of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and civilians arrested for various offenses; conducted field investigations of narcotics enforcement units; and studied hundreds of Department arrest records, focusing on those involving narcotics and weapon offenses.

As with other forms of corruption, it is impossible to gauge the full extent of police falsifications. Our investigation indicated, however, that this is probably the most common form of police corruption facing the criminal justice system, particularly in connection with arrests for possession of narcotics and guns. Several officers also told us that the practice of police falsification in connection with such arrests is so common in certain precincts that it has spawned its own word: "testifying."

A large part of the problem is that once officers falsify the basis for an arrest, search, or other action in a Department record -- such as an arrest report, complaint report, search warrant application, or evidence voucher -- to avoid Departmental or criminal charges, they must stick to their story even under oath when swearing to a criminal complaint or giving testimony before a trial jury. But officers know that the operation of the criminal justice system itself usually protects them from having to commit testimonial perjury before a grand jury or at trial. The vast majority of charges for narcotics or weapons possession crimes result in pleas without the necessity of grand jury or trial testimony, thus obviating officers' concerns about the risk of detection and possible exposure to criminal charges of perjury.

Unlike other patterns of police corruption, greed is often not the primary motive behind police falsification. While the desire for overtime pay and career advancement sometimes encourage falsification, it typically occurs as a means to conceal other underlying acts of corruption or to conceal illegal steps taken for what officers often perceive as "legitimate" law enforcement ends.

Falsification to conceal corruption was a common practice among many of the corrupt officers cooperating with this Commission, including certain officers arrested in the 30th Precinct case. To explain how and why they were present in a particular premises or came to arrest a particular person, officers manufactured facts. For example, to justify an unlawful raid on a drug den where money or drugs were stolen, a common tale was that the officers entered the location in hot pursuit or on information from an unidentified informant. To justify unlawfully searching and arresting a street dealer from whom officers stole drugs or cash, a common tale was the person dropped a bag and ran as the officers approached.

In a typical example of this "corruption-cover" falsity, one cooperating officer reported how he and another officer illegally stopped a car without probable cause, searched the car without a warrant, and found a hidden car "trap" containing cocaine and a gun. The officers arrested the driver, vouchered the gun, and stole and later sold a portion of the seized cocaine. To conceal their crime, the officers falsified their arrest reports and then stuck to their fabricated story when the District Attorney's Office reviewed the case for prosecution. By one of the officer's own admissions, they concocted a realistic-sounding story: after stopping the car for running a red light, they observed a gun in plain view under the car seat, which led them to find the cocaine. Many acts of corruption, of course, never result in an arrest, and no falsification "cover" is necessary. Concealment is achieved simply by letting the criminal go free -- with eliminating the likelihood of a complaint and conviction.

Falsification can also conceal an officer's use of excessive force. A number of officers told us how they and others would insulate themselves from excessive force complaints simply by adding charges of "resisting arrest" to the arrest report -- a practice rarely questioned by supervisors. In the 30th Precinct case, for example, one officer reported how he and another officer chased and finally caught an individual who had run from his car after a traffic stop. While the officer was holding the individual, another officer struck the defendant in the head with his police radio. The officers then agreed upon a false story justifying their stop and search of the car and about the circumstances of the defendant's head injury.

Officers also commit falsification to serve what they perceive to be "legitimate" law enforcement ends -- and for ends that many honest and corrupt officers alike stubbornly defend as correct. In their view, regardless of the legality of the arrest, the defendant is in fact guilty and ought to be arrested. Officers reported a litany of manufactured tales. For example, when officers unlawfully stop and search a vehicle because they believe it contains drugs or guns, officers will falsely claim in police reports and under oath that the car ran a red light (or committed some other traffic violation) and that they subsequently saw contraband in the car in plain view. To conceal an unlawful search of an individual who officers believe is carrying drugs or a gun, they will falsely assert that they saw a bulge in the person's pocket or saw drugs and money changing hands. To justify unlawfully entering an apartment where officers believe narcotics or cash can be found, they pretend to have information from an unidentified civilian informant or claim they saw the drugs in plain view after responding to the premises on a radio run. To arrest people they suspect are guilty of dealing drugs, they falsely assert that the defendants had drugs in their possession when, in fact, the drugs were found elsewhere where the officers had no lawful right to be.

The Commission also found that police falsification results from efforts to insure that the circumstances of an arrest comply, not only with the Constitution, but with the Department's own regulations. Department regulations, for example, prohibit Street Narcotics Enforcement Units (S.N.E.U.) from entering buildings to make arrests. Consequently, some S.N.E.U. officers falsify arrest papers to make it appear as if an arrest that actually occurred inside a building took place on the street. Admitting the true facts of the arrest could lead to dismissal of the criminal charges and possibly to Departmental charges against the arresting officer. To many officers, this is a perversion of justice. In short, some officers falsify their arrest reports and, if necessary, their testimony to insure that the charges stick and that they are protected.

As with other forms of police corruption, falsifications are most prevalent in high-crime precincts where opportunities for narcotics and gun arrests abound. In such precincts, the prevalence of open criminal activity is high and the utility of an illegal search or arrest is perceived as great. Officers -- often correctly -- believe that if they search a particular person, or enter an apartment without a warrant, they will find drugs or guns. Frustrated by what they perceive to be unrealistic rules of law and by their own inability to stem the crime in their precincts through legal means, officers take the law into their own hands. And police falsification is the result.

We found that such motivations to falsify are often present in narcotics enforcement units, especially to justify unlawful searches or arrests. The Commission undertook an investigation of the practices of a certain unit of the Narcotics Division where our analysis of police records and intelligence sources indicated that the incidence of falsifications might run high. While we cannot disclose the details of our investigation because we have referred the evidence to a prosecutor, the evidence suggests that certain officers in this unit falsified documents and may have committed testimonial perjury to conceal constitutional violations.

Even more troubling, the evidence suggests that the unit's commanding officer not only tolerated, but encouraged, this unlawful practice.

Such "shortcuts" not only violate basic constitutional rights -- they allow police officers, rather than the legislature, to make the law and enforce their own brand of street justice. They allow officers to abuse their authority for misguided ends -- regardless of how well-intentioned their motive. Even supposedly well-intended falsification, moreover, has devastating consequences for the criminal justice system and the public. Rather than insuring that the guilty are convicted, police falsifications often insure the opposite. Unlawful "shortcuts" at times require lying to a grand jury or to a trial jury -- and such deception is often transparent to jurors and judges. Many law enforcement officials we interviewed, for example, believe that police falsification has led to a rise in acquittals because juries increasingly suspect and reject police testimony.

There is another devastating consequence to "legitimate-end" rationalizations for police misconduct: it often fuels other kinds of corruption. Some corrupt police officers told us that their corrupt activities began from motives they believed to be legitimate. In the beginning, they unlawfully raided apartments to make drug arrests -- and lied about the facts in police reports. They quickly realized how easy it was to cross the line and take the law into their own hands with impunity. Soon they were raiding apartments to steal contraband for personal profit and letting suspects go free.

The Commission also found that an officer's motives for purported legitimate-end falsifications often served as mere pretext for personal gain. Unlawful arrests, for example, were sometimes conveniently timed to generate overtime pay for the arresting officer who typically took hours beyond his regular tour of duty to process the arrest.

"Collars-for-Dollars" is a practice widely known to officers, police supervisors, and prosecutors alike. In fact, a confidential report prepared by a prosecutor's office involving a pattern of police falsifications states that of the falsified arrests they investigated, "[a]lmost every arrest generated overtime pay for the officer who lied about observations." Besides overtime pay, high arrest numbers are often a factor considered for coveted assignments for patrol officers and supervisors alike.

In one precinct we investigated, a cooperating officer told us of a regular pattern of "trading collars." The purpose of this practice was to accumulate overtime pay for the officers involved. In this scheme, the police officer who actually arrested the defendant would pass off the arrest to a colleague who was not involved or even present at the time of the arrest. Trading collars was done to maximize the overtime pay because the regular day off of the officer taking the arrest coincided with the likeliest date for a required court appearance. The officer who took the arrest would get all the details from the actual arresting officer, fill out the arrest papers, interview with the District Attorney, and, if necessary, testify to the circumstances of the arrest. This, despite the fact that the law requires the arresting officer to do this work. Officers perpetrated this scheme with the knowledge, approval, and in the presence of their sergeants. Another scheme to generate overtime was to have several officers and even supervisors state falsely that they recovered evidence incidental to an arrest. In this way, they insured that they would have to appear at the District Attorney's Office or before a grand jury on their day off and thus improperly receive overtime pay.

We initially investigated another possible type of police falsification: falsification not to conceal other unlawful acts, but as another form of corruption-for-profit. For example, officers accepting payoffs or other benefits to get lawful charges dismissed. We found no evidence that this occurs. In fact, we came across only one example of this type of perjury. By his own admission, Bernard Cawley lied before a grand jury to get charges dismissed against a drug dealer he had arrested in exchange for the dealer's information about profitable drug locations Cawley and his accomplices could raid. That such a practice is rare makes sense. It is easier and safer for a corrupt cop to make a deal with a defendant on the street before an arrest is even made -- and well before a vigilant supervisor, the District Attorney's Office, or the courts become involved.

Regardless of the motives behind police falsifications, what is particularly troublesome about this practice is that it is widely tolerated by corrupt and honest officers alike, as well as their supervisors. Corrupt and honest officers told us that their supervisors knew or should have known about falsified versions of searches and arrests and never questioned them. In testimony before the Commission, Kevin Hembury stated that one of his supervisors joked about how an arrest was manufactured:

Question: Now you just said there was a supervisor or a lieutenant who joked about [police falsifications] in your presence?

Hembury: That's correct, sir. Scenarios were, were you going to say (a) that you observed what appeared to be a drug transaction; (b) you observed a bulge in defendant's waistband; or (c) you were informed by a male black, unidentified at this time, that at that location there were drug sales.

Question: So, in other words, what the lieutenant was telling you is: here's your choice of false predicates for these arrests?

Hembury: That's correct. Pick which one you're going to use. (Tr. 57-58)

And, as mentioned, the Commission has evidence that at least one supervisor actively encouraged such falsifications to bolster his unit's performance. [3]

What breeds this tolerance is a deep-rooted perception among many officers of all ranks within the Department that nothing is really wrong with compromising facts to fight crime in the real world. Simply put, despite the devastating consequences of police falsifications, there is a persistent belief among many officers that it is necessary and justified, even if unlawful. As one dedicated officer put it, police officers often view falsification as, to use his words, "doing God's work"-- doing whatever it takes to get a suspected criminal off the streets. This attitude is so entrenched, especially in high-crime precincts, that when investigators confronted one recently arrested officer with evidence of perjury, he asked in disbelief, "What's wrong with that? They're guilty."

Officers and their immediate supervisors are not the only culprits in tolerating falsifications. When officers genuinely believe that nothing is wrong with fabricating the basis of an arrest, a search, or other police action and that civil rights are merely an obstacle to aggressive law enforcement, the Department's top commanders must share the blame. Indeed, we found that for years the Department was content to address allegations of perjury on a case-by-case basis, rather than pursuing the potential for a broader based investigation. For example, supervisors were rarely, if ever, held accountable for the falsifications of their subordinates. We are not aware of a single instance in which a supervisor or commander has been sanctioned for permitting perjury or falsification on their watch.

Nor do we know of a single, self-initiated Internal Affairs Division investigation into patterns of police perjury and falsification. The Commission's analysis of Internal Affairs' corruption categories -- designed to quantify different kinds of police wrongdoing -- revealed no separate category for perjury or falsification of records. Unlike other corruption categories, Internal Affairs over the last decade had no record of the number of falsification allegations brought against officers throughout the Department or in a particular precinct or command. There is no evidence that anyone in the Department's chain of command had focused on eliminating this practice, including past Police Commissioners and Internal Affairs chiefs, who apparently turned a blind eye to unlawful practices that were purportedly committed to fight crime and increase arrest statistics.

Members of the law enforcement community, and particularly defense attorneys, told us that this same tolerance is sometimes exhibited among prosecutors. Indeed, several former and current prosecutors acknowledged -- "off the record" -- that perjury and falsifications are serious problems in law enforcement that, though not condoned, are ignored. The form this tolerance takes, however, is subtle which makes accountability in this area especially difficult. We have observed that provable cases of testimonial perjury are pursued in instances when the testimony of one eyewitness officer is squarely inconsistent with the testimony and reports of other officers and witnesses. In fact, in June 1993, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office obtained the conviction of a police officer who fabricated gun possession charges after the District Attorney's office noticed clear discrepancies in the officer's testimony.

But the signs of falsification and perjury are usually far more subtle: a story that sounds suspicious to the trained ear; patterns of coincidences that are possible, but highly unlikely; inconsistencies that could be explained, but sound doubtful. In short, the tolerance the criminal justice system exhibits takes the form of a lesser level of scrutiny when it comes to police officers' testimony. Fewer questions are asked; weaker explanations are accepted.

Testimonial perjury cases are often extremely difficult to prove, which may persuade prosecutors to apply their limited resources to what are likely to be more successful areas of prosecution. In one unit-wide investigation, despite significant evidence of widespread falsification of the circumstances surrounding searches and arrests, prosecutors judged that a prosecution could not succeed for a number of reasons, including that "the most difficult aspect of the case is the 'noble' motives of the officers in committing the crimes of perjury and falsifying documents," according to a confidential prosecution report. The report further states that a successful prosecution would be difficult because: "many of the jurors may agree with the police officer's decision to ignore the constitutional niceties of the Fourth Amendment to win the war against drugs" and because "it may be very difficult to generate among the jurors the feelings of outrage necessary to convict a police officer for abusing the system."

We note and commend Robert M. Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York County and Mary Jo White, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for undertaking a comprehensive review of convictions obtained as the result of testimony provided by police officers recently arrested for corrupt activities.


Changing attitudes about police falsification depends largely on the Department. The Department's lack of concern for police falsifications was largely based on an attitude that allowed police officers to even the odds in the fight against crime by letting the police get around legal rules that are perceived to work as protection for criminals rather than the law-abiding public. It is, of course, crucial that police officers and their supervisors have discretion and leeway in carrying out their jobs. But in a democracy, this leeway must be in concert with the law -- otherwise we have anarchy. What we found is that those bounds have too often been crossed, without penalty, in the past.

The consequences of this can be devastating. It can mean that defendants are unlawfully arrested and convicted, that inadmissible evidence is admitted at trial, and ultimately the public trust in even the most honest officer is eroded. This erosion of trust causes the public to disbelieve police testimony resulting in the guilty being set free after trial.

But, we are pleased to note, that the Department has begun to recognize these consequences and that change is occurring. The Commission's findings about police falsifications coupled with the evidence of this practice from recent corruption prosecutions have led the current Police Commissioner to begin to strengthen prevention and detection efforts in this area. This is an important factor in inculcating anti-corruption values into police culture. A crucial responsibility of both Internal Affairs and the independent oversight monitor we recommend, will be to insure that these efforts continue -- and that officers of all ranks within the Department are held accountable for telling the truth and upholding the law, regardless of their personal view of what is right or wrong.


"The [police officers] that are taking money will more typically be the ones that are giving beatings, yes."

-- Former Police Officer Michael Dowd, Testimony Before The Mollen Commission, September 27, 1993

Police corruption investigations and studies rarely address police brutality. The Knapp Commission's extensive investigation into corruption in the 1970s, for example, does not address brutality. Nor do most of the reports issued by various Police Commissions investigating corruption throughout the century. This Commission initially intended to follow that traditional course. Our mandate was corruption; brutality is an entirely different subject we thought. The evidence changed our minds.

We found that corruption and brutality [4] are often linked in a variety of ways -- and should no longer be artificially separated by police managers, corruption fighters, and policymakers. We therefore concluded that any Commission investigating police corruption would be remiss in disregarding brutality. Brutality is an explosive and unpleasant topic. It seizes public and media attention even more powerfully than corruption. Over the years, the Department has focused some attention on alleviating the problem, but has made little effort to address the full scope of the problem of brutality and its tolerance. The Commission has concluded that this must change -- as it appears is now happening. During the Commission's tenure, reforms from within the Department have begun. The new Police Commissioner has made the fight against "corruption and brutality" an important priority in his administration. It is essential that this commitment not wane.

We are not suggesting that the use of force is not vital to effective law enforcement -- and to the lives of our police. Quite the opposite. Police officers could not carry out their dangerous duties without some resort to force -- nor could they protect themselves and our communities without it. In this day and age, aggressive policing is crucial to fighting the war against drugs and crime. But there is a difference between aggressive policing and brutality. At times, it is essential that our police officers engage in aggressive policing and the use of necessary force. On the other hand, it is impermissible to step over the line to brutality, particularly when it is linked with corruption. It is that distinction which is sometimes ignored by officers on the streets, and their supervisors or commanders. We found that the use of force sometimes exceeds the necessities of aggressive policing -- and the Department's response has been negligible.

Police brutality seemed to occur, in varying degrees, wherever we uncovered corruption, particularly in crime-ridden, drug-infested precincts, often with large minority populations. The extent of the problem, however, is particularly difficult to quantify. Officers are often even more reluctant to report or discuss brutality than corruption perhaps because they view it as a reality of policing. In addition, the Department's intelligence and official records regarding incidents of brutality have been wholly inadequate in the past. We have brought these deficiencies to the Department's attention and reforms are underway. An important responsibility of the proposed outside independent monitor will be to insure the continued success of these reforms.

As with corruption, the motivations for brutality are complex and varied. Threats and violence are carried out in connection with corruption; but some also occur to administer an officer's own brand of vigilante justice; and some, it appears, are for no apparent reason at all. We found that all forms of brutality, however, have important consequences for corruption and corruption tolerance.

The Link Between Brutality and Acts of Corruption

When connected to acts of corruption, brutality is at times a means to accomplish corrupt ends and at other times it is just a gratuitous appendage to a corrupt act. For example, in the 30th Precinct, former officer Alfonso Compres not only allegedly robbed a drug courier, but shot him in the stomach to steal his drugs. Another corrupt cop in the 73rd Precinct, accompanied by several other officers, shoved a gun in the mouth of a drug dealer and threatened to "blow his brains out" if he did not give them information about where and when drug money would be collected, and thus could be robbed. On another occasion, officers from that same precinct allegedly threatened to feed an individual to pit bulls if he did not give up information on a stash location that the officers wanted to rob. Former officer Michael Dowd did not just provide information to drug traffickers in the 75th Precinct for profit, he threatened competitors to insure that the drug "business" he protected operated smoothly. In other instances, cops have used or threatened to use brutality to intimidate their victims and protect themselves against the risk of complaints.

In sum, we found that cops did not simply become corrupt; they sometimes became corrupt and violent. Until now there has always been a distinction drawn between corruption and brutality. Corruption was about money; brutality was about unnecessary force and abuse of authority. That distinction has in some cases blurred. The corruption we found sometimes involved abuse of authority and unnecessary force, and the violence we found sometimes occurred to facilitate thefts of drugs and money. This is critical to recognize to effectively investigate corruption and brutality, and develop prevention and detection strategies. Until recently, those efforts typically have been dealt with separately both in the New York City Police Department and other police departments throughout the country. This should not continue.

There are other important links between corruption and brutality that we uncovered. First, we found that officers who are corrupt are more likely to be brutal -- both in connection with carrying out acts of corruption and otherwise. It is unclear whether these cops were violent simply to facilitate their corruption, or if the same character traits and precinct conditions that tilt one toward corruption also tilt one toward violence. This can be further explored by the Department, academics or sociologists, but the point for our purposes is that such a link appears to exist -- and should now be recognized in the fight against corruption and brutality.

This conclusion is based on several sources, both testimonial and empirical. Cops themselves have told us that corrupt cops appear to be more violent than others -- even in situations unrelated to corruption. We also asked the Department to ask officers about this correlation in a recent focus group it conducted on the topic of brutality. Those officers too confirmed that based on their experiences, corrupt officers are more likely to be brutal.

Finally, to test this correlation the Commission conducted its own empirical analysis. We studied two hundred thirty-four problem officers that the Department had selected as the most likely to be corrupt, based on corruption allegations and comments from field commanders, and compared the number of excessive force allegations [5] against them with a general random sample of two hundred thirty-four officers from similar commands.

The data showed that the corruption-prone officers were more than five times as likely to have five or more unnecessary force allegations filed against them than the officers from the random sample group. This analysis was merely preliminary and follow-up studies should be done. [6] But again, the point is that corruption seemingly has a relationship with a penchant for brutality.

The Link Between Brutality And Police Culture

Brutality does not always occur in connection with acts of corruption -- but even brutality not motivated by corruption has important consequences for efforts to combat it. We found that brutality also occurred independently to show power, out of fear or hostility towards a person or the community that person represents, to vent frustrations and anger, or in a misplaced attempt to compel respect in the community. Officers also told us that it was not uncommon to see unnecessary force used to administer an officer's own brand of street justice: a nightstick in the ribs, a fist to the head, to demonstrate who was in charge of the crime-ridden streets they patrolled and to impose sanctions on those who "deserved it" as officers, not juries, determined. As was true of other forms of wrongdoing, some cops believe they are doing what is morally correct -- though "technically unlawful" -- when they beat someone who they believe is guilty and who they believe the criminal justice system will never punish.

We also found that some officers are violent simply for the sake of violence. These forms of violence also have important consequences for corruption. One officer from a Brooklyn North precinct told us how he and his colleagues once threw a bucket of ammonia in the face of an individual detained in a precinct holding pen. Another cooperating officer told us how he and his colleagues threw garbage and then boiling water on a person hiding from them in a dumbwaiter shaft. Cawley and his friends once sliced an escape rope hanging from a drug dealer's window so that anyone who used it would plunge to the ground. They also once raided a brothel in uniform, ordered the men to leave and the women to line up. The cops then picked their victims of choice. and proceeded to terrorize and rape them without compunction.

Understanding brutality in these contexts is critical to combatting corruption. It strengthens aspects of police culture and loyalty that foster and conceal corruption. For example, brutality, regardless of the motive, sometimes serves as a rite of passage to other forms of corruption and misconduct. Some officers told us that brutality was how they first crossed the line toward abandoning their integrity. Once the line was crossed without consequences, it was easier to abuse their authority in other ways, including corruption. Brutality is also used as a rite of initiation to prove that an officer is a tough or "good" cop, one who can be accepted and trusted by his fellow officers not to report wrongdoing. Dowd, like other officers, reported that brutality strengthened the bonds of loyalty and silence among officers and thus fostered corruption tolerance ... [Brutality] is a form of acceptance. It's not just simply giving a beating. It's the other officers begin to accept you more." (Tr. 198)

Brutality also strains relations with the community because it is not always limited to those men and women who cops believe are criminals. Cawley and his fellow officers, for example, did not limit their brutality to dealers and purported criminals. Because in the Bronx's 46th Precinct law-abiding individuals often live side-by-side with the criminal underworld, Cawley testified that the innocent were victimized as well:

Question: Did you beat people up who you arrested?

Answer: No. We'd just beat people in general. If they're on the street, hanging around drug locations. It was a show of force.

Question: Why were these beatings done?

Answer: To show who was in charge. We were in charge, the police. (Tr. 104-105)

On one occasion, Cawley and a group of his fellow officers decided to attack an apartment building, a known drug location, and beat everyone in sight. They descended upon the building swinging nightsticks and fists, simply to pass the night away. The beating spree spared no one there that night: the good, the bad, the young, the old. The victims were all perceived as one: they were the "them" in a world often defined as "Us vs. Them"; a world that far too often pits the police against the people they are sworn to serve. It is this attitude that allows cops to detach themselves from the public, and from the norms and customs that govern the "real world" from which they come. And it is this attitude that makes both brutality and corruption easier to commit and to tolerate.

Cawley's brutality does not represent the typical patterns of brutality we uncovered. Although officers from many precincts told us about brutality, his was more vicious, more frequent, and more premeditated than most. His actions represent the extreme end of police violence. But the point is, they do represent one end. And sometimes it is the extreme example that helps illuminate the complexity and seriousness of a problem. Such is the case here. For example, it is important to recognize that despite the extreme nature of his acts, Cawley -- like most other violent and corrupt officers -- did not act alone. A group of cops typically assisted him. Nor did he act in secret -- as his nickname "the Mechanic" confirms. [7] Nonetheless, few, if any, cops ever reported Cawley. Despite his admission at our public hearings to hundreds of acts of open brutality spanning his career as a New York City police officer, only one allegation was ever filed against him for excessive force. And it was not from a police officer. Although Michael Dowd testified to participating in numerous acts of brutality, few force allegations were filed against him. None from fellow officers. This pattern was similar for most of the violent and corrupt officers this Commission learned about.

This speaks volumes about the complexity of the problem of police brutality. As important as the possible extent of brutality, is the extent of brutality tolerance we found throughout the Department. While the tolerance for brutality arises from the same set of police attitudes as the tolerance for corruption, there is an important difference. Unlike serious corruption, which most cops outwardly tolerate but inwardly deplore and resent, officers seem fairly tolerant -- both outwardly and inwardly -- of occasional police brutality. While most officers are genuinely sickened by the extreme brutality of Cawley, many do not seem to believe that anything is really wrong with a few blows and bruises now and then. Even officers who would never take a free cup of coffee, seem to tolerate what they believe is a little "street justice." An excessive use of fists to face, nightsticks to ribs, and knees to groin are seen as the realities of policing.

What is most alarming is that this tolerance is not rationalized solely by purported legitimate law enforcement ends -- like teaching a lesson, or giving the guilty what they "deserve." This would be bad enough. But we found that the tolerance is also often based on a "cops are only human" rationale. If officers have to chase, wrestle or struggle with someone to effect an arrest, they become angry. It is hard to resist force in those circumstances, as we understandably have been told time and time again. Sometimes the justification is fear: if you don't swing first often the suspect will. Police need to show who is boss in crime-ridden neighborhoods, is often the attitude. They view unnecessary force as a means to this end. The law is made by ivory tower legislators; law enforcement is achieved by those who know the streets we were told. It is for this reason that honest and corrupt officers alike have reported that the wall of silence is even stronger when it comes to brutality. Officers are unwilling to go out on a limb and report behavior that they believe, while unlawful, is fundamentally correct.

Officers are not the only ones who tolerate brutality. This tolerance, or willful blindness, extends to supervisors as well. This is because many supervisors share the perception that nothing is really wrong with a bit of unnecessary force and because they believe that this is the only way to fight crime today. As with corruption, we were told that supervisors sometimes turn a blind eye to evidence of unnecessary violence around them. When cops come to the stationhouse with a visibly beaten suspect, supervisors, we were repeatedly told, often do not question the story they hear. And the story, or "cover" as some put it, is fairly standard: resisting arrest. Because a complaint usually comes down to an officer's word (and often the word of fellow officer witnesses) against the perpetrator's word, it is easy for a supervisor to let clear acts of brutality slide by without recourse.

Such practices and attitudes should sound an alarm throughout the Department. They breed, protect and justify brutality on the streets of our City. They allow even the otherwise good cop to take occasional liberties without remorse or fear. And they fuel a police culture that not only alienates cops from the communities they serve -- and vice-versa -- but fosters and protects corruption. Brutality not only emboldens officers susceptible to brutality, but makes them feel invulnerable. They begin to believe they have free rein on the streets. And that perception may not be far from the truth. Before the Commission's public hearings, few officers had ever been dismissed or even suspended on grounds of brutality in the recent past. Nor were supervisors or commanding officers typically sanctioned for brutality in their commands.

Brutality has important additional costs to our City. First, the City pays millions of dollars each year in damages to victims of brutality through settlements or after verdicts in civil trials. Second, when incidents of brutality come to light at criminal trial, it offends jurors and increases their mistrust of police testimony leading to acquittals that allow guilty criminals to go free.

The Department's past commanders are largely to blame for this state of affairs. While we recognize that the Civilian Complaint Review Board is responsible for investigating most brutality allegations, this does not excuse the Department from its responsibility for preventing and eradicating the use and acceptance of brutality among its members. In past years, the Department has refused to recognize brutality as a serious occupational hazard and failed to recognize its link to corruption. Integrity training inadequately addressed issues of brutality or brutality tolerance; intelligence-gathering efforts in the brutality area were negligible; discipline was lax; command accountability was rarely enforced in this area; and information on corruption and brutality was rarely analyzed together.

It appears that this is no longer the case. The current Police Commissioner and his Deputy Commissioner for Internal Affairs have now begun to focus on all of these areas during the tenure of this Commission. If the tolerance of brutality we observed is ever to change, it is crucial that these reform efforts remain constant and aggressive long after the recent spotlight on brutality disappears.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

Postby admin » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:26 am



2. On April 14, 1994, Cabeza was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison for the murder of Man Sing Chan.

3. The identities of these supervisors cannot be disclosed at this time because their complicity, through encouraging or permitting these practices, is currently under investigation.

4. Throughout this Report, we use the term brutality to include the implicit or explicit threat of physical harm or the actual infliction of physical injury or pain.

5. "Excessive force" allegations that we used included only: the actual use or threat of force to a person, or the actual destruction of property.

6. For example, there is further data we would have liked to have used to make the test even more reliable, but such information was either unavailable or unreliable because of former deficiencies with the Department's intelligence and investigative systems. For example, the corruption and force allegations we relied on included allegations that were closed as unsubstantiated (i.e., closed without enough evidence to establish guilt or innocence). This is because, in the past, so few serious corruption and brutality allegations have been substantiated annually, that the size of the sample would have been statistically inadequate. Allegations closed as "unfounded" or "exonerated" (i.e., officer was found not to have committed the act alleged) were, of course, not included in the analysis.

7. Cawley testified that he was given this nickname by his sergeant because he so openly and frequently "tuned people up" or beat them. This nickname was used throughout his career.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

Postby admin » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:07 am


"We must create an atmosphere in which the dishonest officer fears the honest one, and not the other way around."

-- Detective Frank Serpico, Testifying before the Knapp Commission, December 1971

More than twenty years after Frank Serpico's testimony, this Commission found that the dishonest officers in the New York City Police Department still do not fear their honest colleagues. And for good reason. The vast majority of honest officers still protect the minority of corrupt officers through a code of silence few dare to break. The Knapp Commission predicted that the impact of their revelations would significantly weaken the characteristics of police culture that foster corruption. In particular, they hoped that their success in persuading a number of corrupt police officers to testify publicly about corruption would forever undermine the code of silence, the unwritten rule that an officer never incriminates a fellow officer. Unfortunately, their hope never became reality.

Police culture -- the attitudes and values that shape officers' behavior -- is a critical component of the problem of police corruption today. This Commission, therefore, was not satisfied simply to examine the types of police corruption we found to exist. The more difficult question we asked is why such corruption exists, what are the root causes and prevailing conditions that nurture and protect it, and how they can be effectively addressed. Only by examining the variety of influences and attitudes that contribute to corruption, can we assess and formulate strategies to stop it.

The code of silence and other attitudes of police officers that existed at the time of the Knapp Commission continue to nurture police corruption and impede efforts at corruption control. Scores of officers of every rank told the Commission that the code of silence pervades the Department and influences the vast majority of honest and corrupt officers alike. Although police officers who look the other way while colleagues steal property, sell drugs, or abuse citizens' civil rights may not be directly involved in corruption, they nonetheless support and perpetuate it by abandoning their professional obligations.

These aspects of police culture facilitate corruption primarily in two ways. First, they encourage corruption by setting a standard that nothing is more important than the unswerving loyalty of officers to one another -- not even stopping the most serious forms of corruption. This emboldens corrupt cops and those susceptible to corruption. Second, these attitudes thwart efforts to control corruption. They lead officers to protect or cover up for others' crimes -- even crimes of which they heartily disapprove. They lead to officers flooding Department radio channels with warnings when Internal Affairs investigators appear at precincts, and refusing to provide information about serious corruption in their commands. Changing these aspects of police culture must be a central task if corruption controls are ever to succeed.

The realities of police work bolster these corruptive features of police culture. As a society, we expect more of police officers than any other public servants. We call upon them daily to accomplish a variety of competing responsibilities. We expect them to be daring crime fighters as well as patient mediators. We call upon them to stop crime in our neighborhoods, to resolve our domestic disputes, and to act as obedient members of a paramilitary organization. Most of all, we expect them to confront physical danger and risk their lives to protect our lives and property. After a time, particularly in high-crime areas, they begin to identify the criminals they must confront every day with the community they must serve. They begin to close ranks against what they perceive as a hostile environment. Consequently, many officers lose sight of the majority of law-abiding citizens who live in their precincts. When this happens, corruption becomes easier to commit and to tolerate.

Citizens often return this hostility. With crime, drugs, and guns rampant in parts of our City, the public incorrectly faults the police. When incidents of police corruption are disclosed, the community incorrectly assumes that this is the norm. When police officers interfere with citizens' activities, the public often resents it. Police officers feel this resentment. What the Knapp Commission observed in its time is just as applicable today:

Nobody, whether a burglar or a Sunday motorist, likes to have his activities interfered with. As a result most citizens, at one time or another, regard the police with varying degrees of hostility. The policeman feels, and naturally often returns, the hostility. [8]

Faced with this resentment, the dangers of their work, and their dependence on other officers for their mutual safety, police officers naturally band together. Often to such a degree that officers become isolated from the outside world. They socialize with and depend upon fellow officers not only on the job, but off. An intense group loyalty, fostered by shared experiences and the need to rely on each other in times of crisis, emerges as a predominant ethic of police culture.

This loyalty ethic itself is not corruptive. Loyalty and trust are vital attributes that promote effective and safe policing. We cannot ask police officers to abandon their loyalty to each other while simultaneously demanding that they confront danger for us.

But group loyalty often flourishes at the expense of an officer's sworn duty. It makes allegiance to fellow officers -- even corrupt ones -- more important than allegiance to the Department and the community. When this happens, loyalty itself becomes corrupt and erects the strongest barriers to corruption control: the code of silence and the "Us vs. Them" mentality.

The Code of Silence

The pervasiveness of the code of silence is itself alarming. But what we found particularly troubling is that it often appears to be strongest where corruption is most frequent. This is because the loyalty ethic is particularly powerful in crime-ridden precincts where officers most depend upon each other for their safety each day -- and where fear and alienation from the community are most rampant. Thus, the code of silence influences honest officers in the very precincts where their assistance is needed most.

The pervasiveness of the code of silence is bolstered by the grave consequences for violating it: Officers who report misconduct are ostracized and harassed; become targets of complaints and even physical threats; and are made to fear that they will be left alone on the streets in a time of crisis. This draconian enforcement of the code of silence fuels corruption because it makes corrupt cops feel protected and invulnerable. As former police officer Bernard Cawley testified at the public hearings:

Question: Were you ever afraid that one of your fellow officers might turn you in?

Answer: Never.

Question: Why not?

Answer: Because it was the Blue Wall of Silence. Cops don't tell on cops. And if they did tell on them, just say if a cop decided to tell on me, his career's ruined. He's going to be labeled as a rat. So if he's got fifteen more years to go on the job, he's going to be miserable because it follows you wherever you go. And he could be in a precinct, he's going to have nobody to work with. And chances are if it comes down to it, they're going to let him get hurt. (Tr. 138)

Rat: A member who violates the Omertá.

-- Italian Mafia Lingo, by

In his public hearing testimony, another corrupt officer, Kevin Hembury, concurred:

If you're labeled a rat, especially early in your career, you're going to have a difficult time for the remainder of your career in the New York City Police Department. You do not want to be labeled a rat. You will be the recipient of bad practical jokes, even things more serious than practical jokes. Then, to leave or request to leave the environment that you were in, wouldn't be the end of this labeling that you had. Phone calls would be made to wherever your final destination was in the Department. Your name traveled with you. It was something you couldn't shake. (Tr. 87)

Dozens of honest officers similarly told the Commission about their fears of breaking the code of silence. Lieutenant Robert McKenna, a highly decorated Lieutenant with twenty years experience in the Department, testified about this view at our public hearings:

Question: What is the consequence of breaking this silence?

McKenna: The cops are ostracized at times. They're held away. They're pushed off to one side. They're kept away from the rest of the group. I could almost say it'd be like the effects of a divorce. You're separated from your family. You're alone over here. Your family, the cops, are over there. (Tr. 80)

The Commission interviewed a number of officers who suffered the penalties of being labeled a rat. Their names will be withheld for obvious reasons. A captain we interviewed spent thirteen years as a police supervisor, a Field Internal Affairs Unit investigator, and a duty captain, or "shoefly," in Brooklyn. He was a stern disciplinarian who often disciplined his subordinates for misconduct and reported allegations of corruption to Internal Affairs. During the course of his career, he was assigned to thirty-eight different commands throughout the City. In almost every case, on the very day he arrived to report for duty at his new command, he found evidence that his reputation had preceded him. At one command, his locker was burned; at another, his car tires were slashed; at another, he received threats of physical harm.

In another case, a detective who served in Internal Affairs was transferred to a precinct detective squad. In his first week, his new colleagues made sure he knew that he would be alone on the street. They placed dead rats on his car windshield, stole or destroyed his personal property, and told him directly that he could not count on them in times of danger. The constant harassment eventually led the detective to seek psychological counseling and restricted duty.

The inculcation of police culture begins early in police officers' careers, as early as the Police Academy. Police Officer "Otto," an officer assigned to a high-crime precinct who agreed to testify publicly before the Commission only in disguise because of the code of silence, told us that he learned about the code of silence while he was still a recruit at the Police Academy:

Question: How do police officers learn about this wall or code of silence?

Otto: It starts in the Police Academy, and it just develops from there.... It starts with the instructors telling you never to be a rat, never give up your fellow officer. It starts with other recruits telling you they'll never give you up, and it just goes on down the line as you go through N.S.U. [Neighborhood Stabilization Units] and into a precinct. (Tr. 14)

And, while still recruits, police officers learn the harsh lessons of violating the code of silence. One former recruit told us that while in training at the Academy, she made a complaint to Internal Affairs about the lewd remarks an Academy instructor constantly made to her and other women recruits. Despite assurances of confidentiality, Internal Affairs informed Academy supervisors of her complaint. Within days, she was ostracized by her fellow recruits (even those who had been her friends) and Academy personnel. Her isolation was made so complete that she was forced to finish her Academy training on her own. When she graduated, the Department assigned her to Internal Affairs because it was unlikely she would be accepted anywhere else in the Department. Her dream to become a cop became a nightmare because she made a single complaint about a fellow cop. Within a year, she resigned from the Department.

The fear of violating the code of silence can even lead an officer to accept the blame and punishment for the acts of a fellow officer. Hembury testified to an incident when, still a rookie, he and a partner stopped a motorcycle for a number of traffic violations. Because the driver became irate, Hembury's partner thought he would teach him a lesson by removing a spark plug coil to disable the engine. Eventually charges for damaging the motorcycle were wrongly brought against Hembury, not his partner. But the code of silence compelled Hembury to accept the punishment -- a loss of fifteen vacation days -- for something he did not do. Hembury knew that the punishment for breaking his silence would be far worse than the punishment for police misconduct:

Hembury: ... And the spark plug I had nothing to do with. But yet these charges were brought against me. I took the hit [punishment], lost my fifteen days, and that was the end of it.

Question: So you took a fifteen day hit all because you just could not be labeled a rat and tell the truth about who was really responsible for damaging the motorcycle?

Hembury: That's correct. (Tr. 89)

There is a tragic irony to the code of silence which provides both the greatest challenge -- and hope -- in combatting corruption. Although most honest cops will not report serious corruption, they despise corrupt cops and silently hope that they will be removed from the ranks.

Hope cannot be a virtue any more than fear; one fears and one hopes, according as one receives a promise or a threat. As for charity, is it not what the Greeks and the Romans understood by humanity, love of one's neighbour? this love is nothing if it be not active; doing good, therefore, is the sole true virtue.

-- Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire

Recently, the Internal Affairs Bureau's Corruption Prevention and Analysis Unit shared with the Commission the results of a series of enlightening discussions conducted with groups of police officers about their perception of police values and corruption. Remarkably, although patrol officers openly expressed disgust over corruption and hoped corrupt officers would be fired, they nonetheless are highly reluctant to report corruption, even if it involves drugs and weapons. The Internal Affairs report states:

Extremely serious allegations including drugs and weapons were not viewed differently by most of the participants. Members were consistent in their reluctance to officially report these transgressions. Officers were of the opinion that the discovery and the official reporting of criminal allegations and serious misconduct would not elevate them in the eyes of their peers. These officers believed they would be perceived as 'rats,' not to be trusted. The consensus was that if an individual reported serious matters they would likely report minor infractions as well. The fear of being labeled a 'rat' and subsequently divorced from police culture has a seemingly powerful, negative impact on reporting corruption. This reveals a whole new dimension to the code of silence: it does not always reflect solely tolerance for corruption or a misplaced group loyalty. In many instances it is motivated purely by self-interest and self-protection: a fear of the consequence of breaking the norms of loyalty and silence.

Thus the most devastating consequence of the code of silence is that it prevents the vast majority of honest officers from doing what they inwardly want to do: help keep their Department corruption free. It is not surprising that the honest cop wants corrupt cops off the job. The consequences of corruption for honest cops are grave: it taints their reputations, destroys their morale, and, most important, jeopardizes their very safety.

What is surprising is that despite these devastating consequences, honest cops refuse to help eliminate corrupt cops from their Department, even though they are the principal victims of police corruption. Again, Police Officer Otto, like scores of his colleagues, made this point clear:

Question: What is the impact of corruption on honest cops?

Otto: It hurts them. It disheartens them. It makes them not want to work.

Question: Do you believe that it endangers their safety on the street?

Otto: Well, put it this way. I wouldn't want to run across a drug dealer who's been ripped off one time too many.

Despite corruption's threat to their safety and their genuine desire to work in a corruption-free Department, officers view reporting corruption as an offense more heinous and dangerous than the corruption itself.

Honest officers who know about or suspect corruption among their colleagues, therefore, face an exasperating dilemma. They perceive that they must either turn a blind eye to the corruption they deplore, or risk the dreadful consequences of reporting it. The Commission's inquiries reveal that the overwhelming majority of officers choose to live with the corruption.

And they have not been reluctant to admit this to the Commission. Indeed, the facts bear out what officers have been telling us for the past twenty-two months: despite years of open and frequent corruption by officers like Michael Dowd, Bernard Cawley and others, virtually none of their colleagues or supervisors reported this corruption to Internal Affairs.

If the Department ever hopes to make lasting improvements in corruption control, it must do something it has failed to do in recent history: acknowledge that the code of silence exists and take steps to overcome it. It must rescue its members from the grip of their self-created predicament. From first-line supervisors to Internal Affairs, it must provide constant support and recognition to officers who, by reporting corruption, choose to do what is right rather than what their culture expects of them. The Police Commissioner must make it clear that those who expose corruption will be rewarded, and those who help conceal it punished.

Finally, the Department must provide the same confidentiality protections to officers who report other officers, as it does to civilians who provide information about criminals. There is a widespread perception among officers that this is not the case. Many officers told us that they would not report corruption because the Department does not provide the same basic protections to officers as it does to civilians assisting the Department. This communicates a powerful message: that the Department is not really interested in enlisting the police in the fight against corruption. Until this changes, no reforms will ever change the attitudes that underlie the code of silence.

"Us vs. Them"

The code of the "blue fraternity" extends beyond the "blue" and into the communities they police. The loyalty ethic and insularity that breed the code of silence that protects officers from other officers also erects protective barriers between the police and the public. Far too many officers see the public as a source of trouble rather than as the people they are sworn to serve. Particularly in precincts overtaken with crime, officers sometimes view the public as the "enemy." Officer Otto explained:

Question: Is there an attitude prevalent among police officers that ... protects them against other people who might report corruption on their part?

Otto: Yes. It's an 'Us vs. Them' mentality. See, we're all blue, and that we're in this together and we have to protect each other no matter what.

Question: And I suppose what you're saying is the police officers are the 'us,' and who is the 'them'?

Otto: Everybody else.

While the "Us vs. Them" mentality is most powerful in crime-ridden precincts, often with large minority populations, it is not confined to these precincts. We found that this attitude exists, in varying degrees, in many precincts in the City -- and begins to develop early in an officer's career. The Commission's inquiries show that, like the code of silence, the "Us vs. Them" mentality starts when impressionable recruits and rookies are led to believe by veteran officers that the ordinary citizen fails to appreciate the police and that their safety depends solely on their fellow officers. Officers learn early on that they must protect themselves from the public. This includes always having an excuse ready for citizens' complaints:

Question: Did you learn anything right at the Academy about the attitude or mentality of being a police officer?

Dowd: Well, yeah. Certain things you do pick up, and I guess you would say it was an 'Us against Them' theme .... [T]hat was one of the terms used in the Academy, 'CYA,' -- I'm sorry -- was the way they phrased it. In other words, have an answer for any situation you come across; and, if you have an answer, it always helps to have another police officer there to back it up....

Question: Who imparted this message to you, Mr. Dowd?

Dowd: Our instructors. (Tr. 32)

This attitude is powerfully reinforced on the job when recruits become full-fledged officers and interact with the public every day. It creates strong pressures on police officers to ally themselves with fellow officers, even corrupt ones, rather than reaching out to the public to create supportive and productive relationships with the communities they serve. In his public testimony, Cawley gave an example of how the "Us vs. Them" mentality works in a real-life situation. He explained, in his experience, the treatment a civilian would receive at the precinct if he attempted to report an officer's brutality:

He [the Desk Officer] would give [the complainant] the paperwork to fill out. Then they'd ask him for a pen. He'd tell you listen there's a bodega across the street, go there and buy it. I'm not helping you. Then if they needed any help with [the complaint form], he wouldn't help them. Then if the person went through all the aggravation to fill out the complaint report ... they'd tell you, 'Listen, we have to get it typed now. There's a waiting line for the typing. It's going to be about three hours, so sit right there and wait.' Half the time people would say, 'Three hours, you got to be crazy', and they would leave. As soon as they left, he'd crumple it up and throw it right in the garbage. (Tr. 130)

We also found that the "Us vs. Them" mentality is not directed solely to members of the public. So strong are the bonds that unite officers that even other members of the Department who threaten the well-being of a fellow officer are viewed with distrust and disdain. This is one reason why Internal Affairs officers are viewed as the enemy, "unfriendlies" as they are sometimes called, who patrol precincts only to bring charges of misconduct against hard-working officers. Many officers told us that corrupt and honest officers alike attempt to thwart Internal Affairs' efforts by broadcasting their presence in their precincts, and by refusing to cooperate with its investigations.

The Commission found the code of silence and the "Us vs. Them" mentality present wherever we found corruption. This helps explain how groups of corrupt officers can openly engage in corruption for long periods of time with impunity.


Most discussions of police culture end here. But police culture is not the only corrupting influence in a contemporary police officer's life. The pressures and influences of police work, social and political demands, as well as some of the Department's own management policies also threaten the integrity of our police by perverting their fundamental values, increasing their cynicism, and causing disillusionment about the Department's real commitment to integrity.

The Erosion of Values And Pride

Each day, New York City police officers must face the challenge of criminals, the pain of their victims, and the lure of drugs and money. Corruption is a daily threat to veteran and inexperienced officers alike. And with good reason. Today, thousands of officers face the most menacing and prolific form of corruption police officers have ever had to face: the drug trade. In precincts around the City, drug trafficking generates vast amounts of money that can be easily stolen and just as easily offered by drug dealers. Drug money is everywhere. Officers stop cars with trunkloads of cash, search apartments with closets stacked with money, and meet drug dealers who will gladly pay them thousands of dollars just to be left alone. Because many drug dealers are illegal immigrants or individuals with criminal histories, they are unlikely to complain if a police officer takes their money. When the wages of corruption are so incredibly lucrative and relatively safe, the appeal of corruption is proportionately more alluring.

Finally the Amadeus missions are the single most important piece of investigative work, other than my own experience, which I have to add to this investigation. My investigations into Amadeus have detailed the life of Albert V. Carone, a retired New York Police detective who, at his death from "chemical toxicity of unknown etiology", held the rank of full Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. I refer you to EXHIBIT 10. I have held this man's personal phone book in my hands. In it I found the home addresses and phone numbers of DCI William Casey, Paul Helliwell, a long establish CIA covert operative connected to drugs, General Richard Stillwell and many other CIA figures.

I also found the home addresses and phone numbers of a number of Mafia figures including Pauly Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family and many other known Mafia figures. This is hard documentary evidence which is available to this Committee.

In the years before his death Carone made open statements -- admissions against interest -- to family members not only about the hands-on drug dealing roles of such figures as Oliver North, Richard Secord, Elliot Abrams, George Bush, John Poindexter, Felix Rodriguez and Chi Chi Quintero but about murder and torture. Carone frequently referred to Amadeus as the CIA umbrella governing his laundering of drug money through a host of banks worldwide. Some bank records and account numbers connected to the Bahamas and the Jersey islands still remain. He also described the operations of such Iran-Contra era drug kingpins Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. When he died in 1990 he left behind records, a passport and a great many leads which totally substantiate these allegations.

Carone and an associate, James Robert Strauss, went on many covert missions to Mexico and Central America. After one such mission to Mexico in the Spring of 1985 Carone returned home, disheartened, and told of how CIA operations had directly resulted in the murder of a DEA agent and his pilot. He was referring, of course, to Agent Kiki Camarena.

We have since obtained tape recorded statements from James Robert Strauss that Amadeus was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush. That tape is safely stored, awaiting an opportunity to be presented to the American people directly for their judgement by Carone's daughter, Dee Ferdinand.

Travel records of Strauss' insurance firm show that Strauss, a small time insurance broker and manager, routinely made frequent trips, sometimes just days apart to such cities as Paris, London, Johannesburg, Dharan, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jedda, Lisbon, Madrid, New York and the Bahamas. In his own words he did it under orders. I have provided copies of those travel records to your committee. A former FBI agent who once served as my lawyer reviewed the records and stated that such travel expenditure could only occur on a GTR government account. I refer you to EXHIBIT 11.

Insurance executives, in statements made to me, have confirmed that Strauss was terminated in 1987 as an agency manager for his involvement with drugs. I have those statements with me now if you want them.

When Al Carone died in 1990 a funny thing happened. His NYPD pension disappeared. His military records disappeared. His life insurance policies disappeared. His joint bank accounts, held with his daughter, disappeared. Even his New Mexico driver's license and car registration disappeared. His family and his daughter were left on the brink of bankruptcy -- wiped out. Carone was buried in a New Mexico cemetery with the rank of Staff Sergeant, the highest rank he attained during the Second World War. The Army said he had never served a day since. Everybody said they had never heard of him. Nonetheless, his official military record in St. Louis is now the copyrighted report I wrote on his life in 1994 and which I have provided to this Committee.

Now for some circumstantial evidence which serves as utter damnation. Bill Tyree and the daughter of Colonel Ed Cutolo, when shown a photograph of Albert Carone, both identified him and provided Carone's daughter, Dee Ferdinand of Corrales New Mexico, with information about him which had previously been unpublished and unknown to any outside his family. Tyree confirms a direct link between Carone and the Watchtower missions in Panama as well as illegal domestic operations run from Fort Devens.

I visited Dee in 1993. At the time I told her that there was only one man who could help her. That man was a retired, but still very active, Deputy Director of CIA, Ted Shackley. Within approximately ten days of Dee's first contact with Shackley Carone's headstone was changed from Staff Sergeant to full Colonel. She possess a copy of the order so directing. She has had a number of conversations with Shackley in which Shackley has admitted to having known and worked with her father. She is only too eager to testify about them.

-- Written Statement of Michael C. Ruppert to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, by Michael C. Ruppert

Regular exposure to these and other conditions can erode the values, principles and loyalties of even initially honest and dedicated cops. Stealing money, falsifying arrest papers, protecting corrupt colleagues begins to seem less wrong, and risky. The Department has provided little pressure or support to counter these conditions in the past. Indeed, its management practices have often fueled an officer's suspectability [susceptibility] to corruption.

Officers' career paths, or lack of one, for example, have much to do with the pride and loyalty they give to the Department, and thus their ability to resist corruption. Officers who feel they have nowhere to go in the Department may also feel they have nothing to lose by stepping outside the law -- especially when there is a seeming fortune to be gained on the other side.

In many interviews, officers repeated their belief that the Department neglects to support and acknowledge them in performing their difficult and dangerous jobs. This sense of abandonment undermines officers' ability to face the challenges to integrity they face on the streets. Concern for abandonment appears worst in precincts where high crime, the rampant drug trade, and unbridled violence place officers in a position of unrelieved exposure to the temptations of corruption and brutality; and where the constant onslaught of crime makes many lose hope in their abilities to fight crime within the limits of the law. It is precisely in these high-crime precincts where temptations and frustrations are greatest, that officers most strongly believe that the Department cares little for their plight, let alone their careers.

This perception has some basis. Transfers out of these "dumping ground" precincts are difficult. Officers know that they have years ahead of them under these conditions. One way to cope, we were told, is simply to give in; to succumb to the temptations of money and drugs that surround them.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the most notorious police corruption cases in recent years arose in the crime-infested precincts of the Brooklyn North and Manhattan North Patrol Boroughs. We recognize, of course, that it is in these precincts where the opportunities for corruption most abound. But this only explains part of the problem.

There is a widespread perception in the Department that Brooklyn North, like other crime-ridden precincts, was used as a "dumping ground" for misfit, incompetent, and undisciplined officers, many with past corruption histories. What is worse, these crime-ridden neighborhoods, where the opportunities for corruption are most plentiful, are where the need for effective policing is most urgent. It is precisely where problem, corruption-prone cops should not be placed -- and where effective, proven officers should be.

Through discussion groups, the Department has recently discovered that this combination of factors creates in officers a perverted pride in their bad reputation causing them to act it out in uniform. A recent Department report states:

One group [of police officers] in particular [... from Brooklyn North] believed that their Patrol Borough is considered a 'dumping ground' within the agency. They stated that they are regarded by officers from other Boroughs, as well as by the Department's executive cadre, as a collection of misfits, incompetents, malingerers, and undesirables inhabiting a series of 'shithouses.' This perception coexists with, and perhaps has created, a strong group identity marked by an undercurrent of perverse pride in their deviant status. Subtle evidence also emerged that at times these officers act out their deviant status for the benefit of other officers, often in a bid to demonstrate affinity for the group identity.

In the Commission's view, this dangerous self-perception is likely to exist among officers not only in Brooklyn North, but wherever the same conditions prevail and wherever the Department leaves such officers without effective supervision and support.

The magnitude of this problem was made particularly clear through the testimony of Kevin Hembury. Like so many other police recruits, Hembury joined the Department with all the right qualifications and all the right intentions. His first permanent assignment was to Brooklyn North's 73rd Precinct, a neighborhood overrun by drug dealing and violent crime. Within two years of patrolling that precinct, his world had ceased being the world of the thousands of honest police on the streets of New York, and had become a world of "scores" and "raids" -- stealing drugs, money, and guns, and conducting warrantless assaults on drug locations for personal profit.

Hembury's corruption is, of course, the result of his own bad judgment. But the lesson the Department must take from Hembury's experience is that constant, unrelieved exposure to the opportunities and temptations of corruption spawned in neighborhoods rife with drug dealing and violence may infect and destroy even the initially good cop, not just the "rotten apples." Even an officer with pride in the Department and in being an honest cop might eventually succumb to the constant nurture of a criminal environment.

The drug plague is an area in which the national interest requires results. Illegal narcotics are one of the most important causes of the dissolution of American society at the present time. To interdict the drug flows and to prosecute the drug money launderers at the top of the banking community would have represented a real public service. But Bush had no intention of seriously pursuing such goals. For him, the war on drugs was a cruel hoax, a cynical exercise in demagogic self-promotion, designed in large part to camouflage activities by himself and his networks that promoted drug trafficking. A further shocking episode that has come to light in this regard involves Bush's 14-year friendship with a member of Meyer Lansky's Miami circles who sold Bush his prized trophy, the Cigarette boat Fidelity.

Bush's war on drugs was a rhetorical and public relations success for a time. On February 16, 1982, in a speech on his own turf in Miami, Florida, Bush promised to use sophisticated military aircraft to track the airplanes used by smugglers. Several days later, Bush ordered the US Navy to send in its E2C surveillance aircraft for this purpose. If these were not available in sufficient numbers, said Bush, he was determined to bring in the larger and more sophisticated AWACS early warning aircraft to do the job. But Bush's skills as an interagency expediter left something to be desired: by May, two of the four E2C aircraft that originally had been in Florida were transferred out of the state. By June, airborne surveillance time was running a mere 40 hours per month, not the 360 hours promised by Bush, prompting Rep. Glenn English to call hearings on this topic. By October, 1982 the General Accounting Office issued an opinion in which it found "it is doubtful whether the [south Florida] task force can have any substantial long-term impact on drug availability." But the headlines were grabbed by Bush, who stated in 1984 that the efforts of his task force had eliminated the marijuana trade in south Florida. That was an absurd claim, but it sounded very good. When Francis Mullen. Jr., the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) criticized Bush for making this wildly inaccurate statement, he was soon ousted from his post at the DEA.

In 1988, Democratic Congressman Glenn English concluded that Bush's "war on drugs" had been fought with "little more than lip service and press releases." English wrote: "There has been very little substance behind the rhetoric, and some of the major interdiction problems have yet to be resolved. The President assigned...Bush to coordinate and direct federal antidrug-abuse programs among the various law enforcement agencies. However, eight years later it is apparent that the task has not been accomplished." [fn 1] No observer still stationed in reality could dispute this very pessimistic assessment.

But the whole truth is much uglier.

-- George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin

What made matters worse for Hembury and other officers like him was their belief that the Department had abandoned them to the criminal sub-culture that beset them everyday. In such a precinct, an officer who feels that the Department fails to care is more likely to relinquish loyalty to the Department and become corrupt, so at least his all-too-human greed can be satisfied. In Hembury's case, he made five applications for transfer out of the 73rd Precinct. Ironically, the Department finally granted his request on May 6, 1992 -- the day of his arrest.

We are, of course, making no excuses for corrupt cops. No one is to blame for their corruption but themselves. Indeed, even in the worst precincts, most cops resisted the temptations of crime. But there is an important lesson to be learned from the evidence: most corrupt cops do not join the Department to become criminals or to line their pockets with cash. The conditions they confront on the job change this view; and change their basic attitudes and principles. This is a problem not only for the corrupt cop, but for the entire Department. The Department must necessarily share the blame for this situation. It failed to take the necessary actions to keep its honest cops honest, through effective supervision, training, deterrence, personnel management and other means. It must not fail to do so in the future.

Police Cynicism

Even when faced with the powerful and frequent temptations of corruption, we rightly demand that police officers enforce the law without violating it. But the Department and society at large must acknowledge the obligation to support those who want to perform their duties honestly. In the average police officer's view, that is an obligation that is often not met. Those failures make officers cynical and, therefore, more prone to crossing the line toward corruption. We observed a good deal of cynicism among many police officers we interviewed, especially among those officers who succumbed to corruption.

For most of these officers, the reasons for their cynicism arise from the jarring contrast between what the Department and society say they want from police, and the experiences they have as police officers every day. For those officers who turned to corruption, their cynicism provides a rationalization for their corrupt activities; for those officers who remain honest, it supplies a reason to remain silent. For the police officer immersed daily in a criminal sub-culture, crime is not a political issue, it is an every day reality.

While the Department's commanders, government officials, and community groups urge police officers to be aggressive crime fighters, officers often believe that the criminal justice system is too soft on criminal behavior. Because of evidentiary rules and prison overcrowding, defendants, who officers risk their safety to apprehend, are frequently released from custody and put back on the streets within days. They see their authority being undermined and society's demand for law and order as a sham when the drug dealer they arrested on Monday is back on his street corner on Wednesday. They come to believe that true justice can only be served by their nightsticks or by insuring that the drug dealer will never enjoy his profit after they have taken it for themselves. Even officers who never resort to force or theft will close the gap between the requirements of the law and the demands of reality by falsifying the basis for arrests or searches to insure that the charges stick in what they see as the unrealistic rules of the courtroom. Simply put, they believe that integrity often makes them the only fools in a hypocritical system.

Another cause of cynicism is officers' views of Departmental policies and practices. Many officers we interviewed believe that the Department suffers from a large measure of hypocrisy. They believe that the Department's commitment to integrity is more rhetoric than reality. They also believe the Department is more responsive to political influence and media pressure than the needs and attitudes of its own officers. When officers view themselves and their superiors as political pawns rather than impartial officers of the law, they resent it and question the integrity and motivations of the very Department whose uniform they wear. Regardless of the truth of the perception, the point is such impressions are widespread and have a corrosive impact on morale, character, and integrity.

Officers' cynicism about the Department's commitment to corruption control is justified. As testimony at the Commission's public and private hearings made clear, supervising officers tip off subordinates about pending investigations or citizen complaints. On some occasions, desk officers reminded officers to add resisting arrest charges for suspects brought to the stationhouse with too many visible bruises. Obviously, a corrupt officer who sees his superiors condone his wrongdoing necessarily takes the message that being caught in the wrong is worse than doing the wrong itself. Officer Otto testified that although his commanding officer knew about corruption in his precinct, his only message to his officers was not to get caught:

I remember on one occasion, the Commanding Officer gave a speech at roll call. He stated that some of you may have problems that are so bad that you feel you have to do certain things in order to survive. And if that's the case, then do what you have to do. But if you ever get caught, don't say anything .... His message was that it was all right to steal as long as you felt that you could do it and get away with it ...

Obviously, after hearing a speech like that from a precinct commander, even the most ardent calls for integrity from a Police Commissioner will fall on deaf ears.

Favoritism is another source of officers' cynicism about the Department's commitment to integrity. Whether rightly or wrongly, many patrol officers believe that merit and seniority have much less to do with career advancement than the proverbial "hook." According to large numbers of officers, it is not what you know or how well you do, but who you know that determines advancement within the Department. Even worse, many police officers believe that for the favored "boss," the same rules of integrity do not apply. In their view, while the Department will quickly penalize street cops for minor infractions, it protects favored commanders from their own incompetence and indiscretions.

There seems to be some truth to this perception. In the past, commanders have rarely been held accountable for corruption on their watch, and some have even been promoted despite poor performances in this area. Patrol officers told us they see hardworking officers trying to scrape together a living while chiefs retire with tax-free disability pensions for ancient injuries.

Officers' cynicism toward the Department fuels the worst aspects of police culture. It further makes officers' bonds of loyalty to fellow officers, honest and corrupt alike, greater than their loyalty to the Department, and often the law.

The Department can do much to strengthen the resolve of each officer to resist the opportunity and tolerance for corruption by attacking the deep-seated cynicism too many officers feel about the Department and replacing it with an abiding respect for their Department. To do that, the Department must convince its officers that it is ready to enter a new and inviolable pact with them: unremitting support, guidance, rewards, and incentives in exchange for their professionalism and pride in a Department that is renown for its skills and integrity.

Moral Character and Fitness

Over the last ten years, rising crime and rampant fear in our communities have created a demand to place large numbers of new police officers on the streets of New York as quickly as they could be recruited and graduated from the Academy. In the 1980s, the Department graduated recruit classes numbering in the thousands. This year alone, four thousand new officers will hit the streets by summer's end. Of course, the grip of crime gives the public and public officials every reason to enlist more officers for our City. But we cannot overlook the consequences.

The moral character of an individual recruit has a great deal to do with the course of a police career and the ability to resist the erosion of values and the cynicism that come with police work. Family upbringing, education, and community values shape the character of any individual. And, as in any other walk of life, the character and integrity of our police officers will reflect the moral climate of our society. Despite this, our analysis of the Department's recruitment and screening practices revealed that the Department often does not complete recruits' background checks before they become fully-fledged police officers.

The Department thus puts scores of new officers on the streets of New York each year before determining whether they have the moral values and psychological stamina necessary to meet the demands and temptations that police officers confront each day. Overwhelmingly, officers interviewed by the Commission believe that the Department's recruitment and hiring standards have declined. They believe that many people with questionable backgrounds and character are allowed to become their fellow officers because of political pressures to hire more and more police. They believe this practice dilutes the quality of their profession and leads to corruption. Our analysis reveals that this may not be far from the truth. Of over four-hundred officers that were dismissed or suspended for corruption over the past five years, we found that a large number of them should never have been admitted to the Department -- based solely on information in the officer's personnel file at the time of application. These issues are discussed in detail in Chapter Five.

Most new officers, moreover, assume the responsibilities and power of a police officer before they reach the age of twenty-three. For some of them, the power that comes with the gun and the badge makes them view police work as a series of thrills and electric moments of danger rather than as steady and responsible service to the citizenry. Currently, 31 percent of the police force has five years or less experience; with the addition of four thousand new officers this year, the figure will climb to nearly 42 percent. Untested by life's experiences and striving to provide financial security for themselves and their families, the appeal of corruption and its easy profits can understandably make young, inexperienced police officers ignore their duty. It also makes them particularly suspectable [susceptible] to the most corruptive aspects of police culture. The Department must recognize the new demographics of its present-day members and take every step to insure that impressionable young officers are not indefinitely abandoned to the pressures of police work that make corruption the easy choice.

Police Unions

Police unions and fraternal organizations can do much to increase the pride and professionalism of our police officers. They also can do much to help change the corruptive features of police culture and to reorient the attitudes of their members to nurture mutual respect between society at large and police officers. Unfortunately, based on our own observations and on information received from prosecutors, corruption investigators, and high-ranking police officials, police unions sometimes fuel the insularity that characterizes police culture.

At the outset, we were disappointed at the negative reaction that some police unions had toward the Commission's work. Instead of seeing the Commission as a possible vehicle for reform for the benefit of their members, some unions automatically saw it as a threat and a device of partisan politics. For example, only a month after the Commission began its inquiries, the Captains Benevolent Association ("C.B.A.") initiated a lawsuit to dissolve the Commission and thereby thwart the Commission's investigation into police corruption. While the C.B.A. and its officers are entitled to their opinions, the Commission thought it unfortunate that a police union representing high-ranking members of the Department would attack a Commission whose mission was to investigate police corruption and to recommend means to combat it. The unfortunate result of such action is first to create a negative attitude on the part of its members toward fighting corruption within the Department and at the same time to reinforce the public's cynicism about the members of the Police Department and the officers' sense of insularity against the public. This is particularly egregious coming from the union representing the highest-ranking members of the Department. By contrast, we invited and met with many high-ranking officers of the Department who expressed great concern over the issue of corruption and their readiness to assist in formulating lasting solutions to the problem.

During the course of our work, we held discussions with officers of the Detectives Endowment Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, and the lieutenants Benevolent Association to gain their insights into the issue of corruption and corruption control. [9] Invariably, they all denounced corruption as a grave threat to the reputation and safety of their members.

Nonetheless, in the course of corruption investigations and Departmental administrative proceedings, police unions suffer from a conflict of interest between protecting the interests of the individual officer and promoting the larger interests of their members. Consequently, according to Department managers and prosecutors, police unions help perpetuate the characteristics of police culture that protect corrupt officers.

In particular, past and current prosecutors and Department officials told us in informal interviews that P.B.A. delegates and attorneys help reinforce the code of silence among officers who have committed or witnessed corrupt acts. According to these sources, P.B.A. attorneys often represent both targets and witnesses involved in the same corruption probes. This irreconcilable conflict of interest results in counseling their members against cooperating with corruption investigations. Of course, their advice against cooperation is automatically enforced since the same P.B.A. attorneys and delegates represent all the witnesses and targets of an investigation. Any officer who breaks ranks from this common representation is immediately known to be a cooperator. This not only impedes but, at times, imperils the progress of an investigation and may lead to stigmatizing the officer who decides to cooperate with investigators.

Of course, P.B.A. representatives must represent their members zealously. But what the P.B.A. has failed to understand in such circumstances is that its own conflict of interest does great disservice to the vast majority of its members who would be happy to see corrupt cops prosecuted for their crimes and removed from the job. Thus, by advising its members against cooperating with law enforcement authorities, the P.B.A. often acts as a shelter for and protector of the corrupt cop rather than as a guardian of the interests of the vast majority of its membership, who are honest police officers. Furthermore, the multiplicity of representation may result in the P.B.A. representative providing advice and guidance which is against the best interest of individual officers as well against the best interest of membership as a whole.

During the course of the Commission's tenure, we have observed or received information about events illustrating the wrongheaded message sometimes delivered by P.B.A. representatives. In March 1994, for example, as a result of a joint investigation with the Commission and the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District charged three officers of Brownsville's 73rd Precinct with extortion, conspiracy, and civil rights violations based on a series of unlawful searches and seizures and thefts of drugs, guns, and money. P.B.A. officials immediately denounced the arrests. In particular, one P.B.A. officer denigrated the reliability of the former police officers (all of whom were themselves members of the P.B.A.) who decided to cooperate with federal authorities, and claimed that the prosecution was orchestrated simply to justify the existence of this Commission. He described federal investigators' attempts to have the arrested officers cooperate with the investigation as "Nazi tactics." The P.B.A.'s goal should be to encourage the removal of corrupt officers rather than engaging in rhetoric designed to protect them. To the average police officer, the P.B.A.'s message was clear: the world is out to get cops so cops have to protect themselves against the world. Thus, cynicism and divisiveness grow and prosper. This serves no legitimate union interest, and certainly not the interests of its members.

The Commission received information, moreover, that certain P.B.A. delegates have attempted to thwart police corruption investigations. In one instance, according to a prosecutor, P.B.A. officials frustrated plans to use a cooperating police officer in an investigation into drug-related corruption. These P.B.A. officials had a police officer review the records of room rentals in the hotel used to debrief the cooperating officer to ascertain his identity and to verify his secret cooperation with the Bronx District Attorney. When the officer found receipts for a room rented to an official of the District Attorney's Office, it became widely known that the officer had agreed to cooperate, rendering him useless to the investigation.

In another instance, Commission investigators received information that a P.B.A. delegate warned officers in a neighboring precinct that two defendants made narcotics corruption allegations against them. The delegate not only tipped off the officers about the allegation but agreed to show them photographs of the complainants.

Police unions and fraternal organizations are powerful organizations that wield great influence among their members and in the halls of our legislative chambers. Their authority brings the obligation to educate their members about the dangers of dishonesty and corruption. In promoting and furthering their members' interest, we strongly urge police unions to join in partnership with the Department's leadership in effectively fighting corruption. With an unequivocal voice, police unions must encourage their members to report corruption and cooperate with the Department and other law enforcement agencies when it comes time to prosecute, so long as their legitimate interests and their rights are protected. If they do so, they will do much to flatten the highest barrier that exists between corruption and its most promising solution: the honest cop.


The code of silence and the "Us vs. Them" mentality were present wherever we found corruption. These characteristics of police culture help explain how bands of corrupt officers can openly engage in corruption over long periods of time with impunity. To achieve lasting success against police corruption, the Department must insure that its systems of corruption control strike at the root causes and conditions of corruption and not just its symptoms. To do that, the Department must transform police culture and redirect its power against concealing and perpetuating corruption. It must create a culture that demands integrity and works to insure it; an atmosphere in which dishonest cops fear the honest ones, and not the other way around -- as Detective Frank Serpico warned twenty years ago. Without it, no system of corruption control is likely to succeed. The Commission believes that such change is possible. It believes such possibility is enhanced by an independent commission trusted by all concerned.


8. City of New York, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the City's Anti-Corruption Procedures, Commission Report (New York: December 26, 1972), p. 6.

9. Of all the unions, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Captains Endowment Association declined our invitation to participate in discussions.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

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"All parts of the Department's corruption systems had been functioning terribly for years ... top commanders in and outside of Internal Affairs didn't seem too concerned about that however because it guaranteed no bad headlines ... but when they heard an independent monitoring Commission was being set up to see how they were doing in the corruption area, things started quickly changing...."

-- IAD Supervisor, Private Interview with Commission Staff, September 23, 1993

To fulfill our mandate to investigate the quality of the Department's corruption controls, the Commission made numerous requests for documents and information that set forth the Department's anti-corruption practices and performance over the past decade. We were astounded to learn that -- unlike other commands in the Department -- virtually no information on the overall performance of the anti-corruption systems existed, and the little that did was largely inaccurate. We then subpoenaed officers of all ranks who were assigned to and supervised portions of the Department's anti-corruption apparatus. We were again astounded to learn that many did not know how certain anti-corruption systems were supposed to work or how certain programs and units, many established during the Knapp Commission era, were functioning today.

The Commission therefore started from scratch in investigating and auditing what should have been the principal components of the Department's anti-corruption systems. These include: (i) command accountability and supervision; (ii) internal investigations and intelligence gathering; (iii) recruitment and screening; (iv) training; and (v) the police attitudes and culture that nurture and protect corruption. This had never been done before because -- unlike other City agencies -- the Department had been allowed to police itself alone, with no independent oversight to insure it was doing its job well.

Our investigation found a system that had virtually collapsed years ago -- and that was more likely to minimize or conceal corruption than uncover and uproot it. We found that the New York City Police Department had largely abandoned its responsibility to police itself and had failed to create a culture dedicated to rooting out corruption.

The reason for this collapse can be summarized in a few words: a deep-seated institutional reluctance to uncover serious corruption with no independent external pressure to counter it. From the top brass down, there was an often debilitating fear about police corruption disclosures because it was perceived as an embarrassment to the Department, and likely to engender a loss of public confidence. From the top brass down, there was a widespread belief that uncovering serious corruption would harm careers and the Department's reputation. As a result, avoiding bad headlines, and tolerating corruption, became more important than eradicating it.

This attitude infected the entire Department, manifesting itself in different ways throughout the ranks. It encouraged the Department's top managers to allow corruption controls to wither through neglect and denial of resources, and to allow the principle of command accountability to collapse through lack of enforcement. That encouraged local field commanders -- who can best prevent and uproot corruption because of their daily interaction with and authority over the vast majority of officers on the streets -- to ignore evidence of corruption on their watch or to transfer problem officers out of their commands. When this happens, the Department loses a powerful tool for changing the culture of the Department. It also sends a powerful message to patrol officers who are most susceptible to corruption's allure: that despite obligatory rhetoric to the contrary, corruption is tolerated in the stationhouses of this City.

This fear of corruption disclosures infected the Department's internal investigative apparatus as well. Officers of all ranks in the Internal Affairs Division ("IAD") and the Field Internal Affairs Units ("FIAUs") testified in the course of our investigation that the commanding officers of IAD -- and the top managers of the Department -- wanted to minimize the likelihood of uncovering serious corruption. One IAD detective, to whom we promised confidentiality, said he was expected to have a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to corruption investigations. A former IAD supervisor told the Commission that IAD investigators and supervisors understood that their mission was "damage control", not uncovering serious corruption. The six-year chief of the Department's Inspectional Services Bureau, Daniel Sullivan, confirmed that the highest levels within the Department wanted Internal Affairs and local field commanders to be toothless in fighting corruption. He testified at the Commission's public hearings that:

There was a message that went out to the field that maybe we shouldn't be so aggressive in fighting corruption because the Department just does not want bad press. (Tr. 25)

Numerous officers told us that the Department's desire to minimize corruption disclosures became particularly intense after the 77th Precinct scandal of 1986, when thirteen officers were indicted on charges ranging from larceny to sale of narcotics. Although the Department's Internal Affairs Division and the Office of the Special State Prosecutor [10] investigated that case aggressively, there was a pervasive perception throughout the Department that the negative publicity it generated harmed the Department and undermined public confidence in it. The former Commanding Officer of the Manhattan South FIAU, Captain Charles Luckner, for example, told us in a private interview:

Q: What would the reaction be when there was a precinct-wide scandal? Was there some embarrassment about that?

A:. Oh sure. They didn't want it.

Q: Who didn't want it?

A:. Nobody. The Department didn't want it. [Laugh] I would say the Department didn't want it from the Police Commissioner down ... I think one of the big things, if I remember correctly, was when they had the one in Brooklyn's 77th [Precinct]. And Ward was the Commissioner. He took that as a personal affront and he wanted to know how come this thing came about. Why did this blow up into a big thing like this? Why didn't they chip off one, two, three, or four or five [police officers] . . . and it wouldn't have been a big thing. You understand. Instead of making a wholesale arrest of four or five or six officers, you know, you take one here, one there, one there, one there .... It don't make headlines [Laugh] ... That seemed to be the underlying, you know, message that sort of came down.

Chief Sullivan confirmed Luckner's conclusion. He similarly testified that "the 77th Precinct case was a black eye for the Department, and they certainly didn't want to have another one of those." (Tr. 26)

There is no mystery to the Department's reluctance to uncover corruption. No institution wants its reputation tainted by corruption and scandal. This is particularly true of police departments where top commanders typically believe that careers and morale will suffer as a result of corruption revelations.

There is another reason for the Department's reluctance to uncover corruption: its success in uprooting corruption is often viewed as failure. When it comes to uncovering corruption, the Department sees itself in a no-win situation. If it succeeds in uncovering corruption, the public and the press often take these revelations as evidence of widespread management and integrity problems. On the other hand, if it fails to uncover corruption, the Department's integrity problems fester and scandal is the inevitable result. This creates little incentive to have zealous anti-corruption efforts.

An ineffective anti-corruption system, unfortunately, gives top commanders a way out of this dilemma. As long as the Department believes that success in uncovering corruption will be viewed as a graver failure than allowing it to exist, the institutional incentive to ignore evidence of corruption will only grow. A truly independent oversight monitor offers a solution. While pressing the Department to aggressively police itself, such a monitor can also assure the Mayor and the public that corruption disclosures are evidence of the Department's success in maintaining integrity.

During the hearing, Kerik stood to answer the judge's questions about his competency to enter the plea, admitting that he'd recently been under the care of a doctor.

Then, facing the prospect of admitting to eight separate crimes, he sat down, placed his hands on the table and read from a prepared statement in a firm but quiet voice.

Although he did not admit to the first count of the indictment -- conspiring to sell his office -- he acknowledged:

* Hiding a $255,000 secret payment on his apartment renovation from a mob-linked contractor.

* Speaking with city investigators looking at the contractor's ties to the Gambino crime family.

* Lying to the White House about his involvement with the contractor when President Bush nominated him to run Homeland Security.

After his plea, Kerik was returned to the Westchester County Jail. His lawyers said they will ask that he be released in the coming days.

Kerik's plea leaves a permanent stain on the reputation of his mentor, ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a potential Republican candidate for governor.

Giuliani appointed Kerik to run city jails in 1998, then to head the NYPD in 2000. Both were hailed as heroes after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and, for a time, Kerik was President Bush's nominee to run Homeland Security.

-- Bernard Kerik Pleads Guilty to Lying About Payoff: He's First NYPD Commish to Admit to Crime, by Robert Gearty

The Department's corruption controls are no longer in a state of neglect. As has been the case historically, the Department swiftly strengthened its ability and will to police itself after the creation of an independent Commission. An anti-corruption apparatus that had been neglected for a decade became the focus of resources and reforms under the glare of outside scrutiny. We applaud this commitment and have recommended measures to insure that the pressure created by independent oversight and public attention does not abate over time.

But much can be learned by examining how badly the Department allowed its anticorruption systems to unravel. It shows the inevitable consequence of leaving anticorruption efforts solely within the control of a Department that has a natural incentive to believe it will be embarrassed and harmed by the very success of those efforts.


To understand how the Department's anti-corruption apparatus failed to work, one must first understand how it was originally supposed to work, and compare that to its actual function.

Spreading Accountability

In response to the Knapp Commission investigation of the early 1970s, Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy reorganized the Department's anti-corruption system by distributing responsibility for fighting corruption among local commanders and in a centralized Internal Affairs Division. This was the system the Department had in place until the creation of this Commission.

Both the Knapp Commission and Commissioner Murphy understood that to successfully root out corruption in the New York City Police Department, something more than just a strong central investigative capacity would be required. Strong central investigations by skilled and determined corruption fighters was important. It was a powerful way to show the Department's commitment to dealing with corruption, and to make determinedly corrupt cops think twice before engaging in corrupt acts.

But they also believed that central investigations by themselves would not be enough to deal with the problem. In their view, corruption could be successfully prevented and detected only if field commanders played an integral part in fighting corruption and were held accountable for corruption on their watch. A completely centralized anti-corruption system could not work because it concentrated accountability for corruption control too narrowly: in a centralized Internal Affairs Division, rather than in the field. Simply put, in Murphy's view, centralizing total responsibility for anti-corruption in IAD let local commanders off the hook and eliminated the best opportunity for effectively fighting corruption.

To produce a greater impact on corruption in the police department -- to find a way to penetrate and ultimately crumble the blue wall of silence -- the Knapp Commission and Murphy believed that they had to find a way to mobilize the Department's managers, supervisors, and officers into corruption fighters rather than corruption tolerators. The cornerstone of this idea became the principle of command accountability: that all commanders are responsible for pursuing corruption in their commands and will be evaluated firmly but fairly on their performance.

The difficulty was finding some way to make this abstract principle a reality in the daily lives of the managers, supervisors and officers of the Department. The principle had to become real rather than rhetorical. To achieve this, Commissioner Murphy made some important organizational changes in corruption control within the Department.

To hold commanders responsible for corruption in their commands, they had to have the tools and resources to effectively uproot it. Murphy believed this could best be accomplished by giving them an investigative capacity. He created the FIAUs -- local, field internal affairs units -- that investigated corruption in the patrol boroughs and special commands. They reported directly to both the local borough or field commander and to IAD. In principle, the FIAUs therefore were a crucial component of the anti-corruption apparatus, that existed until the time this Commission was created.

Murphy also recognized the need for some centralized entity to conduct important or sensitive investigations and to assist the FIAUs. He therefore established a centralized IAD with three primary functions: to oversee and assist the FIAUs; to investigate serious, complex and highly-sensitive allegations of corruption; and to conduct intelligence-gathering and trend analysis for the FIAUs and IAD. This system was touted as the premier anticorruption structure in the nation -- and was emulated by law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally. This system existed unchanged until it was restructured during the Commission's tenure in January 1993.

Despite the virtues of this system, there were two fundamental flaws that contributed to its downfall. First, although command accountability was the linchpin of the anticorruption apparatus, no institutional mechanism was ever put into place to enforce it. Its enforcement depended solely on the Police Commissioner's dedication and adherence to that principle. If the Police Commissioner did not enforce a policy of holding commanders accountable when corruption was detected, no other person or unit within the Department accepted responsibility for carrying out that important function. Over time, enforcement of command accountability completely broke down.

Second, although IAD was responsible for overseeing the entire FIAU structure and insuring its effectiveness, no institutional mechanism was ever put into place to oversee IAD and insure its successful performance. [11] The assumption was simply that the top brass would be responsible for overseeing IAD and the Department's entire anti-corruption apparatus. That worked fine for a time. But the system relied exclusively on police managers' commitment to integrity, rather than on institutionalized oversight. Once public attention and Departmental priorities shifted elsewhere, the Department's interest in corruption control began to wane. So too did any oversight of and commitment to IAD -- or to any component of the anti-corruption apparatus. Over time, the system began to decay. Officers in and out of Internal Affairs adopted the attitude that its work was not only unimportant, but that its success was perceived as a thorn in the Department's side.

When IAD's performance began to wither, so too did the entire FIAU structure. Vital resources were denied to IAD and the FIAUs; quality officers, for the most part, avoided assignment to these units; and the performance of these operations was well below what would have been tolerated in any other command. Given the Department's natural reluctance to uncover corruption, no top commander within the Department attempted to reverse the system's decline -- or, of course, alert the public as to the state of its corruption controls.

The specific time when the Department's corruption control system collapsed is difficult to answer. The erosion was gradual. Interest in integrity issues was naturally at its height during the Knapp Commission era and slowly diminished over time. Our inquiries focused primarily on the past decade, largely because of the availability of documents, files and witness recollections.

By the time this Commission commenced its inquiries in September 1992, only the skeleton of Murphy's system remained. Units and systems existed only on paper and had no direction or responsibilities in practice. This state of affairs was allowed to continue because it appeared to protect the Department and satisfied its top commanders. No one in the Department had any incentive to fix what had broken, until their feet were held to the fire of public scrutiny.

The New Anti-Corruption Apparatus

Early in the Commission's life, after the revelation of officer Michael Dowd's corrupt activities as uncovered by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Commissioner Raymond Kelly completed his own investigation of the state of the Department's corruption controls. He too found that the anti-corruption apparatus had completely collapsed, and that the FIAU structure had eroded. He decided to reform the system and centralize the Department's internal investigative function. He therefore combined the FIAUs and IAD under one new bureau called the Internal Affairs Bureau ("IAB"). IAB is responsible for investigating all allegations of serious corruption, intelligence-gathering, and corruption trends analysis.

Some have argued that in centralizing the investigative apparatus, the Department has eliminated its only tool for keeping local commanders accountable: the FIAUs. But this assumes that a field investigative capacity is the only way to keep local commanders accountable. We do not necessarily agree. While we are convinced that command accountability is vital to corruption control, we do not believe that a decentralized investigative structure is the only way to reach that goal. Indeed, we found that placing the investigative capacity for police corruption in the control of local commanders was often counterproductive. Field commanders have a built-in incentive to contain corruption disclosures, and not pursue corruption with zeal because of fear of an adverse impact on their careers.

We found that many of the FIAUs were so overwhelmed with work and had so few resources that it was virtually impossible for them to investigate police corruption. This was no secret to some borough commanders who, along with IAD, were responsible for overseeing the FIAUs' operations and allocating resources and personnel to the FIAUs. But ineffective FIAUs served a protective function for borough commanders: they minimized the likelihood of serious corruption disclosures. We also found that, in practice, the FIAUs were rarely used as a management tool to keep borough or precinct commanders accountable. Although the FIAUs initiated some of their own investigations, they primarily investigated complaints assigned to them by IAD.

We are convinced that corruption controls can only be effective if local field commanders are made responsible for fighting corruption. We have concluded, however, that other means exist for decentralizing responsibility for fighting corruption and for fairly enforcing command accountability other than the FIAUs. For example, we believe the Department can accomplish this critical task by making commanding officers, from borough commanders to local precinct supervisors, responsible not for investigating corruption -- which they rarely did in practice anyway -- but for undertaking consistent efforts to prevent, detect and report it to IAB for analysis and investigations. If borough or precinct commanders believe they have a corruption problem in their command, they must be held responsible for reporting that information to IAB, and for assisting IAB in any ensuing investigation.

In sum, we believe that the current centralized investigative structure can work so long as the Department successfully decentralizes responsibility for preventing and reporting corruption throughout the Department. We are convinced that the application of the principle of command accountability is the only way to spread the values and incentives necessary to combat corruption successfully.


That the Department has now reformed its internal investigative apparatus should not give us total comfort. The source of the past failures has not been eradicated, just pushed aside. As an institution, the Department will always view corruption disclosures as painful and harmful. It will always be reluctant to vigorously pursue corruption among its own; it will always hope that the investigative net it casts reels in as few corrupt cops as possible. The best evidence of this underlying institutional attitude is to look at how badly the system crumbled when there was no independent oversight. In the following sections, we present the evidence to demonstrate just that.


Although the success of command accountability hinges on making commanders accountable for preventing and uprooting corruption in their commands, we found that the principle of command accountability had virtually collapsed in past years. Police Commissioners and their subordinates rarely evaluated a commander's anti-corruption performance, either regularly or during periods of scandal. Nor did they typically sanction or reward commanding officers for their performance in fighting corruption.

Indeed, even in the face of significant corruption disclosures in precincts like the 75th Precinct, the 73rd Precinct, and the 46th Precinct, we are aware of no commanding officers or supervisors who were sanctioned for permitting such conditions to exist in their commands.

Even worse, we found that one of the basic principles of command accountability -- that diligence in uncovering corruption will be rewarded -- had been completely perverted. In recent years, a message had filtered down from top commanders -- including Police Commissioners -- that disclosure of corruption, even that resulting from vigilant corruption fighting, would be viewed as a management failure.

That this attitude came from the top is clear. Chief Sullivan testified publicly that the message from the Department's top commanders "that went out to the field [was] that maybe we shouldn't be so aggressive in fighting corruption because the Department just does not want bad press." (Tr. 15) He went on to testify:

Some field commanders might feel it was more prudent not to address or dig out corruption faced with their impression of what the intentions of the Department was [sic] _ There was a disincentive for [field commanders] to root out corruption and, you know, to the depth that it was in the 77th Precinct _ They did not work as diligently as they could have in rooting out corruption. _ [There was a concern] that if they're going to generate bad news, and it may not be accepted at the top, this would be harmful to their careers. (Tr. 26-27)

Thus commanding officers and supervisors alike were often more interested in whether their troops were discreet than honest. In the 30th Precinct, for example, at least one high-level commander openly warned his officers to be careful if engaging in corruption: his message was to avoid getting caught, rather than to avoid the wrongdoing. In other precincts where we found extensive corruption, few supervisors had ever pursued or reported corruption even when they should have suspected or known it existed.

We also found that precinct and borough commanders viewed corruption more as a local managerial problem than a Departmental one. If they had suspicions about a corrupt officer in their command, they often attempted to solve the problem, and protect their careers, by reassignment or transfer to maintain the stability and performance of their precinct or borough. The Department should no longer allow this to occur. The Police Commissioner should clearly inform his field commanders that corruption is a Department-wide problem -- not a local one -- and local commanders' desire to solve the problem by administrative transfer must bow to the Department's desire to remove corrupt officers from its ranks.

There are three primary reasons for the collapse of command accountability. First, its enforcement is complicated and time consuming. It means more than occasionally rolling heads when corruption is disclosed so the Police Commissioner can look tough in the midst of scandal. Such a strict liability stand -- which has been the Department's sole means for dealing with command accountability in the past -- only provides incentives to conceal, bury or transfer corruption, rather than uproot it Second, no mechanism was ever instituted to enforce command accountability beyond the counter-productive, and often unfair, "heads must roll" approach. To truly enforce command accountability successfully, and to motivate commanders to uncover rather than conceal corruption on their watch, the Department must conduct inquiries into whether corruption disclosures are evidence of commanders' poor performance in maintaining integrity or good performance in uprooting it. This requires a complete overhauling of the system of command accountability.

A third reason for the collapse of command accountability is that in the recent past, no one in the Department was eager to enforce it. Neglecting command accountability serves a self-protective function for the Department. It sends a message to local commanders everywhere that uprooting corruption need not be a concern; that turning a blind eye is acceptable. This, of course, insures that police commanders will not aggressively pursue corruption throughout their precincts -- which minimizes the chances of scandal. Consequently, one of the best tools for spreading the fight against corruption, and changing the culture that tolerates it, is lost.

We recognize that enforcing command accountability is not easy. It requires regular and special case evaluations of anti-corruption performance; it requires factual inquiries into culpability rather than reactive head rolling; and a commitment from the Department's top commanders to insure its enforcement.

In sum, successful enforcement of command accountability requires a complete reinvention of the systems for enforcing it. This is precisely what we recommend in the next chapter.


Few deny that strong supervision is critical to effective corruption controls. Despite this, at the beginning of our inquiries, honest and corrupt cops alike reported that in many precincts in our City, police supervision was in a state of crisis. The Commission therefore devoted much effort to investigating the state of supervision in the Department and the attitudes and practices of supervisors today. To accomplish this, we focused on supervision in our field investigations, in interviews with corrupt officers cooperating with the Commission, and in formal and informal interviews with supervisors and commanders of all ranks in the Department. We also initiated a special supervision project in which we reviewed the Department's practices and performance in this area, and held a series of private hearings with lieutenants and sergeants who serve in precincts around the City, and whose experience in the Department ranged from nine to thirty years.

Our investigation revealed a widespread breakdown in supervision which fueled and protected the corruption we observed. In fact, in every precinct where we found corruption, we found ineffective or sparse supervision -- and a willingness by certain supervisors to turn a blind eye to corruption which they knew or strongly suspected existed. In fact, many supervisors did not believe that uprooting corruption was part of their responsibilities.

These supervisory failures are a major contributing factor to corruption and the climate of tolerance that makes it possible: it protects cops who are corrupt; emboldens those contemplating corruption; and sends a message to all that the Department is more concerned about officers being subtle than honest.

Willful Blindness

The reason for supervisors' willful blindness varies. Some believe that their superiors want them to be good administrators, not effective corruption fighters. Others believe that uncovering corruption would harm rather than help their careers, as the collapse of command accountability has proven. Other supervisors -- particularly inexperienced ones -- not only believe that their reputations would suffer by uncovering corruption, but that their lives would be made miserable by their subordinates. They find it difficult to make the leap from patrol officer to "boss." They still want to win acceptance and cannot shake their concern that they would suffer repercussions from their subordinates for reporting corruption. So powerful are these attitudes, that many sergeants admitted that they would not openly report even serious corruption among their troops.

The facts bear this out. Despite the open and frequent corruption of Dowd, Hembury, Cawley, and many 30th Precinct officers, Department records and interviews indicate that their supervisors did not report their knowledge or suspicions about corruption to Internal Affairs. While most supervisors claim ignorance of the facts, the Commission finds it hard to believe that at least some supervisors failed to know about the open, group corruption of these officers. [12]

Performance Evaluations

Not only have many supervisors neglected their anti-corruption responsibilities, but many have even abandoned their responsibility to evaluate officers in their command -- and to flag "problem" officers for the Department. Indeed, in our supervision project, supervisors admitted that performance evaluations were typically boilerplate, and not intended to flag problem officers for the Department or their superiors. Indeed, we found that performance evaluations often covered suspected corruption problems. The case of Michael Dowd presents a classic illustration of this problem. Michael Dowd testified that when he had reached the height of his career as a corrupt officer, was using drugs and drinking on the job daily, had not made a single arrest in one of the most crime-ridden precincts in the City, was driving a red Corvette and living an openly lavish life-style from his illicit drug profits, his supervisor gave him a "meets standards" evaluation and said he could one day be a "role model" for other officers. His evaluation was as follows:


RATER COMMENTS: This officer has excellent street knowledge: relates well with his peers and is empathetic to the community. This officer could excel within the New York City Police Department and easily become a role model for others to emulate if he maximized his inner drive to fulfill job responsibilities to the fullest. Must improve attendance and arrest activity. Good career potential.

The supervisor's explanation for this evaluation at a private hearing was that although Dowd was a disciplinary problem, he was changing his ways. Dowd, like many other openly corrupt officers with whom we spoke, reported that this lack of strong supervision and many supervisors' apparent willful blindness made him believe that he could "do just about anything and get away with it" (Tr. 150)

Resource and Management Failures

But field supervisors are not the sole culprits here. The Department's management is largely to blame for this state of supervision. Indeed, it is the Department's past Police Commissioners and top managers who, through their inaction and silence, permitted this situation to exist. It is the Department's top commanders who let supervisors off the hook and let command accountability wither. It is true that past Police Commissioners had other important priorities and concerns and they carried these out with skill and efficiency. But that does not excuse their failure to maintain strong supervision and command accountability.

The Commission found that supervisory conditions and resources were often so poor that even supervisors committed to fighting corruption could not do so successfully. For example, although sergeants are often in the best position to know about, confront, and deter corruption, conditions often prevented them from doing so.

We observed a critical shortage, and misallocation, of sergeants within the Department. This caused unmanageable ratios of supervisors to subordinate officers ("spans of control") in many precincts. Virtually all of the sergeants we interviewed testified that their spans of control were too large to effectively supervise their subordinates. Despite the fact that experts informed us that the proper ratio of sergeants to officers should be one sergeant for every ten officers, we found that in some precincts, sergeants were routinely responsible for supervising over thirty patrol officers spread throughout the precinct.

It was also not uncommon for supervisors to be responsible for simultaneous supervision of officers assigned to two separate precincts. Indeed, one former sergeant in the 75th Precinct testified that during her probationary period as a new sergeant, she was routinely the only sergeant on duty responsible for supervising the crime-ridden and corruption-prone 75th and 73rd Precincts where Dowd, Hembury and their corrupt colleagues were assigned. One lieutenant assigned to a busy precinct had recently been given the impossible task of being the sole supervisor for three precincts on a Saturday night. The only support the lieutenant was provided: two walkie-talkie radios. What this means is that in reality a vast number of officers, often in the most corruption-prone precincts, carry out their jobs without any supervision at all -- as these officers know all too well.

To make matters worse, we also found that sergeants typically perform a host of administrative duties that require them to devote more time to paperwork than to the field. In many high-crime precincts, sergeants do no supervising at all. Besides their long list of administrative duties, many sergeants were routinely responsible for handling calls for service ("radio runs"), not in a supervisory capacity, but merely to fill in for busy patrol officers who are supposed to handle these calls. One sergeant from a Queens precinct testified in a private hearing that it was not unusual for her to respond to a number of runs in a single tour: "The only difference between me and one of my people in that situation was that as a sergeant I got driven to the job by a driver." A patrol sergeant in a busy Bronx precinct indicated that it was not unusual for him to handle ten radio runs himself while simultaneously attempting to carry out his long list of supervisory duties. Even worse, the evidence indicates that this problem is often most severe on weekends and on late tours of duty -- when corruption opportunities are more frequent -- because fewer officers are available to handle the volume of radio calls. Under such conditions, it is practically impossible for sergeants to know what their subordinates are doing at any given time.

Moreover, sergeants have suffered a considerable dilution of authority over recent years. When forced to perform the duties of their subordinates, it is difficult for sergeants to establish the authority they need to be effective supervisors. As one patrol sergeant testified: "The result is that cops look at the sergeant running around handling the same jobs they are. He's not supervising; he's just another pawn and his authority suffers."

The Commission found additional reasons for this dilution of authority among supervisors, particularly sergeants. In today's Department, sergeants are younger and less experienced, and often have strong allegiances to the officers under their command rather than to the Department's management. Currently, an officer may take the sergeant's examination after only eighteen months of experience -- i.e., immediately after his term as a probationary officer expires. As a result, many sergeants have great difficulty establishing credibility and command authority. They find it difficult to effectively control and discipline officers with whom they are friendly, or seasoned veterans by whom they are intimidated. In short, in many commands throughout the Department today, sergeants are no longer perceived by officers -- or themselves -- as "bosses."

What is particularly troubling about these supervisory failures is that they are often most acute in those crime-ridden precincts where corruption opportunities most abound, and where effective, experienced supervisors are most needed. Many officers reported that Department commanders often assigned sergeants and other supervisors to high-crime precincts without regard to prior experience, training or the needs of the particular command. Too often, inexperienced, probationary sergeants were assigned to busy, corruption-prone precincts where experienced and proven supervisors were most needed. This practice is even more alarming because the Department also often sent those officers with disciplinary problems, those most susceptible to corruption and most in need of effective supervision, to these crime-ridden precincts -- which are widely perceived as the Department's "dumping grounds.

Integrity Control Officers

We also found that the Department failed to support the very supervisors responsible for helping to insure integrity in our City's precincts: the Integrity Control Officer ("ICO"). This is the one precinct supervisor responsible for assisting commanders with corruption detection and prevention. What began as a sensible program to minimize corruption has become an administrative failure. The ICO position is currently regarded as one of the least desirable and rewarding positions in a precinct. Most lieutenant ICOs we interviewed candidly told us that they spent little time controlling corruption and most of their time tending to paperwork and administrative matters. They typically described their job as a secretary to the precinct commander rather than as corruption fighters. Most ICOs had few resources, and received little training in what their duties are, much less in how to conduct corruption investigations. In fact, ICOs are rarely, if ever, consulted about internal investigations in their commands -- even though many have valuable information that could assist Internal Affairs investigators.

Some claim that ICOs have been kept ignorant of corruption investigations to prevent leaks of information. Furthermore, IAD never perceived the ICOs as part of the anticorruption apparatus. This practice should change. ICOs must be selected on their ability to be trusted with confidential information, and they must be given the resources, training and authority to carry out their important jobs throughout the Department.


The Commission recognizes that policing is an activity that inevitably makes "close supervision" more of a myth than a reality. We also recognize that even close supervision will not be a panacea to end corruption: determined corrupt officers will succeed even under the best supervisors. But effective supervision is a vital element of corruption control. That element has been sorely lacking in the past.

In recent months, the Department has moved to correct many of the supervision problems identified by the Commission in its Interim Report and public hearings. An important function of the independent outside monitor we recommend will be to insure that this important component of the anti-corruption apparatus does not again collapse -- particularly in those precincts where corruption opportunities most abound and effective supervision is most needed.


The Internal Affairs Division

We found that IAD had virtually abandoned its primary functions over the past years: to investigate serious, complex and sensitive corruption cases; to oversee, assist and insure the quality of the FIAUs; and to conduct analysis on corruption trends to assist the FIAUs and itself in investigating corruption. And most alarming, no one in the Department seemed to care.

From the beginning of our inquires, IAD investigators cooperating with the Commission told us that the work ethic in IAD was to close cases with as little effort as possible. Most IAD investigators, we were told, did nothing all day. One officer told us they sit around and "eat donuts and do crossword puzzles" -- and the supervisors and commanders did little more. Indeed, the Commission conducted an anonymous survey of the work conditions and attitudes of IAD investigators which revealed that almost half of IAD investigators' time was spent on non-investigatory matters -- and most of their "investigative" work was done without ever leaving their office. The perception that most officers outside of IAD had of it was similar. IAD suffered a deserved reputation for attracting poor investigators, of focusing on petty misconduct rather than serious corruption, and on conducting "armchair investigations" -- in the comfort of their offices rather than in the field.

The facts confirmed IAD's do-nothing reputation. To begin with, it handled a negligible number -- 5 percent -- of corruption cases each year. Although IAD had approximately one hundred and fifty officers, ninety of whom handled cases, it kept a mere one hundred thirty-three corruption cases a year for itself -- and assigned all the rest to the over-burdened FIAUs. Thus, IAD investigators handled an average of two new cases a year. It is important to note that IAD's top commanders from 1986 through 1992 -- Chief Daniel Sullivan, Assistant Chiefs John Moran and Robert Beatty, Deputy Chief William Carney and Inspector Michael Pietrunti and Deputy Inspector Thomas Callahan -- were responsible for selecting or approving the quantity and quality of cases IAD and the FIAUs would handle each year.

In contrast, IAD assigned the FIAUs -- which had woefully insufficient resources and personnel -- 95 percent of all the Department's corruption cases: over twenty-five hundred a year. FIAU investigators consequently handled what even their commanders conceded was an impossible caseload: an average of 18 cases per investigator, with investigators in high-crime precincts where corruption is most frequent handling up to thirty to forty cases at any given time. The following exhibit makes this clear:



This massive discrepancy in caseloads could possibly be justified if IAD bad been fulfilling its mandate to retain and investigate only the most serious and complex corruption cases. The facts showed the opposite was true.

Many of the cases that IAD's top commanders decided to retain for IAD were the simple, easy-to-solve "ground ball" cases that did not require much investigative effort. In fact, we found that approximately one-third of all cases that IAD's commanders retained were allegations of petty misconduct including: officers being off-post, sleeping on duty, or misusing police parking permits. The following exhibit makes this clear:


Of approximately 2,700 police corruption allegations filed with the N.Y.P.D. on average each year:
Of the 5% retained by IAD from 1988-1991 approximately 30% are minor misconduct/abuse of department regulations including:
• Free pizza
• Off-post
• Personal use of department vehicle
• Misusing police parking permit to avoid paying tolls
• Off-duty employment as security guard
• Working out while on duty
• Drinking on duty
• Sleeping on duty
• Spends time in restaurant on duty

When questioned on this matter, however, Chief Sullivan testified that not only would IAD not keep such minor cases, but many of them should never even have been classified as corruption cases. Moreover, although IAD's chiefs received daily summaries of all IAD cases, many indicated they were unaware that IAD had so obviously abandoned its mission to investigate serious corruption.

After the creation of this Commission, IAD swiftly began to remember its mission. It began to investigate more serious cases, and retained 40 percent fewer petty misconduct cases in the year following the Commission's establishment than in the previous four years. The former Commanding Officer of IAD's Records Section, Sergeant Steven Webber, testified that he attributed this decline to the existence of scrutiny independent of the Department's chain of command.

Despite the petty nature and small quantity of IAD's cases, it nevertheless closed as unsubstantiated more than 60 percent of its cases, indicating its investigators found insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. Most alarmingly, our investigation revealed that many of these cases were closed as unsubstantiated before all basic investigatory steps were taken.

We also found that the number of cases IAD claimed in Department records to have substantiated every year was inflated and inaccurate. To investigate this issue, a team of Commission investigators reviewed every case IAD closed as "substantiated" over the past five years. We found that in many of these cases IAD had closed the main corruption allegation as unsubstantiated, or recorded as its own an allegation substantiated by another law enforcement agency. In other words, IAD bolstered its statistics by including successful corruption investigations undertaken outside IAD.

Equally disturbing, we found that IAD's claimed substantiation rates were inconsistent, and were calculated in a manner that Lieutenant Donald Poliseno, the Commanding Officer of the IAD Analysis Unit, testified "doesn't make any common sense." In sum, although IAD's reporting lines and practices looked good on paper, in practice, they were largely a sham.

IAD's top commanders had unbridled control over the Department's investigations with no accountability. No other Division in the Department had such unreviewed discretion. Obviously when no one reviews performance or demands results, performance wanes -- as the Department's top commanders no doubt knew, or should have known.

The Field Internal Affairs Units

The Department also allowed IAD's oversight of the FIAUs to erode -- and the entire FIAU structure virtually to collapse. Although an entire IAD unit (the Staff Supervisory Unit) was, in theory, charged with overseeing and assisting the FIAUs, our inquiries revealed that IAD hardly attempted to carry out this critical task. To the contrary, the evidence shows that IAD withheld vital assistance, information and resources from the FIAUs. Numerous IAD and FIAU officers reported that IAD would not even share essential information or witnesses with the FIAUs; and that the "unwritten policy" was to deny the FIAUs access to IAD investigative files -- even those with information on officers that the FIAUs were investigating.

For example, when investigators from Manhattan South's FIAU were questioned in private interviews about a large corruption investigation they had conducted in the 9th Precinct, they learned for the first time, through the Commission's inquiries, about an IAD investigation into the very same precinct at around the same time as their investigation. In the Michael Dowd investigation, Sergeant Joseph Trimboli, the FIAU investigator who pursued Dowd for five years, testified that he first became aware of vital information that IAD had about Dowd in the course of the Commission's questioning at a private hearing.

When interrogated about this senseless practice, IAD commanders denied knowledge of this "no access" policy -- which was widely known and acknowledged by lower-ranking IAD officers and by FIAU officers of all ranks. One IAD detective, to whom we promised confidentiality, who had served in the IAD unit that purportedly oversaw and assisted the FIAUs, testified in a private hearing: "There was no sharing of information between [IAD] and the FIAUs. IAD did not trust the FIAUs at all ... [there was] fear of disclosure of confidential information that could be an embarrassment to the Department ... The evidence suggests that the secrecy IAD built around its cases was designed not to protect confidentiality, but to limit the scope and the success of the FIAUs' investigations. It also created a deep hostility and distrust that divided the Department's entire investigative apparatus.

Department commanders also crippled the FIAUs by denying them adequate resources and personnel. FIAU officers of all ranks -- from the former Commanding Officer of Brooklyn North's PIAU to officers in Manhattan South's FIAU -- testified that they simply did not have the basic equipment needed to investigate police corruption in their boroughs. One PIAU investigator told the Commission that the lack of available resources got so unbearable that she went to a local magic shop to purchase a disguise so she could conduct surveillances on foot because the FIAU cars and investigators were so well known among cops in the high-crime precincts she was investigating.

Insufficient resources, however, was only part of the problem. The volume of serious cases that IAD's top commanders -- including Callahan, Carney, Moran, and Beatty -- routinely assigned or approved for the FIAUs, coupled with the FIAUs' understandably dismal performance in investigating so many cases, further suggests that the Department knowingly sent many police corruption cases to the FIAUs to die.

For the top commanders in IAD and the Department to knowingly allow the FIAUs to become the graveyard for the overwhelming majority of police corruption cases again reflects the Department's preference to bury rather than confront the problem of police corruption.


The New York City Police Department is nationally renown for its skill and accomplishments in criminal investigations. It aggressively pursues complex criminal investigations, employs creative and advanced investigation methods, and gathers information from every available source. This is true, we found, in all areas of investigation other than police corruption.

Minimizing Corruption Through Investigations

IAD officers and others who assisted the Commission told us early in our tenure that the Department's approach to investigating police corruption was to minimize potentially embarrassing cases by closing them before all basic investigatory steps had been taken, by fragmenting broad patterns of corruption information into isolated allegations, and by minimizing the scope of corruption they would pursue.

The evidence bore this out. We found that police corruption cases were often closed prematurely, minimized, and fragmented into separate parts, which insured that the nature and extent of corruption uncovered would be minimal. The difficult issue was to determine whether this reflected a knowing cover up, simple incompetence, or both. The Department maintained -- until our public hearings -- that the failures of the system reflected a mere lack of coordination and resources rather than willful neglect or a reluctance to uncover serious corruption. Our findings suggest that was not always the case.

Two matters presented at the Commission's public hearings illustrate how investigations intentionally were prematurely closed or fragmented to avoid a large corruption scandal.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

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The Michael Dowd/75th Precinct Investigation

The first is the case of former police officer Michael Dowd. The FIAU sergeant who handled this investigation for approximately five years, Sergeant Joseph Trimboli, testified both privately and publicly that commanding officers of IAD had intentionally thwarted his efforts to uncover widespread, serious corruption by Dowd and other corrupt officers in the 75th Precinct. Trimboli testified publicly that he believed that high-ranking members of the Department "did not want this investigation to exist. They wanted it to go away" because they feared another embarrassing scandal "like what had occurred in the 77th Precinct.... " (Tr. 124-25)

The Commission's investigation of the Dowd case -- which included studying thousands of Department documents and files and interviewing dozens of IAD and FIAU officers, Dowd's supervisors and precinct commanders, prosecutors, and Dowd himself -- confirmed this conclusion. It revealed that IAD knowingly withheld from Trimboli vital information and witnesses, denied him essential resources, and refused him the assistance they knew he needed to successfully investigate the Dowd case. As a result, neither Trimboli nor anyone in the Department ever substantiated a single one of the thirteen complaints filed against Michael Dowd during his ten years as a police officer. After a long career of corruption in the Department, Dowd was finally arrested in May 1992 by the Suffolk County Police Department -- not the New York City Police Department.

Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly conducted an inquiry into the Department's failed investigation of Dowd following his arrest, at the direction of then Commissioner Lee Brown. He concluded that the failures he found were evidence of a failed investigative structure.

Our investigation revealed that the Dowd case exemplified far more than Commissioner Kelly's report acknowledged. We found that it revealed a concerted effort on behalf of the top commanders in IAD to minimize disclosure of serious, and possibly widespread, corruption in the 75th Precinct in the years immediately following a notorious police corruption scandal in the neighboring 77th Precinct. We found that the Dowd case presents a glaring example of the Department's institutional reluctance to detect and aggressively investigate corruption among its own.

Because of the historical importance of the Dowd case, and because the Commission's conclusions differ significantly from the Department's, a detailed report of the Commission's findings about that investigation is set forth in the Appendix to this Report.

The Ninth Precinct Case

The failed Dowd investigation, unfortunately, was not an isolated event. Another case presented at the Commission's public hearings shows how the top brass in the Department ordered a case prematurely closed to avoid uncovering widespread corruption in the 9th Precinct -- like the 75th, a high-crime precinct, with an active drug trade. In the Allan Brown/9th Precinct case, FIAU investigators of the Manhattan South FIAU and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office had developed a case of possible widespread narcotics-related police corruption, which was likely to uncover corruption among a closely tied network of approximately fifteen police officers, including Allan Brown.

The 9th Precinct investigation began in March 1991 when a reliable informant reported widespread narcotics-related corruption among a group of officers to FIAU investigators. The informant testified about the development of this case at our public hearings under the pseudonym, "Mr. X" Mr. X, who ran a shop in the precinct and was friendly with several of these officers, told investigators that a group of them regularly used drugs and alcohol on duty, and stole cash and drugs from local street dealers, often selling the drugs back to local dealers.

As the case developed, the objective was to infiltrate an upcoming party at Brown's home, where at least a dozen police officers with prior allegations of drug use were expected to use cocaine and engage in incriminating conversations. Mr. X had been invited to attend that party. Twenty-two days before the event, plans to infiltrate the party were complete: Mr. X and another undercover officer had been invited to the party and agreed to wear body recorders to capture conversations; the District's Attorney's Office was preparing search warrants; investigators had conducted surveillances of the location; photographs of the area had been taken; and plans for a female police undercover to attend the party were being finalized. In preparation for the arrests, under the direction of the FIAU and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Mr. X had on three occasions successfully purchased drugs from Allan Brown.

The FIAU sergeant and detective running the investigation, Sergeant Kenneth Ferguson and Detective Alex Ferrugia, testified that they expected the case to be a huge success and possibly one of the largest police corruption cases ever made by the Department.

But the investigation was prematurely closed. Twenty-two days before the party, the Commander of the Manhattan South Patrol Borough, Assistant Chief Thomas P. Walsh, ordered the prompt arrest of Officer Brown. His order, made at the request or with the approval of IAD's commanders, gave the other 9th Precinct officers notice of the investigation, and eliminated the opportunity to make a potentially large-scale corruption case in his borough.

The FIAU investigators running the case testified that the order to arrest Brown and prematurely end the investigation was made despite the strong opposition of the FIAU investigators and the prosecutor handling the case. Ferrugia, for example, testified that his colleagues and the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case were "dismayed" over the decision because it "eliminated the opportunity to make a precinct-wide corruption case." (Tr. 188) Moreover, none of the investigators or IAD commanding officers we interviewed could describe a single legitimate investigative reason for the order. More significant, when asked in private hearings and interviews about who directed the order, the top commanding officers in IAD and the borough, including, Chief Daniel Sullivan, Deputy Inspector Thomas Callahan, and Chief Thomas Walsh, all suffered from memory lapses.

What is clear, however, is the Department policy that governed. An order to arrest a police officer would have required the approval of the Chief of Internal Affairs, Robert Beatty, or the Chief of Inspectional Services, Daniel Sullivan. Yet both contended in private hearings and interviews that they had no recollection of who approved the decision to arrest Officer Brown. [13]

Several investigators and supervisors told the Commission that they concluded the investigation was put to a premature end to avoid a precinct-wide corruption scandal and its consequences to the Department. The evidence supports this conclusion. From the beginning of the investigation, IAD showed a special interest in this particular case. In fact, as the investigation progressed, IAD called an unusual high-level meeting with various officers, including Detective Ferrugia, Captain Charles Luckner, his commanding officer, and high-ranking IAD officers, including Deputy Inspector Callahan, and IAD's Executive Officer, Deputy Inspector Daniel Byrne. In Ferrugia's ten year career in the Manhattan South FIAU, he had only been called to IAD for such a meeting once before. That too was in the course of another potentially large corruption case.

IAD's top commanders also were well aware of the potential scope of the 9th Precinct case. At that meeting, the FIAU officers briefed IAD about the potential scope of its investigation. FIAU investigators made clear that it had the potential to be another 77th Precinct case. The IAD commanders asked to be briefed regularly on the details and progress of the case -- which they were. The evidence indicates that IAD's top commanders knew about the target party and that the success of this investigation hinged on it taking place.

Captain Luckner told the Commission in a private interview that, although he personally was not influenced by this attitude (as his subordinates confirmed), the top commanders in IAD and the Department did not want large scale cases -- like the 9th Precinct -- to succeed. The message from the top was to "fragment" cases: "instead of making a wholesale arrest of four, five, or six officers you ... take one here, one there .... It don't make headlines," he said.

IAD's Deputy Inspector Thomas Callahan confirmed Luckner's perception. He testified that when he heard about the case and the planned infiltration of the barbecue, he thought about the embarrassment and "sensational" headlines it would cause. He testified that the publicity would have been "outrageous," especially because the event was to take place in Staten Island:

Question: When you said before it would get into some headlines when they got to the party, what did you mean?

Callahan: Well it would be outrageous that so many, if there were what was alleged, that there was going to be a group of officers, was it cocaine or marijuana?

Question: Yes.

Callahan: It was cocaine. It would be just, unbelievable, basically. I mean sensational, especially in Staten Island where it's, you know, stories -- if a police officer sneezes over there, they put that on the front page. This would be outrageous to have something like this occur. Because, you know, to think that officers would be engaged in this kind of activity and so many at an open event in the backyard. Interesting in that way. I live there. I'd have to walk around probably explaining. I mean that goes on now. The conduct of officers in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn and so forth, with people that I know, because when the story hits the paper, sensational cases, everybody looks to you, the police department, as something's wrong. You're part of this kind of thing.

Finally, when asked why the case was shut down twenty-two days before the target date, not a single IAD commanding officer could provide a legitimate investigative reason. Some commanders, including Chief Walsh, said the order might have been issued because once they had evidence of an officer using drugs, the Department usually arrested the officer immediately. The evidence, however, suggests that this was a mere pretext for stopping a potentially scandalous case.

The Department had hard evidence of Brown's drug use thirty-two days before the order was issued, when Mr. X first bought drugs from Brown and captured incriminating conversations on tape. Department records also indicate that there were numerous allegations of drug use against former officer Brown spanning more than ten years. Moreover, three years earlier, it was recommended that Brown be terminated from the Department. Instead, he was placed on disciplinary probation for one year. During his probation, he was found to be in possession of false documents, was given a "below standards" evaluation, and there were allegations that he was regularly intoxicated while on duty and associated with known felons. Nonetheless, he remained on the job.

To argue that the Department suddenly decided that they had to dismiss him immediately -- twenty-two days before he could lead the Department to a large group of other allegedly corrupt officers -- is hardly convincing. If removing one drug-abusing corrupt officer from the job was so important, eliminating over a dozen drug-abusing officers should have been a dozen times more important.

Concealing Corruption Through Filing and Classification Systems

The Department gave IAD complete, unreviewed power to control police corruption investigations by allowing it total discretion to decide what corruption allegations should be officially recorded and sent to prosecutors. The Commission found evidence of abuse of that power.

The Tickler File

Early in our investigation, the Commission made a request to the Department for all IAD files. In response to that request, the Department failed to produce the "Tickler File." Subsequently, the Commission received a telephone call from an anonymous IAD investigator who urged us to investigate the Tickler File. He told us this file was used to conceal corruption allegations from the other divisions of the Department, and sometimes from prosecutors. He also said that concealing corruption cases in the Tickler File, and by other means, was not uncommon in IAD.

The evidence largely bore this out. Although IAD top commanders -- including Chief Sullivan -- testified in private hearings that the Tickler File contained no unrecorded corruption cases because such a practice would be "tantamount to killing" a case and concealing it from prosecutors, our investigation showed that this statement was untrue.

The Commission found in the Tickler File approximately forty corruption cases over the past five years that had never been recorded in IAD's official records, or sent to prosecutors. Approximately half of these corruption cases involved allegations against IAD or high-ranking officers, or their families; in the remaining cases we could detect no pattern to explain their inclusion in the Tickler File. Many of the Tickler File corruption cases were quite serious in nature, ranging from sale and use of narcotics, protecting drug dealers, accepting payoffs from organized crime figures, to perjury and leaking confidential information.

For example, one Tickler File case presented at the public hearings -- noted as the "Biker Babe Case" in IAD files -- contained allegations that a police officer, who was the daughter of a ranking IAD officer, used drugs, and associated with and leaked confidential police information to drug dealers. The case was never entered into official Department records, never received the "mandatory" log number that all corruption allegations purportedly receive, never appeared in the officers' personnel file, and was never referred to the Special Prosecutor's Office. Eventually, the case was closed as "unsubstantiated" without any productive investigatory steps ever having been taken. As a result, the officer is still on the job today -- with an integrity record that, until our public hearings, appeared virtually spotless. In fact, because of the concealment of these narcotics corruption allegations, this officer was assigned to a Narcotics Unit -- where she lasted about a month before being transferred for making false statements in connection with a narcotics case.

That this concealment was intentional is not in dispute. At the public hearings, former Chief Beatty conceded that the case was handled improperly and could offer no justification for its place in the Tickler File. Not a single IAD officer denied that this concealment was intentional. For good reason: the files contained a note from Chief Sullivan to Chief Beatty directing, "Don't enter this one in any records until later. Assign to whoever you think is best."

That note reads as follows:


DANIEL F. SULLIVAN, Chief of Inspectional Services

Chief Beatty: Bob -- Don't enter this one in any records until later. Assign to whoever you think is best fit to handle it.

Interestingly, shortly after this Commission began its inquiries into the Tickler File, the Department notified us that it had been abolished.

Other Cases Not Sent to Prosecutors or Not Officially Recorded

The Commission found evidence of other police corruption cases not being recorded in official IAD files or sent to prosecutors.

First, as evidence presented at the public hearings demonstrated, although the Department is supposed to notify each District Attorney about all serious police corruption cases within his jurisdiction and provide daily "logs" of all allegations of serious corruption, we found this was not always done. Our investigation revealed that during 1991 and 1992, IAD failed to provide approximately 230 cases of serious corruption to prosecutors. These cases ranged from officers associating with and protecting drug dealers, to running license plate checks for organized crime figures and conducting unlawful raids.

Second, although all corruption allegations are supposed to receive "C" numbers [14] and an official entry into Department records we found some serious corruption cases that were given "No C" designations by IAD's commanding officers, including allegations of officers dealing drugs, protecting drug dealers, committing thefts. One "No C" case included an allegation of theft against Alfonso Compres, an officer recently arrested in the 30th Precinct. A "No C" designation means the case does not contain a specific corruption allegation, is for information only, and is not to be sent to prosecutors. Thus, IAD did not forward these cases to prosecutors or enter them in official IAD records. When questioned in a private hearing, an IAD officer who supervised the unit that handled some of these cases, lieutenant John O'Brien, testified that he did not know why some of them were given "No C" designations, which were approved by IAD commanders.

Third, we also found that IAD all too readily classified police corruption allegations as "police impersonation" cases, and sent them to investigative commands outside Internal Affairs where they typically "died on the vine," as Sergeant Webber told us. In past years, approximately 10 percent of all allegations that came through the Action Desk were classified "police impersonations," often on no other basis than the Action Desk officer's uninformed judgment. IAD classified approximately 1,500 police corruption allegations each year as police impersonation cases.

The Commission's review of 4500 police impersonation cases for one year revealed many serious corruption allegations that IAD should not have categorized at the outset as police impersonation cases. Indeed, an early case against a former police officer and convicted murderer, Robert Cabeza, was incorrectly labeled as a police impersonation case. Other allegations classified as police impersonation cases included officers protecting drug dealers, unlawfully raiding apartments, and using drugs -- the identical type of wrongdoing the Commission uncovered through its field investigations. The result of these misclassifications: the total "official" number of annual police corruption allegations is minimized, and many police corruption cases are never investigated as such.

On the morning of Sunday, November 27, 1989, just after first light, the call came over Detective William Oldham's radio. "Ten-thirty," the dispatcher said. "Robbery in progress, 560 Wadsworth Avenue, cross streets 183 to 184, apartment 5G." Oldham was pulling out of the precinct parking lot on Broadway and 182nd Street in the Washington Heights section of upper Manhattan on his way to breakfast at his favorite diner. A Sunday-morning robbery was unusual, Oldham knew, and 7 a.m. was far too early for most criminals to be out and about. The call sounded like it matched a pattern of impersonator robberies he had been working for months. Two male Dominicans, mid-thirties, one short and muscular and carrying a large black automatic, the other tall and skinny and armed with a silver revolver, were robbing drug dealers by impersonating NYPD narcotics detectives. They operated first thing in the morning, like real cops out to hit a stash house, giving themselves the element of surprise and the appearance of authenticity. The performance of the impersonators was so convincing that the victims sometimes couldn't tell if they were being stuck up by cops or robbers.

Oldham turned uptown and picked up his radio. "Three-Four RIP responding," he said. The 34th Precinct, or Three-Four, covered the west side of upper Manhattan in a stretch from 155th Street to 225th Street, making it one of the largest precincts in the city. Oldham was assigned to Three-Four RIP, the Robbery Identification Program. In the late eighties, the area known as Washington Heights was the cocaine capital of the United States, making it one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden places anywhere. Crack, the admixture of baking soda and coke that makes a crackling sound when cooked (thus the name "crack"), was invented on the streets of Washington Heights. A predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, the avenues were lined with grand old nineteenth-century apartment buildings fallen on hard times. Known as Little Dominica, the area was densely populated, saturated with restaurants, money remittance shops, and bodegas, many of them fronts for laundering illegal money made by peddling cocaine. Dealers were everywhere, operating openly on stoops and in lobbies and on street corners. The police in the Three-Four were overwhelmed, so there was no shortage of action for an ambitious young detective like Oldham.

A "pattern" amounted to two, three, or more robberies with the same modus operandi and physical descriptions of the suspects. Oldham had been investigating these particular impersonators for months. The last robbery in the pattern had occurred a week earlier, another dawn raid of a drug dealer's residence. Oldham had arrived at the scene of that crime as the ambulance pulled up. The dealer was discovered dead, his back welted with burn marks. His daughter, a five-year-old, had her mouth and eyes duct-taped, and had been hog-tied by her ankles and wrists. Oldham had tests run on the hair and fibers on the duct tape. He had canvassed the streets for witnesses. He had talked to his CIs -- confidential informants. He had used the descriptions of the perps to eliminate other robberies he thought were unrelated -- some of them possibly the work of real cops, in particular a police unit nicknamed "local motion."

The investigation revealed that the pattern crew operated like narcotics detectives. They talked to their snitches in the neighborhood, gathered intelligence on dealers, sat in cars on upper Broadway running surveillance. They went after crack dealers, money launderers, people who ran the local su-sus -- the informal banks where the poor people of Little Dominica borrowed small sums of money. The impersonators were often mistaken around the neighborhood for real plainclothes cops. They had detective shields, scanners, NYPD raid jackets, bulletproof vests in case they got in a shootout with the drug dealers -- or the cops who came to arrest them. They often forced the doors of apartments, weapons drawn, and entered with the speed and precision of experienced detectives. Once inside, they rousted the bleary-eyed dealers and worked methodically. First they cuffed their victims with the cheap toy metal cuffs for sale in local bodegas -- the cops called them Mickey Mouse cuffs. They duct-taped the dealers' mouths. They gathered the occupants into one room, leaving a member of the crew to guard the prisoners while the others conducted the search for a "trap" -- the compartment built under the floorboards or into a closet or wall where cash and cocaine were stored. Dondi estan Lasdrogas? they yelled. Where are the drugs? Dondi esta la caja? Where is the money box?

Impersonator robberies had become a plague in Washington Heights in the late eighties, going down once or twice a day. It was impossible to know the true numbers because the victims were often drug dealers and they would rarely report a robbery, unless a neighbor called 911 or they were shot or stabbed or a large amount of money or drugs was taken -- and the sums involved were frequently huge, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and kilograms of cocaine. For the most part, the so-called victims would take care of the problem themselves by trying to find out who had ripped them off and going after them themselves. The main reason the robberies came to the attention of the police at all was that midlevel dealers needed to get a complaint report number from the police so they could prove to their suppliers they had truly been stuck-up. Having been fronted drugs with little or no money down, as was a common practice in the cocaine business, the dealers were terrified that their wholesalers would think they had staged the robbery themselves to avoid payment.

Oldham's crew of impersonators were particularly vicious. If the dealers resisted, or refused to give up their trap, the crew tortured them. The Dominicans -- "Domos," cops in the Three-Four called them -- used hot irons and knives heated on stoves to burn the backs of the dealers. Once, they drilled a three-inch drill bit into the back of a man's head and left it there after they fled with his stash. In the end, if the dealers still wouldn't give away their trap, the perps might shoot everyone in the apartment, murdering three and four people at a time.

By mid-November, the impersonator pattern had gone fallow. It was one of three patterns Oldham was working, along with a dozen single robberies of liquor stores and bodegas in the neighborhood. Cases came and went in the normal rhythm of the robbery squad in the Three-Four. Waiting for a break was a big part of police work. There was pressure from superior officers to close cases quickly -- to say a complainant was uncooperative, or all leads had been exhausted, or to reclassify the pattern as larceny or burglary so it was no longer on the books of the Robbery Squad. But Oldham dragged cases out. It was his nature. He didn't see the point of getting rid of cases. The aim was to solve the problem, not accumulate good stats or impress the bosses. The longer he had to look at a case the more he would understand the pattern and its elements. Playing for time gave him greater odds of getting lucky. Not an early riser, Oldham had come to work early that Sunday morning by chance but he was still thinking about the pattern and he was ready to take advantage of a break. Luck was like that: you make your own.

The call to Wadsworth and 183rd Street was only three blocks north of the precinct house. Oldham sped through the deserted Sunday-morning streets, making it to the job in under sixty seconds. The building was an eight-story tenement, with a dingy, cavernous yellowed marble lobby covered with graffiti. There was an elevator but Oldham didn't take it; he didn't want the elevator to open and find himself face-to-face with the bad guys. Oldham drew his gun, a five-shot Smith & Wesson, and took the stairs up five flights. He stood outside the door of apartment 5G listening. Inside, a man was screaming in Spanish. He was being beaten and pleading for his life.

Waiting for backup, Oldham had no way of knowing exactly what was going on inside the apartment. Two uniformed officers responding to the call emerged from the stairway and joined Oldham in the hallway. Oldham banged on the door loudly and identified himself: Police! Polida! The screaming stopped. A few seconds passed and then the door opened. Oldham and the two other cops backed away, guns aimed at the door. A heavyset Dominican man, bleeding profusely from the head, his hands cuffed behind him, was shoved out and fell to the floor. The door shut again. One of the uniformed cops started kicking and beating the victim for no apparent reason other than the fact that he was probably a drug dealer and, therefore, no victim at all. Oldham turned for a moment and watched the random, brutal violence -- the kind of thing that happened in the Three-Four all the time -- and returned to the door and the job. Usually, when the police arrived at an apartment, the perps knew there was no way to escape and would give up. This time, it was going to take force to get whoever was in there out.

Oldham signaled and stepped aside and let one of the uniformed cops kick the door open with one sharp blow near the lock. A dimly lit twenty-foot hallway lay ahead, bathroom to the left, living room at the end. Oldham and the other cop entered the hallway. Police working Washington Heights made forced entries often. The frequency and routine led to a dangerous nonchalance. Oldham had not waited for more backup. He did not gain cover by taking the bathroom first. The truth was that he was half expecting to find real narcotics detectives in the apartment. Making his way along the hall, the last thing Oldham wanted was to get in a shootout with fellow officers.

-- The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered For the Mafia, by Guy Lawson & William Oldham

Regardless of the motive, quantity or nature of these concealed cases, the critical point is that such systems, practices, and policies were permitted to exist at all -- and for so many years. Numerous witnesses from within IAD as well as a variety of law enforcement agencies testified that had an independent oversight entity regularly audited IAD, this abuse of authority would not have persisted.

Favoritism Toward High-Ranking Officers

The Commission also found that IAD applied a double standard when it came to investigating corruption allegations against high-ranking officers. This is no secret in the Department. Throughout our investigation, officers told us that the regular practices and procedures do not apply in investigating ranking officers. We found that this is often true. For example, as Chief Beatty testified in a private hearing, when a high-ranking officer who is the subject of a corruption investigation is questioned as part of the investigation, the normal rules do not apply. Although Department guidelines mandate that the questioning of all subjects be recorded, this is not always adhered to for high-ranking officers. Moreover, such questioning is typically conducted not by the Internal Affairs investigator handling the case, but by an officer of at least equal rank -- who might have no other involvement with the case. The potential for abuse is clear.

Two cases in particular illustrate the problems of favoritism and special treatment.

Scalabrino Case

The first is the case of Inspector Peter Scalabrino, the former Commanding Officer of the Staten Island Detective Bureau. In that case, Scalabrino was accused of improperly interfering with a homicide investigation involving the son of a long-time friend. who was reputedly a member of organized crime. Allegedly, after meeting the suspect's father in his office, Scalabrino called in the two detectives assigned to the investigation. He told the detectives that his friend had accused them of harassing his son. At around the time of this meeting, the homicide investigation ground to a halt. IAD initiated an investigation of Scalabrino's actions and closed it as "unsubstantiated."

A team of Commission investigators examined this case. They received all of the investigative files and worksheets, and conducted a series of private hearings with the IAD officers who investigated and supervised the case. The Commission concluded that IAD superficially investigated the Scalabrino case. One important basis for closing the case as unsubstantiated was an interview of the subject by Inspector William Carney. Although documents indicated that the interview had been recorded, no records of that interview were in the case files. When the Commission subpoenaed the actual audio tapes of the interview -- which are a crucial part of the investigatory file and case record -- we were told the tapes had disappeared. Nor purportedly did any transcript exist.

Our investigators further concluded that IAD never fully investigated Scalabrino's actions, and, in fact focused more on the actions of the homicide detectives -- although they were not even part of the complaint. Indeed, the IAD closing report, signed by Chief Beatty, stated that while Inspector Scalabrino might have exhibited poor judgement, he did not act improperly. The two homicide detectives, however, were far more harshly criticized for their performance in the case. The case illustrates what many have said was the attitude among IAD's top commanders: that Chiefs can do no wrong.

Simonetti Case

Another case that illustrates practices of favoritism is the case of Assistant Chief Tosano Simonetti. In December 1993, IAD received an anonymous allegation that Chief Simonetti, the Commanding Officer of the Staten Island Patrol Borough, had abused his authority by improperly voiding the arrest of a campaign worker who was arrested on Election Day for, among other things, unlawfully campaigning within one hundred feet of a polling place and harassing voters in violation of New York State Election Law. Shortly after the arrest, Chief Simonetti called the precinct house and directed that the arrest be voided. The allegation claimed that Simonetti voided the arrest in response to promises of political favors by the candidate on whose behalf the arrested individual had been campaigning. The allegation was closed by IAD as unsubstantiated.

What we found most significant about the case was how the investigation of a high-ranking officer was conducted. Although a case memorandum from the Captain supervising the case, George Templeton, indicated that the investigation had indicated violation of certain regulations in the voiding of the arrest, the case was still closed as unsubstantiated. [15] That final disposition was made only after Chief Beatty conducted a private, off-the-record interview with the subject. There were no witnesses to the interview, no recordings, and no notes summarizing it. After the interview, Chief Beatty drafted a one-page memorandum stating that no Department charges should be prepared -- without ever sufficiently providing the details for his conclusion, which differed from some of the evidence in the case file on the validity of the voiding of the arrest.

When Chief Beatty was questioned about these unusual practices in a private hearing, he confirmed that the normal practices and procedures do not necessarily apply to investigations of high-ranking officers. And, most troubling, that he knew before the interview that the case was meritless -- based on instinct, not facts. But instinct should, of course, never serve as a substitute for facts and investigations -- regardless of who the subject of an investigation might be.


The Commission's evidence indisputably establishes that an anti-corruption system that relies primarily on the receipt of corruption complaints -- i.e., a "reactive" system -- will grossly underestimate the extent and nature of police corruption today. The reason is simple: most victims of and witnesses to corruption and brutality do not report it to the Department.

Despite this, the Department's investigative and intelligence-gathering efforts were almost entirely reactive. The Department made little effort to gather information about corruption from sources other than complaints. It made no effort to solicit information from informants, the community, or even its own officers who know best about corruption in the Department. Indeed, the Department did virtually nothing to encourage officers or supervisors to come forward to report corruption or to break the code of silence.

The Failure to Employ Pro-Active Techniques

The Department's investigative approach to police corruption investigations minimized the likelihood of uncovering the full extent of corruption. In reviewing hundreds of police corruption investigations, the Commission found that internal investigators routinely failed to use basic pro-active investigative techniques that are routinely relied on in all other criminal investigations conducted by the Department. Internal Affairs failed to initiate its own investigations, as its mandate directed, even when faced with indications of serious corruption as in the 75th and 46th Precincts.

IAD had, in theory, a twelve-person "Self-Initiated Investigation Unit" whose function was to conduct self-generated investigations. Despite its mission, that unit conducted not a single self-initiated investigation for the five years prior to the Commission's creation. When one former commander of this unit was questioned about this blatant neglect, he indicated that no one in IAD ever expected or directed the unit to act otherwise.

Moreover, we found that IAD's investigative system reacted solely to isolated complaints. It did not pursue patterns of corruption and conspiratorial wrongdoingas was done in investigative commands other than IAD. Of course, such an approach guarantees that the full scope of corruption will never come to light.

Failed Undercover Programs: Field Associates and Undercover Operatives

The highly-touted "undercover" programs that the Department has claimed it had in place to solicit information looked far better in print than in practice. The well-known Field Associate Program -- which has the potential to be an invaluable source of intelligence and deterrence -- was poorly used and developed. This program purported to consist of hundreds of unidentified officers, who provided the Department with information about corruption in their commands. We found the Department dedicated few resources and little energy to cultivating Field Associates and developing their information to fight corruption.

Most important, we found that the Department often failed to even react to the information Field Associates provided at great personal risk. In the 30th Precinct case, for example, a field associate provided the Department with detailed information about extensive corruption in the precinct, and nothing was done about it. In fact, on one occasion he even gave IAD a sensible investigative plan to apprehend a group of cops who were raiding drug locations. He was told that IAD officers could not implement his plan because they did not have the resources and because they believed it was too dangerous.

IAD's Undercover Operative Program, which purported to place officers in corruption-prone precincts to gather and develop information on corruption and eventually testify against corrupt officers, was little more than a "paper program." Our investigation found that IAD inflated the "official" number of active undercovers, that many were never placed in corruption-prone precincts, that the program was more interested in petty misconduct than serious corruption, and that over the program's ten-year existence, it provided information which led to the substantiation of four cases -- two of which were for charges of minor misconduct.

But most troubling, we found that the undercover program often buried information about serious corruption. Certain documents from the Undercover Operative Unit, as well as the testimony of the unit's former commanding officer, Lieutenant John Becker, and information from a former IAD undercover operative, revealed that information about serious corruption was often never investigated or even officially recorded -- despite the fact that it came from one of the most reliable sources existing: fellow officers whom IAD commissioned to gather such information.

As a result of these intelligence-gathering deficiencies, the Department's official statistics on corruption reflected merely the tip of the iceberg, and inevitably its investigative efforts missed much of the problem.


The IAD "Action Desk"

The Action Desk serves as IAD's central in-take center for all police corruption allegations. It is where most of the 2,700 police corruption allegations are reported each year, typically by telephone. The Action Desk was repeatedly described to us as the "nerve center" of IAD. Many of IAD's top commanders, including Chiefs Beatty and Sullivan, testified that it was a vital component of an effective corruption control system. They also agreed that a poorly operating Action Desk, especially one that did not effectively solicit information from complainants, would be tantamount to "hindering" and even "killing" police corruption cases before they began.

Despite the importance of the Action Desk, our investigation revealed that for years it routinely operated in a manner that minimized the receipt of corruption information -- and actually discouraged complainants from providing information.

To assess the severity of these deficiencies, the Commission conducted an audit of the Action Desk's performance. A team of our investigators conducted a series of twenty-five tests in which they called the Action Desk at various times of the day, allegedly to report serious police corruption. To assess the Action Desk officers' efforts to solicit vital information, the investigators told the Action Desk officer that they could not decide whether to provide their names or their information.

The former Commanding Officer of the Action Desk, Sergeant Steven Webber, testified that a critical responsibility of Action Desk officers is to aggressively solicit as much information as possible from complainants, especially information on the complainant's name, subject's name and nature of the allegation. If a complainant says he or she does not know whether to provide the information, the Action Desk officer is supposed to encourage the caller to provide as much information as possible. Without obtaining such information, Webber testified, vital information could be forever lost.

Despite this, in the majority of cases, the Action Desk officer made no effort to encourage Commission investigators to provide even basic information like the complainant's name, the officer's name and precinct, or the type of corruption involved. The Action Desk officer often spoke in harsh tones that would encourage a caller to hang up. On some occasions, investigators were put on hold for long periods of time.

The following transcripts from recordings of a Commission investigator calling the Action Desk make these deficiencies clear:

IAB Officer: Internal Affairs --

Commission Investigator: Ahh, yes, ah... I'm calling because ah... I have some information about some serious corruption by ah- by two cops, but ah- you know I'm trying to decide if I should tell you- you know, to tell you people about it or not. I don't know if it's gonna be worth it or not.

IAB Officer: Well, that's your decision.

Commission Investigator: Ahhh. I don't know. I-you know, I just can't decide what- what to do, I mean.

IAB Officer: Well why did you call?

Commission Investigator: Because ...

IAB Officer: You called to tell me that you can't make up your mind whether you wauna give us information or not?

Commission Investigator: I want to -- what you think I should do?

IAB Officer: No, I can't advise you. This is your choice.

Commission Investigator: Now if I wanna - if uh- if uhm- if I wanna stay anonymous, you know, is- that better or, or . . .

IAB Officer: Excuse me?

Commission Investigator: If I wanna stay anonymous, you know ...

IAB Officer: That's your choice also.

Commission Investigator: Then ah- I don't know. I just don't know.

IAB Officer: Well when you make up your mind, if you decide to give us any of the information then call back, okay? I can't stay on the line while you try to make up your mind. We have other people calling here, who do wish to give a complaint and I have to take it, okay? I can't stay on- you're holding up the line. Either you're gonna give the information or you're not going to give it. Do you understand?

Commission Investigator: Yes, yes. I understand.

IAB Officer: Okay so, when you make up your mind. if you're going to give it then you can call back, okay, but right now you're holding up a line.
Commission Investigator: Okay. (March 5, 1993. Transcript of call)


IAB Officer: Internal Affairs --

Commission Investigator: Yes, Hi, Mmmm ... I have some information regarding ah, a boss ah, in the Police Department and ah ...

IAB Officer: A what?

Commission Investigator: A boss. Mmmm ... he's Mmmm ... like a a big boss ...

IAB Officer: Right.

Commission Investigator: ... in the Police Department I'm just like, trying to decide, Mmm ... I don't know what to do really ... It's just, I haven't been able to decide what I should do with the information. It has to do with Mmmm ... him - I know he's doing so many bad things. Mmmm ... I just don't know ... Ahh ... what do you think I should do?

IAB Officer: Oh, I don't know. You have to do whatever you feel, is right. Whatever you think, you know ... It's up to you.

Commission Investigator: I know he's like heavily in corruption and - and I know his name and everything. I just - I just don't know.

IAB Officer: Well when you have the information, ahhh, let me know if you wanna decide, whenever you decide, gimme a call. Call this number anytime.

Commission Investigator: I haven't decided if I should remain anonymous.

IAB Officer: What?

Commission Investigator: I- I- could I remain anonymous?

IAB Officer: Yeah.

Commission Investigator: I think I'd feel more comfortable if I don't give my name. I know his name, I-I just-I'm just not sure if I should disclose all this information.
IAB Officer: Well, you know, I mean I can't make you. Ah hold on a minute, I got another call. Hold on.

Commission Investigator: Okay.

PUT ON HOLD 6:55 minutes

IAB Officer: Hello?

Commission Investigator: Yes.

IAB Officer: Make up your mind yet?

Commission Investigator: No, No. Ah, I was hearing like a beep. What is that?

IAB Officer: That's a tape recorder.

Commission Investigator: Oh because -- does that mean I could be identified?

IAB Officer: Ahh, not really, I mean there's voice identification. I mean ah, there's a lotta ways, if you wanna be identified. They could ah ... press a button, you find out what ah number you're calling from. There's that and there's voice identification, ya know. Hold on a minute. I got another phone call, all right.

PUT ON HOLD 3:35 minutes

IAB Officer: Hello?

Commission Investigator: Yes.

IAB Officer: Make up your mind yet?

Commission Investigator: I- I still don't know what I should do.

IAB Officer: Well can you call me back when you make up your mind because I have other phone calls coming in here. I'm pretty busy. TOTAL TIME PLACED ON HOLD 10:30 minutes. (January 9, 1993. Transcript of Call)

Moreover, despite the diverse population of New York City, the Action Desk was usually not capable of taking complaints in languages other than English. When our investigator attempted to report corruption in Spanish, the Action Desk officer told her, "No, no Spanish here. Call back 'manana.'" When she called back the next day she was similarly instructed to call back "manana." The IAD Action Desk was one of the few complaint in-take centers in the entire Department that was unable to accept complaints in languages other than English.

Sergeant Webber reported that the Action Desk's poor performance meant that potentially crucial information on police corruption was routinely lost. He agreed that such a state of affairs could not have existed had an outside entity regularly reviewed the Department's intelligence gathering efforts. The Commission is similarly convinced.


We found a police culture that often tolerates and protects corruption. We also found that the Department completely abandoned its responsibility to transform that culture into one that drives out corruption. It made little effort to change the attitudes that foster corruption among the rank and file, supervisors or commanders; and it made little effort to convince anyone that its occasional pronouncements on integrity were more than obligatory rhetoric.

The Department also has done little to attempt to penetrate the wall of silence, although it is one of the major barriers to identifying and uncovering corruption. The Department never aggressively solicited information from its members. It did not reward courageous officers who came forward with valuable information; or penalize those who failed to report evidence of widespread or serious corruption about which they had personal knowledge. And it did nothing to try to educate its members as to why reporting and not tolerating corruption is essential to the Department and to them.

Indeed, we found that the first time the Department's top managers made an affirmative effort to solicit any information on corruption from its members was when this Commission attempted to do so. In July 1993, the Commission sent a letter to all members of the Department, urging them to come forward with any information they might have about corruption. That letter was to be distributed to all members of the Department with their paychecks. We later learned that another letter was attached to the front of the Commission's letter: a statement from former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, reminding all members of the Department about their obligation to report all information on corruption to Internal Affairs.

The Commission also found that the Department's practices actually discouraged members from coming forward. Many officers told us that they believe the Department did not really care if they came forward with information about corruption -- and some went further and told us they did not believe the supervisors wanted its members "ratting" on each other.

This belief has some justification. Although officers took great risks in reporting corruption, no special protections were afforded to them. Indeed, the evidence indicates that police officers who reported corruption had fewer confidentiality protections than criminal informants. It was not, for example, surprising for information about officers who reported corruption to be leaked to their precinct.

Nor did the Department make any effort to educate its recruits or veteran officers about the Department's commitment to integrity, and officers' duty to help fight corruption. We found that integrity training at the Police Academy often relied on outdated materials from the Knapp Commission era, focused on corruption hazards like gambling pads that no longer exist, and was presented as an appendage to other "more important" topics. The integrity film that was shown to thousands of recruits for years all too clearly epitomized the Department's lack of commitment to anti-corruption: a tattered, black and white film from the 1970s that focused on issues of little relevance to cops on the streets today.

Integrity training was also taught primarily by IAD officers -- some of whom had little experience in other commands within the Department. This was a mistake. Placing integrity training solely in the hands of Internal Affairs sends the wrong message to the Department about corruption controls. It fuels the perception that uprooting corruption is primarily the responsibility of Internal Affairs -- rather than the personal responsibility of every member of the Department. It fuels the perception among officers and supervisors that corruption is Internal Affairs' problem -- and not theirs. In sum, it hinders the acceptance and implementation of accountability and integrity principles that are vital to successful corruption controls.

In-service integrity training was similarly ineffective. We found that some "required" in-service integrity training was never even provided. What was offered was typically viewed by officers as boilerplate or mere prattle. In sum, we found that integrity training at all levels did little to enhance the integrity of members of the Department. It did little to encourage officers to resist the temptations of corruption. And, perhaps most important, it did little to transform a culture that tolerates and protects corruption into one that supports and rewards honesty and integrity.

Finally, the Department's action -- or inaction -- did much to nurture the climate of corruption. The collapse of the anti-corruption apparatus does more than minimize the likelihood of uncovering corruption, it fuels it. It sends a powerful message to officers of all ranks that the Department does not care about corruption; does not care about supervisors' integrity duties; does not care about police corruption investigations; and does not care to enlist the Department's vast majority of honest officers in the fight against corruption. And it does nothing to insure that officers' commitments to their Department are greater than their loyalties to their corrupt colleagues. Until the Department undertakes aggressive efforts to change these attitudes, they will continue to grow and to block integrity efforts.

The Department has begun to take its first steps in recent history to transform this culture. It is essential that these not be the last.


Many have suggested that such a number of simultaneous failures of the Department's corruption controls are no mere coincidence. We believe there is some truth to that. Ignorance of the full extent and nature of police corruption is perceived to protect the Department: it enables the Department to avoid acknowledging that police corruption is a serious problem in our City, enables it to deny anti-corruption efforts vital resources, and it minimizes the likelihood of uncovering widespread corruption.

The failures of the Department's corruption controls reflect the inevitable consequence of allowing the police to police themselves alone. Many of the deficiencies could have been identified and, to a large extent, prevented or remedied years ago if an independent entity had been aggressively auditing these anti-corruption systems. More important, many of these failures would never have occurred if the Department knew its anti-corruption systems would be subject to independent outside scrutiny and review -- the Department knows better than any other organization how best to police itself when it is forced to do so. The challenge we face is to create a long-term mechanism that encourages the police to successfully police themselves and to strengthen the fight against corruption on all fronts throughout the Department. We believe the internal and external reforms that follow will accomplish that objective.



10. The Office of the Special State Prosecutor was created in 1972 at the recommendation of the Knapp Commission. It had city-wide jurisdiction over allegations of corruption within the entire criminal justice system, including the police department. Its sole functions were investigative. It had no responsibility or authority to oversee or audit the Department's self-policing efforts.

11. Although the Chief of the Inspectional Services Bureau, of which IAD was part, theoretically oversaw IAD, in reality no one provided an independent oversight role.

12. The Commission cannot at this time disclose the names of these supervisors because we expect that many are or will be subjects of Departmental inquiries.

13. In a private hearing, Chief Walsh testified that he could not recall who had directed the order. At a private hearing and at the public hearings, however, Chief Beatty testified that in a conversation he had with Chief Walsh after the 9th Precinct case was presented at the public hearings, he and Walsh remembered that it was Walsh who had directed the order. Beatty could not recall with certainty if and when he had approved it.

14. A "C" number signifies that IAD has classified the allegation as a corruption case requiring investigation. A "No C" designation indicates the allegation does not involve corruption.

15. In a private hearing, Captain Templeton maintained that he believed that the memorandum was a draft, and that he was not certain whether he or one of his investigators had drafted it. There was, however, evidence indicating that the memorandum was drafted by Captain Templeton, or at his direction.
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Re: The City of New York: Commission to Investigate Allegati

Postby admin » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:26 am



"The People of New York City must know they can count on the members of their Police Department to be as honest as they are brave and able. They must know they can count on the Police Department to track down and drive from our ranks those who violate their oath and break the law."

-- Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Testimony before the Mollen Commission, October 6, 1993

The Department must remain primarily responsible for successfully policing itself and keeping its own house in order. It must "track down and drive from" its own ranks officers who violate their oath and the law, as former Commissioner Raymond Kelly testified at our public hearings. We believe that this requires a dual-track approach: reform of the Department's internal systems for preventing and uncovering corruption, and an external, independent monitor to insure those systems are successful. The independent monitor is discussed in Chapter Six. Our recommendations for internal reforms are discussed here.

During the tenure of the Commission, the Department has begun to take significant steps to strengthen its corruption controls. The bulk of these reforms, however, has focused on improving and expanding detection and investigative efforts. While such reforms are essential, the Commission believes that the effective control of police corruption must focus on prevention as much as detection; on the root causes and conditions of corruption as well as its symptoms. Police corruption is not a problem that will be solved solely by successful investigations and prosecutions. It is a problem that must be addressed on many fronts and in the daily operation of the Department, including:

• I. Police Culture and Management
o Commitment
o Recruitment and Screening
o Recruit and In-Service Performance Evaluations
o Integrity Training
o Corruption Susceptibility and Police Management
o Police Unions
o Drug Testing
o New York City Residency
• II. Command Accountability
o Supervision
o Enforcement of Command Accountability
• III. Internal Investigations
o Internal Affairs Operations
o Recruitment of Qualified Investigators
o Intelligence-Gathering Operations
o Investigative Approach
o Organizational Structure
o Command Liaisons
o Civil Rights Investigations
• IV. Heightening Deterrence and Sanctions
o Discipline
o Department Advocate's Office
o Disability Pensions
• V. Community Outreach
o Community Policing and Community Outreach

It is these areas that are the focus of our internal reform recommendations. While the Department has begun to adopt and implement a number of these reforms during the tenure of this Commission, our objective is to guarantee their long-term success, and to set forth the full scope of reforms we believe are necessary to combat corruption and the culture that tolerates and protects it.


Commitment to Integrity

At the core of the Department's corruption control reforms must be an unwavering commitment to insure their success now and in the future. Without such commitment, no anti-corruption system, no matter how well devised, has a chance to succeed. The abysmal state of the Department's corruption controls that we found existed over past years should provide a lasting lesson of the absolute necessity of such commitment -- and a lasting lesson about the consequence of its absence.

Commitment to integrity cannot be just an abstract value. It must be reflected not only in the words, but in the deeds, of the Police Commissioner, the Department's top commanders, and the field supervisors who shape the attitudes of the rank and file. It must motivate all of them to send an unequivocal message throughout the Department that corruption will not be tolerated. It must make the consequences for breaches of integrity the rule, not the exception. It must result in providing integrity controls with sufficient resources and high priority in the Department's operations. It must result in all officers understanding that their loyalty to the Department's integrity must be greater than their loyalty to corrupt colleagues.

Recruitment and Screening

The integrity of the Police Department is related to a large extent on standards that insure its new recruits are honest and able. Rigorous admission standards help accomplish that objective. They also send a message throughout the Department about the absolute sincerity of the Department's commitment to integrity and the special position police officers occupy in our society. Cops must know that not everyone can become a New York City police officer if we want them to have pride in their profession and their Department.

That is not always the case. There is a widespread perception among officers of many ranks that hiring standards have fallen dramatically over the years -- and that virtually anyone can become a New York City police officer.

To assess the adequacy of the Department's recruitment and screening standards and procedures -- and to determine whether we could identify profiles of corruption-prone recruits -- a team of Commission investigators conducted an extensive analysis of the personal backgrounds of approximately four hundred officers dismissed or suspended for corruption or serious misconduct over the past six years. [16] The analysis was based on information from the officers' personnel files, the Department's background investigations, and recommendations and evaluations at the time of application. We also examined for comparative reasons general demographic and background information of random samples of officers and conducted interviews with those responsible for various aspects of recruitment and screening. We are aware of no other analysis of this magnitude ever before conducted by the Department in this area.

Applying a degree of scrutiny absent from many background investigations done by the Department, we concluded that approximately 20 percent of the officers suspended or dismissed should never have been admitted into the Department. This is based merely on information available in these officers' personnel files at the time of hiring. Numerous others should never have been admitted until certain problem areas flagged in their application, which had been ignored, were investigated. For example, 24 percent of the officers dismissed or suspended had a prior criminal arrest record. In many of those cases, there was sufficient information from witnesses, victims, arresting officers, and other sources to call into question the character and ability of the officer -- but the officer was admitted without pursuing these leads. Many other officers were admitted despite youthful offender adjudications on charges as serious as robbery, narcotics and weapons possession, and assault. One officer, for example, had been arrested and indicted for three separate robberies and pleaded guilty to armed robbery in the first degree which was subsequently converted to a youthful offender adjudication. When asked in his application why he committed these crimes, he readily admitted that he committed the robberies for the "thrill" and "excitement" of robbing someone. Eleven years later, he was dismissed for theft.

Overly lax admission criteria are partly responsible for this problem. For example, an applicant with a youthful offender adjudication for a felony is eligible to become a New York City police officer. As a result, applicants with felony assault, weapons, robbery or narcotics charges resulting in either misdemeanor convictions or youthful offender adjudications became police officers despite the underlying gravity of their conduct, only to be dismissed or suspended years later for corruption. Since the Department admits applicants as young as twenty years old and therefore has only a two-year time span in which to evaluate an applicant's adult criminal history, it must take youthful wrongdoing into greater account in admission procedures.

The Commission also found that the Department has routinely admitted applicants to the Department -- and put them on the streets as sworn officers with guns and shields -- before their background checks are complete. Eighty-eight percent of the officers in our study, for example, entered the Police Academy before the completion of their background checks -- and thus prior to a reliable determination that they were fit to be police officers. Approximately one-third of all officers were placed on the streets, before completion of their background investigations. Thus, there is a wealth of vital information that is typically unknown when an officer is given a gun and shield. For example, investigations into an applicant's work history and behavior patterns, including interviews with relatives, neighbors, friends, employers and others, are often not completed until after the applicant becomes a sworn police officer. There is rarely an opportunity, therefore, to check prior job performance, attendance records, gaps in employment or unusual behavior patterns -- all important indicators of a person's fitness to become a police officer.

This is particularly troublesome because by the time recruits have graduated from the Police Academy and become sworn members of the Department, much time, energy and money has been invested in them. Consequently, the focus of the incomplete background investigations shifts from the question of whether the applicant is qualified to be a New York City police officer to how the Department could justify dismissing a sworn police officer which carries a heavier burden of proof.

The Commission also found that even "completed" background investigations are often hastily conducted. Certain potentially problematic information is not pursued and inquiries are often superficial. Ironically, investigative standards that would not be accepted in other commands in the Department are standard operating practice when it comes to investigating potential members of the Department.

Other tools exist to strengthen background checks which the Department currently disregards. For example, unlike many law enforcement agencies -- including the New York State Police, Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- the Department does not subject applicants to polygraph examinations for certain topics. The Department, therefore, neglects a reliable means to ascertain whether an applicant has lied about such critical matters as drug abuse, psychological problems, past employment problems, or violent conduct -- and whether certain areas should therefore be further investigated before acceptance. In fact, the Department rejected some applicants only after it learned that other police departments had rejected them on the basis of admissions made during their required polygraph examinations. For example, one officer -- who had already been on the street for a year -- was ultimately dismissed after the Department learned that the Nassau County Police Department had rejected him after he admitted to smoking marijuana approximately 1,600 times on a required polygraph test.

In addition, although personal drug use is a widespread problem among young adults today, the Department conducts no random -- unannounced -- drug tests of applicants. They receive only the scheduled health services test which gives applicants sufficient advance notice -- and thus ample opportunity to cleanse themselves of any trace levels of narcotics. There is no reason to believe that the Department's applicant pool should significantly differ from the general population studies on drug use.
Indeed, our study showed that approximately 40 percent of all dismissals and suspensions over the past five years were drug-related, 26 percent for failing a drug test. Given the drug-related temptations and opportunities that regularly confront officers, thorough screening efforts for drug abuse are especially critical.

Although effective screening of applicants is a critical component of anti-corruption efforts, we found that applicant investigators were more committed to processing paperwork, than conducting thorough background investigations. The Department blames these delays and oversights on the heavy workload of applicant investigators. This may be so, especially since in the last two years alone, 4,000 new officers have graduated from the Police Academy -- and over 2,000 more will graduate in August 1994. But larger classes and heavy workloads do not justify sacrificing thorough screening and background investigations of Department applicants. No applicant should take the oath of a police officer before a thorough background investigation is completed by the Department. If this is not feasible, then the Department should consider contracting a portion of its background investigations to private investigative companies, as do other law enforcement agencies such as the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Customs Service.

Background investigations and admission criteria must focus more on the applicant's likelihood to be an honest officer, not merely on the minimum qualifications necessary to do the job of policing. While the evidence suggests no typical profile of a corruption-prone officer, it does suggest that certain factors sometimes indicate an officer's ability to better withstand the temptations of corruption.

For example, our study revealed that officers with a prior felony arrest record are three times more likely to become corrupt than those without such records. Six percent of the dismissed or suspended officers in our study had prior felony arrest records, as compared with 2 percent from the general Department population. This is a significant finding. It shows the need to subject these candidates to a heightened level of scrutiny in their background investigations before admitting them to the Department.

Moreover, numerous supervisors told us that older recruits and recruits with a college education or military experience are often less susceptible to corruption, have fewer absences, and achieve more rapid advancement. Many have suggested that this is because these factors often reflect a more mature, experienced and disciplined applicant. Since the minimum age requirement for New York City police officers is twenty years of age, some officers have never held a job before joining the Department. They therefore often lack the maturity, confidence and experience needed to resist peer and other pressures leading to corruption. Education and military experience also are often linked to fewer corruption incidents, not only because of what educational or military experience provides, but because the successful completion of these endeavors itself reflects a discipline, character, and level of ability.

To keep the Department's applicant pool as diverse as possible, however, minimum educational requirements ideally should be raised concomitantly with expanded opportunities to satisfy those requirements. Such opportunities already exist. The City University of New York -- N.Y.P.D. Cadet Corps ("Cadet Corps") and the Police Department's own Police Cadet Corps ("Police Cadets") currently provide promising programs that integrate a college education and police-related training for police applicants. The CUNY Cadet Corps is sponsored by the City University of New York and is administered by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in cooperation with the Police Department. It is a two-year program that allows applicants to earn their Associate of Arts degree, while participating in special supplemental classes and internships related to police work and community service. The Police Cadet program is administered by the Department and offers a similar program for those applicants who have completed two years of college toward earning their Bachelor's Degrees.

In our view, these programs produce not only better educated officers, but officers more aware of community needs and problems related to police work. When the Cadets complete their education, those who pass the final Cadet examination are admitted into the Police Academy with their degrees already in hand. These programs also provide other advantages. First, they offer the Department a two-year period of evaluation to screen out individuals poorly suited for police work.

These programs have also been highly successful in recruiting minority police recruits. Currently 59 percent of the Cadet Corps are African-American or Hispanic and more than 37 percent are women. The Police Cadet Corps has been similarly successful in recruiting minority candidates. These programs therefore offer a mechanism already in place to raise both the educational standards and opportunities of police recruits from a diversity of backgrounds.

The Commission believes that raising certain hiring standards and improving applicant screening will have a considerable impact on reducing corruption and enhancing pride in the Department. We therefore make the following recommendations:

• Raise the minimum entry age requirement from the current 20 years of age to 22 years of age.
• Raise the minimum education requirement from a high school diploma to a two-year college Associate Degree. The Department should support the CUNY /NYPD Cadet Corps Program and the New York City Police Cadet Corps Program as a primary means to satisfy that requirement and raise the education level for recruits. This will require expanding the Cadet programs for police recruits. Cadet Corps and Police Cadet graduates who have received their Bachelor or Associate Degree before reaching the age of 22 should be eligible for immediate entry to the Police Academy.
• The Applicant Processing Division must recognize concern for integrity as a principal criterion for the selection of recruits.
• Require all applicants to submit to a polygraph examination on selected topics before hiring, as do other law enforcement agencies, to identify potential problem areas that should be investigated before acceptance.
• Require random, unannounced drug testing for all applicants rather than administering drug tests as part of pre-scheduled recruit health examinations.
• Require that background investigations be fully completed before a recruit enters the Police Academy. The Department should allocate sufficient resources to insure thorough background investigations are conducted for the number of recruits to be hired. The Department should examine the benefits of employing private entities to conduct thorough and timely background investigations, as do other law enforcement agencies.
• Make misdemeanor convictions based upon felony arrests for violent and drug-related crimes and felony youthful offender adjudications for violent and drug-related crimes presumptive hiring disqualifications based on grounds of moral fitness, unless the background investigation reveals circumstances that do not justify disqualification.
• All candidates with a prior felony arrest, regardless of the disposition, should be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny by applicant processing investigators.
• Amend New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 720.35(a) to allow the Department statutory access to all official records and papers relating to an applicant's youthful offender adjudication, to permit adequate evaluation of a candidate's fitness.
• The Department's Candidate Review Board should be required to issue a statement of facts and conclusions when it rules to approve an applicant who has been rejected by the Applicant Processing Division, which conducts the background investigations.
• Expand recruitment efforts from the military services and administer Department entry examinations on military bases.
• Require applicants to furnish tax returns and other financial records of applicants to provide the basis for an analysis of the applicant's financial condition for possible use in future investigations.

Recruit And In-Service Performance Evaluations

As the Knapp Commission recognized a generation ago, often the most reliable predictors of an officer's performance first appear in recruit training and during the eighteen-month probationary period. [17] The probationary period should therefore be used as an active component of the screening process. Yet, in the past, the Department rarely used this period for effective screening. Recruits or probationary officers are seldom dismissed except for the most flagrant misconduct, which of course defeats the whole purpose of "probation." In the Commission's study of 314 officers dismissed or suspended for misconduct, forty-eight of them -- 15 percent -- exhibited poor performance at the Academy.

If the Department makes its evaluation standards more rigorous for recruits and probationers, and dismisses those who exhibit a lack of fitness or ability during these periods, it could winnow out an appreciable number of ineffective and potentially corruption-prone police officers. By doing so, the Department will not only raise the caliber of its officers, but it will underscore its message that only the finest may become New York City police officers.

But the Department's screening process should not end after an officer's probation period expires, as it currently does. In-service performance evaluations for non-probationary officers also afford the Department important opportunities to identify, screen and, where appropriate, dismiss problem officers. Despite this, evaluations are almost never used for this purpose. They are boilerplate forms that simply litter personnel files. We recognize that performance evaluations pose special problems. They are necessarily subjective and include the evaluator's personal judgments of the officer's skills, efficiency, and personal traits thought to be crucial for good performance. Therefore, performance evaluations are only as good as the evaluators who write them. For example, at the height of his corrupt activities in 1987, Michael Dowd received an evaluation that described him as having "good career potential" and as a "role model" for other officers. But performance evaluations have enormous potential to help identify problem officers. If the quality and usefulness of evaluations is to improve, the Department must hold evaluators, at all levels, accountable for their performance evaluations. Of course, no one is infallible. But evaluators must be held accountable for the honesty of their judgments and the reliability of the basis for the evaluations they endorse. We therefore make the following recommendations:

• The Department should use an officer's eighteen-month probationary period as a rigorous screening period, to evaluate, identify and reject unqualified officers.
• The Department should actively identify and screen problem officers throughout their careers and dismiss those with unacceptable performance records.
• Supervisors should be held accountable for making reasonable efforts to provide reliable and accurate performance evaluations, which should include an assessment of corruption indicators pertaining to the officer. These evaluations should be used to help police commanders identify problem officers, whose performance should be closely monitored to determine fitness for the job.

Integrity Training

Today's police officer faces temptations of corruption that require thorough training and a strong code of ethics. The Commission believes that effective training and education are critical tools for shaping officers' attitudes and motivations, generating lasting pride in their profession and their Department, and inculcating the professional and personal values necessary to create more corruption-resistant police officers.

Over the last decade, the Department's training and education programs have failed to achieve these goals. The vast majority of police officers we interviewed harshly criticized the quality of anti-corruption training they received at the Police Academy. Most officers found that their instructors were mediocre; that they lacked teaching abilities and practical experience; that they relied almost exclusively on materials from outdated lesson plans with little relevance to the challenges facing officers today; and therefore lacked credibility with their classes. They also reported that the integrity training itself was unrealistic, even comical, when compared to the opportunities and nature of corruption today. Until recently, corruption training at the Academy was still based on the kind of corruption uncovered during the Knapp Commission. To cops facing the daily temptations of the drug trade, training about gambling "pads" and vice rackets has little relevance, and sends a clear message about the Department's lack of interest in or knowledge of integrity matters.

Even worse, many officers told us that it was at the Academy where they first became immersed in the attitudes of a police culture that promote and protect corruption. In both public and private hearings, officers testified that interaction with instructors and other recruits at the Academy began their acculturation into the dynamics of police culture and the perceived necessity of self-protection and tolerance for police misconduct. Of course, it is critical that this change. Integrity training must enhance the resolve of each officer to resist the seduction of corruption and to make every effort to remove from the job those who fail to resist. That resolve must start with recruits at the Police Academy.

But it cannot stop with recruits. It must be brought to the officers already on the beat, in radio cars, and special squads who know the hard realities and temptations of police work. The Department must therefore use its field training and in-service programs to penetrate the commands and assignments where resolve against corruption is most immediately needed. Despite its critical importance, the Commission found that the Department offers little or no integrity training in field and in-service training programs. Indeed, field training instructors -- who are supposed to serve as monitors and role models for recruits during their six-month field training program -- sometimes promote attitudes that foster corruption and rarely make integrity an important priority in police training.

The message about integrity's importance must not come solely from Internal Affairs. To truly spread the enforcement of corruption controls, officers must hear that message -- convincingly -- from respected supervisors in the field as well as the Department's "corruption fighters." This will also help reduce the division between Internal Affairs and the rest of the Department.

Recently, the Department has begun to reform its recruit and in-service training programs and policies. For example, Police Commissioner Bratton has called for a civilian board of directors to oversee the curriculum and faculty of the Police Academy. Adding civilian oversight to the Police Academy could help reduce police insularity and attitudes that often lead to corruption and corruption tolerance. The Police Academy faculty should also be supplemented with civilian experts who will contribute additional insights.

As the Department begins to reshape its training programs, it must keep in mind that anti-corruption cannot simply be buried under other subjects taught at the Academy and in the field. It must have a high priority in the Department's scale of values -- and that fact must be communicated to the rank and file. Corruption can no longer be perceived as simply a matter of academic interest or a required appendage to the more "important" policing matters taught at the Police Academy or in the field. The Department can no longer regard corruption solely as a matter of individual conscience. Its training programs must treat corruption as an occupational hazard and Departmental problem. Training must expose the harsh realities of the nature and extent of police corruption today. It must inform recruit and veteran officers alike about specific corruption hazards and the reasons and means to avoid them. The Department must candidly tell officers that there have been corrupt police officers, that a number of them may still be on the job today, and that they are responsible for helping the Department to root them out.

Officers must also be taught to fear the consequences of corruption. They must learn about the devastating impact of police corruption on them, their families, the Department, and society at large. And they must be convinced -- not just taught -- about the Department's intolerance of corruption and its desire and ability to uproot it wherever it exists.

At the same time, Department training must instill in officers a deep sense of pride in their profession and their Department. They must be taught the great history and traditions of the New York City Police Department and come to identify their pride and their personal reputation with the professional reputation of the finest Police Department in the nation. All of these efforts must be repeated and reinforced regularly throughout an officer's tenure. Only then can officers' loyalty to the Department be greater than their loyalty to corrupt fellow officers. The principal goals of the Department's training programs must be to instill values of high integrity in new officers and to reinforce these values during the course of every officer's career. Ultimately, it is the integrity of the individual officer and his commitment to the integrity and honor of his Department that will best protect the Department from corruption.

During the course of our studies and interviews with law enforcement officials, we found that the Academy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is renowned throughout the world for its outstanding scholarship and instruction in law enforcement. It graduates agents who take lasting pride in their profession and have a life-long commitment to upholding the reputation of their agency. With the necessary resources and support, there is no reason the Academy of one of the finest police departments in the world cannot achieve the same results.

With these considerations in mind, the Commission recommends the following reforms in police integrity training and education:

• The Department should require in-service integrity workshops for all officers at regular intervals throughout their careers. The training sessions should be organized as problem-solving workshops that make participants explore corruption hazards, confront their own attitudes about corruption, and reach conclusions about how to deal with corruption and the pressures of police culture in connection with corruption and corruption tolerance.
• The Department should require special integrity training workshops for all newly promoted supervisors and commanders that focus on a variety of anticorruption issues including their personal responsibility and accountability in corruption matters, and how they can prevent and identify corruption-related problems.
• The number of hours devoted to integrity training at the Police Academy should be increased and integrated in other areas of training so that it is perceived as an important part of the curriculum, rather than a required appendage to "real" police training.
• Police Academy and In-Service integrity training should address issues of brutality and other civil rights violations, which have traditionally been ignored in integrity training.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity training should focus on confronting and solving real-life corruption problems with particular emphasis on overcoming corruptive features of police culture, particularly the code of silence and insularity from the public.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity training should be realistic and vivid. The lecture method of instruction must be supplemented with interactive methods such as workshops, group discussions, and role playing to increase the impact and believability of corruption hazards police officers face.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity courses should include presentations of real evidence of corruption, such as tape recordings, video recordings, and other material evidence gathered in internal investigations.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity training should include personal or recorded presentations by former police officers convicted or dismissed from the Department because of corruption. A central message should be the devastating consequences of corruption on these officers, their families, and the Department as well as the importance of reporting corruption.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity training should include instruction on real-life profiles of both corrupt and honest officers to demonstrate how officers should and should not behave when presented with opportunities for corruption.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity training should also focus on deterrence, including the likelihood of detection, certainty and severity of sanctions for serious corruption, as well as penalties for those who fail to report it.
• The Police Academy should require a course in the history and traditions of the New York City Police Department designed to develop pride and loyalty in the Department.
• Police Academy and In-Service Integrity instructors, including Field Training Unit supervisors, must be selected on the basis of their abilities to teach and their experience and reputation within the Department. These instructors should include high-ranking members of IAB, and should be of a caliber that will be respected and taken seriously by their audience. Integrity training, however, should not be exclusively conducted by IAB.
• The Department should use civilian faculty to conduct segments of the police training currently provided at the Police Academy, in subjects such as Law, Social Science, and Ethics. This would expose recruits to non-police viewpoints, help civilianize the learning process, and minimize in-bred group acculturation.
• The Department should seek to avail itself more fully of the excellent resources and facilities available at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
• The Department should institutionalize regular focus group discussions with officers and supervisors to keep abreast of attitudes and perceptions regarding corruption and brutality. These findings should be incorporated into Academy and In-Service integrity training.
• A recruit mentor program should be established to allow and encourage recruits and new officers to have access to experienced, honest and respected officers selected for this program. The program should be structured to encourage participation on a confidential basis by any officer with integrity concerns.
• The Field Training Program for probationary officers should be strengthened and integrity should be made an important component of that training.
• The Police Commissioner should take a personal role in addressing recruits and veteran officers on matters of integrity and the Department's commitment to fighting corruption, including personally addressing recruits and newly promoted supervisors, and periodically sending videotaped messages to field commands.

Police Personnel Management

Over the course of the Commission's inquiries a number of issues of police personnel management have stood out as conditions that either promote corrupt behavior or fail to properly acknowledge officers for their integrity. One of these issues is the steady tour/steady partner policy; another is the perception among certain officers that a number of police commands are used by the Department as "dumping grounds" for incompetent and undisciplined officers.

Most officers we interviewed believe, and our field investigations have confirmed, that steady tours have a divisive impact on a precinct and cause intensely loyal cliques to emerge among officers who constantly work and socialize together. We have observed, and many officers agree, that steady tours intensify the insularity that facilitates corruption.

Officers placed in commands they believe to be a dead end to their careers, furthermore, have little incentive to be loyal to the Department or, for that matter, to their oath. In fact, as we discussed in Chapter Three, Department inquiries have demonstrated that officers assigned to dangerous, high-crime precincts take a perverse pride in their deviant reputation and are convinced that Internal Affairs investigators and strong supervisors will not even venture into their dangerous and crime-ridden territory. They thus feel that they have free rein on the streets of their precincts.

As many police officers, police management experts, and our own investigations indicate, constant exposure to communities overrun by drug dealing and violent crime all too easily infects even the best-intentioned officers -- not just "rotten apples" -- and influences them to take the first steps toward succumbing to their worst instincts. It is unwise and unfair to leave officers exposed to this kind of environment indefinitely. Regular rotation to less intense patrol areas will do much to protect vulnerable officers from corruption.

Many police officers have also complained, moreover, that the Department does little to recognize officers who perform conspicuous acts of integrity. The institutional message they take from the Department's failure to recognize honest officers is that integrity is not a valued Department priority. The Department must do more to publicly recognize and reward honest cops.

In light of these findings, the Commission believes that the Department must dispel the belief that certain precincts are used as "dumping grounds" and must make every effort to prevent fractionalizing precincts into insular groups of officers. In addition, the Department should regularly monitor and explore police officers' morale and their prevailing attitudes and opinions about integrity and other job-related issues. It must also make officers believe that honesty and integrity are indispensable qualities of any good police officer. We recommend the following steps toward addressing these problems:

• The Department should establish a system to rotate officers' command assignments within a borough every three to five years to reduce exposure to command conditions that foster corruption.
• Implement a rotating tour of duty system to reduce the insularity that fosters corruption. Police officers should not be assigned to steady late tours for more than two years.
• Precinct commanders should rotate partners where indications of corruption exist.
• Assign proven and experienced supervisors to high-crime, corruption-prone precincts.
• The Department should insure that police officers transferred for disciplinary or administrative reasons are re-assigned equally among all precincts.
• The Department should use its program of "focus groups" to provide field commanders information regarding officers' morale and attitudes about integrity and other job-related concerns.
• The Department should establish a system to reward honest officers, and those who assist in identifying and uprooting corruption, with choice assignments, promotions, and commendations.
• The Department should conduct an annual integrity award ceremony day to publicly acknowledge officers for conspicuous acts of integrity.

Police Unions

While respecting the right of police unions to represent the interests of their members zealously, the Department must make every effort to enlist the support of union leadership in assisting the fight against corruption. And, for their part, police unions must help the Department rid itself of the men and women who do not deserve to be New York City police officers. The vast majority of police officers are honest and not corrupt. By their actions, police unions must demonstrate that the vast majority of honest officers are among the principal victims of police corruption.

Police unions speak with an especially powerful voice to their membership. Most officers see their union organizations as the guardians of their rights and interests in the face of Department rules and regulations, and an often hostile public. Consequently, unions have a high obligation to their members and the people of our City to join the Department in condemning police corruption with one voice.

Recently, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association has given a fine example of this critical message. Ten days after the arrests of fourteen officers of the 30th Precinct, the P.B.A. published a full-page message in local newspapers praising the heroism of police officers, condemning police corruption as "disgraceful and intolerable," and pledging its support to assist the Department in ridding itself of "those criminals in a blue uniform." All police unions must convey this message, not only through newspaper announcements, but in their daily dealings with their members. For example, unions would do much good by addressing the topic of police corruption at membership meetings to help educate officers about the danger corruption brings to their safety, their reputation, its impact on their families and on their capacity to perform their job effectively.

Unions can make important strides too in assisting the Department and the District Attorneys in conducting successful investigations by encouraging their members who are witnesses -- not subjects -- of such inquiries to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors. According to prosecutors, Department officials, and in the Commission's own experience in questioning police witnesses, police union representatives and attorneys advise such witnesses to give no statements unless the immunity provisions of Patrol Guide Procedure No. 118-9 [18] are in effect.

While this may be sensible advice to officers who are targets of an investigation or to those who face a risk of self-incrimination, in the case of the witness officer, it only serves to prevent law enforcement authorities from obtaining reliable evidence from those they should expect it most -- their fellow public servants. What is worse, such blanket advice puts enormous pressure on the guiltless officer -- who may want to answer questions -- not to stray from the common practice of abiding by union advice and remaining silent. In our view, police officers who are witnesses to events under investigation by a District Attorney have a special obligation to cooperate with law enforcement authorities, so long as they are allowed to consult with counsel and are given assurances that their statements will not be used against them in a criminal proceeding.

In some cases, especially those that have received public attention, silence harms innocent officers more than it helps because suspicion about their complicity grows in the absence of factual contradiction. In other cases, even officers who are subjects of investigations may see their best interest in cooperating and assisting Department investigators or other law enforcement authorities. In some instances, therefore, police officers might better protect their interests by seeking counsel independent from that provided by their union who labors under a potential conflict of interest. In light of these circumstances, the Commission recommends that the Department gain police unions' support for the following initiatives:

• The establishment of a panel of volunteer attorneys drawn from law firms throughout the City who are able and willing, on a pro bono basis, to advise and represent police officers who desire counsel independent from police union attorneys during the course of Department or other law enforcement corruption investigations.
• The promulgation of a Department order requiring police officers who are witnesses in investigations conducted by a prosecutor to cooperate and answer questions related to the matter under investigation, unless the answers to such questions might tend to incriminate the responding officer. During such interviews, officers should have right to counsel and a guarantee that any statements made in response to such questioning will not be used as evidence against them in a subsequent criminal proceeding. Refusal to abide by this order should result in Departmental charges.
• Police Unions should be encouraged to play a more active role in educating their memberships about the dangers of corruption to them and the Department, and in changing police attitudes that foster corruption, including the code of silence.
• Police Unions should encourage their members who are witnesses, not subjects, of criminal investigations or Departmental inquiries to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors.

Drug Testing

Overwhelmingly, police officers we interviewed expressed great concern about any drug use by fellow police officers. They understand the great danger that drug-using officers present to them and to the members of the public. Because of this, they support increasing random drug testing and a policy of immediate termination for officers who abuse drugs.

The Commission agrees. Our study shows that, in our day and age, personal drug abuse among police officers is a growing problem as it is in most other professions. Unfortunately, supplied with guns, batons, and the power of arrest, police officers who abuse drugs not only risk their own lives -- as all drug abusers do -- but the lives of their colleagues and the public. We need only conjure up the image of Michael Dowd snorting cocaine off the dashboard of his patrol car to vividly understand the great danger of drug abuse among police officers.
Random and "for cause" drug testing have proven to be effective means to remove unworthy police officers from the Department. They can also be effective tools for preventing and deterring drug use among officers. As Michael Dowd told Commission investigators, during his career of corruption he feared a drug test much more than Internal Affairs. A recent Commission study, moreover, shows that of 369 officers dismissed or suspended from the Department over the last six years, 26 percent failed a drug test.

Despite the importance of drug testing, we found that in the past such tests were given far too infrequently and were sometimes not difficult to circumvent or "beat," as some officers put it. We recognize that administering drug tests costs money. Given the grave consequences of drug use among officers and the great benefits derived from an aggressive drug testing program, however, we have concluded that this must be a priority in the Department. In light of these considerations, the Commission recommends the following initiatives:

• Increase both random and "for cause" drug testing for all members of the Department, including probationary officers.
• The Department must consistently enforce its policy of immediate dismissal for officers who fail or refuse a drug test.
• Integrity training should include instruction on the signs of drug and alcohol abuse, and the responsibility of officers and supervisors to report drug and alcohol abuse by fellow officers.
• The Department should tighten its drug testing procedures to minimize the possibility of circumventing drug tests, including enforcement of the time limitation between notification and administration of the test.
• The Department should call upon police unions and fraternal organizations to endorse publicly an aggressive drug testing program.

New York City Residency Requirement

Many have suggested that a New York City residency requirement would reduce incidents of corruption within the Department. In our study of the backgrounds of four hundred officers dismissed or suspended over the past six years, we found no correlation between residence and corruption. In fact, 77 percent of the dismissed or suspended officers we studied resided in one of the five boroughs at the time they applied to the Department.

The Commission has, therefore, concluded that while a residency requirement for police officers has other important virtues, corruption does not appear to be one of them.
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