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Top sleuth is dumped

July 4, 1996

Despite the fact that his bureau solved three major homicides last month and achieved the highest arrest and the highest clearance rate of solved homicides in 40 years, Charles Reuther was formally dumped yesterday as chief of detectives.

The 61-year-old Reuther's white-haired scalp had been sought for the past year by the NYPD's dark prince, Chief of Department Louis Anemone.

Reuther will be succeeded by Patrick Kelleher, who for the past year and a half headed the Internal Affairs Bureau and who'd served under Reuther in three separate commands, the last as Reuther's number two in Manhattan Borough South.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir made no public announcement of these key department changes. Instead, reporters were informed that Safir would respond to questions about the changes following a mayoral news conference at City Hall.

There, Safir announced sparely that Reuther had done "a good job," but gave no reason for his removal. Instead, he said Reuther would head what he mistakenly termed the newly created Criminal Justice Bureau. Actually, the unit has been around for some time. It is currently headed by the former Bronx borough commmander Rafael Pineiro, who'd also been dumped there at Anemone's direction.

That bureau, which had been under Anemone's command, will now be placed under First Deputy Commisioner Tosano Simonetti. Simonetti sat among the spectators in the audience while Safir and Anemone sat on the podium with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Meanwhile, the notorious Cold Case Squad, begun under former Commissioner William Bratton's deputy Jack Maple to embarrass the detective bureau, will be folded into the bureau's Warrants Squad, Safir said. Under Maple, the squad was under Anemone's command.

Printable versionOn the podium yesterday, Anemone sat next to Safir, in uniform and wearing glasses. "It softens the image," he said of the specs.

Asked about reports that he was responsible for Reuther's removal, he said, "I don't have a devious bone in my body."

While Reuther wanders off-stage, Anemone's role in the department appears pre-eminent, after some anxious earlier moments. Despite rumors that he'd tangled with both Safir and Simonetti, the new commissioner is said to respect Anemone's energy and effectiveness.

Kelleher, who never appeared particularly comfortable heading IAB, called his transfer to the Detective Bureau "a dream come true." At IAB, working literally around the clock, he supervised the investigation of the NYPD's Washington, D.C., rampage, in which scores of drunken cops reportedly terrorized guests and trashed a half-dozen Washington hotels.

"It was a watershed event," said Kelleher. "We had to prove ourselves." Six cops were suspended over the incident.

As for Reuther, the 6-foot-tall, 40-year veteran said only of his new job, "I look forward to the new challenge."

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© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.