Mayor at drug seminar
December 9, 1996
Washington Mayor Marion Barry visited New York City three weeks ago, and in an episode as weird as any from "The Twilight Zone," he surfaced at Police Plaza to attend an NYPD crime strategy session, known as COMPSTAT.
As fate would have it, the subject that day was "hand-to-hand" narcotics spots, each of which were displayed on an electronic pin map.
To the amusement of some, Barry, who in 1991 served six months in prison for posssession of cocaine, whispered to Police Commissioner Howard Safir that he did not know the term "hand-to-hand." The term refers to a direct drug buy from a pusher.
Well, no matter. D.C. police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile says Barry was so impressed that he's implemented COMPSTAT sessions for his entire police department. New York City police sources say that using COMPSTAT's approach could help him pinpoint every drug location in Washington.
Barry couldn't be reached last week to comment. His office said he was traveling in China.
Safir was also traveling last week. No, not to the Dominican Republic, the scene of his latest triumph, but down to Washington, where he bumped Chief of Department Louis Anemone from a nationally televised panel so that Safir could personally accept an "Innovations in Government" award from the Ford Foundation.
The award was for the very same COMPSTAT program, which was created by ex-Police Commissioner William Bratton's bow-tied sidekick, Jack Maple, who with his sidekick Anemone served as COMPSTAT's first Grand Inquisitor.
Although sponsors had requested an operations person like Anemone for the panel, the howls emanating from Safir's office last Monday afternoon sounded like, "They're going to find out who runs this --- department."
Safir then dashed for the Delta shuttle, causing enough of a stir in the terminal that he might consider attending the next meeting of his courtesy, professionalism and respect committee.
Down in D.C. as Safir was attempting to fill Maple's 9EEE Allen Edmonds Spectator shoes with his own size 14 feet, someone's beeper near him went off. The message, from a higher police authority, read simply: "Tell the truth, who invented COMPSTAT."
What Goes Around . . . About two years ago the Daily News was considered to be in bed with the NYPD. The News supported Rudolph Giuliani for mayor and Giuliani then rescued its owner, Mortimer Zuckerman, from millions of dollars in financial obligations over the New York Coliseum.
Over at the NYPD, ex-commissioner Bratton's spokesman John Miller befriended the News' city editor and its columnists. Nothing better epitomized the paper's preeminence than its exclusive bedside photo of the injured transit cop Desmond Robinson supposedly forgiving police Officer Peter Del Debbio, who had mistaken him for a robber and shot him five times.
But now it's the Post that's considered in bed with the NYPD. Ever since the mayor took up the cudgels for its owner Rupert Murdoch against his Time-Warner rival, the Post's coverage of Giuliani and Safir has turned slavish.
Take its front page headline describing Safir's Dominican Republic fiasco, "RUDY TO THE RESCUE." A sub-head proclaimed, "He's off to close deal to station N.Y. cops in the Dominican Republic."
The deal was closed all right. U.S. diplomats say privately it was those headlines that closed it.
Last week with Bratton posturing for a mayoral run, the Post struck again. "At the NYPD," it reported, "some veteran cops were offended by Bratton's jet-set courting of the media spotlight and welcomed new commissioner Howard Safir's return to the nuts and bolts of cop duties."
The story then quoted Bratton saying that as mayor, Giuliani ran "a $36 billion office. Actually," snipped the Post, "the city budget is $33 billion - and, that little slip is one sign that Bratton doesn't have Giuliani's hawk-like eye for detail."
The Inspector Vanishes. Inspector Charles Luisi may be under investigation by state and federal authorities stemming from his accepting thousands of dollars of freebies from Michael Zerin, a professional gun dealer. But he managed to slip out of the police department with his pension.
Under civil service law, the NYPD has 30 days to try a cop after he files for retirement, which Luisi did a month ago. Although the department's Internal Affairs Bureau was on his case more than a year ago, Luisi recently went on the lam and IAB couldn't find him to serve him with papers.
Email Leonard Levitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.