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After arrests, mayor is there

August 4, 1997

When the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, then-Mayor David Dinkins was out of the country and the initial news conferences were held by FBI Assistant Director James Fox, with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at his side.

Following the discovery of a Brooklyn bomb factory Thursday, the news conferences have all been held by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. At his side has been Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom, with Police Commissioner Howard Safir a step behind.

Some law enforcement officials outside the FBI have questioned why Giuliani has held so many news conferences while providing so little information.

Others have questioned why Kallstrom has allowed himself to become part of Giuliani's political agenda, including his appearance Friday at Giuliani's news conference at City Hall. At that one, Giuliani refused even to acknowledge the role of the informant who had notified the Long Island Rail Road Police, who then notified the NYPD, of the bombers. Law enforcement officials say the mayor has refused to credit the LIRR police because they are outside his jurisdiction.

Asked about the politics of law enforcement in New York, an FBI spokesman said "Relations between the NYPD, the mayor and the FBI are excellent."

The Dark Prince's Understudy. Behind Giuliani and Safir at their recent news conferences, silent as a potted plant, has stood a uniformed police chief with tinted blond hair. He is Kenneth Donohue, who heads what is now called the Transportation Bureau. With the fiery Chief of Department Louis Anemone on vacation (and probably kicking himself and anyone else near him because of it), The Duke, as Donohue is known, has become his understudy.

In appointing him, Anemone altered a police tradition that holds that when the chief of department is away, the chief of patrol replaces him. Unfortunately, the blood doesn't run smoothly between Anemone and Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman. So Anemone has selected other chiefs to replace him - most often Donohue, an NYPD outsider who only joined the department with the transit police merger in 1995.

"They're kindred spirits," says another chief. Like Anemone, Donohue is a workaholic. "He's the genuine article," says a transit official. "If you need a job done, he's the guy to do it."

With Anemone away, Donohue ran last week's two COMPSTAT meetings, which Anemone, the department's dark prince, had canceled before leaving.

COMPSTAT are those vaunted sessions where commanders are grilled on their crime strategies. Last week's subjects: marginal crime declines in the Bronx and rising crime rates in Queens. While he lacked Anemone's NYPD expertise, those present say Donohue's questions were trenchant.

Printable versionSo why is he called The Duke? Some say it's because of his John Wayne-like aggressiveness as a transit sergeant. Others say it's because of his vanity - he can't pass a mirror without looking at himself.

Class. Despite Commissioner Safir's and his minions' hostility toward the news media, reporters have traditionally been welcomed, or least treated civilly, at police retirement functions. Past disagreements notwithstanding, their attendance generally denotes respect for the job the retired officer performed.

Last Wednesday David Kocieniewski, the New York Times police bureau chief, attended the retirement dinner of Inspector Maurice J. Collins, the Office of Management and Budget's commanding officer. He purchased a $50 ticket for the affair, which like many retirement dinners was advertised on posters at One Police Plaza.

But before Kocieniewski even sipped his drink, two sergeants told him he wasn't welcome and returned his $50. A chief they didn't name felt uncomfortable when reporters attended such dinners, the sergeants explained. But there is no chief in the Office of Management and Budget. It's headed by a civilian, Deputy Commissioner Joseph Wuensch, who happened by as Kocieniewski was escorted to the door.

"How are you, David?" Wuensch asked him.

"Not too well, Commissioner," Kocieniewski answered. "I'm being thrown out."

Stand-up guy that he is, Wuensch replied, "I'm sorry. I'm not going to do anything about it."

The $50,000 Mechanic. The police department is seeking a bike mechanic. Pay: $50,000. That's a cop salary. Although a civilian could be hired for half that, Department Bulletin No. 20, dated July 7, says: "The Police Academy's Driver Education and Training Unit is seeking a police officer for the positon of bicycle mechanic . . . The ideal candidate . . . has previous experience as a bicycle mechanic. However, police officers who are bicycle enthusiasts, and have some experience in maintaining bicycles will be considered."

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Email Leonard Levitt at llevitt@nypdconfidential.com

© 1997 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.