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Taking list, checking twice

November 27, 2000

"It's a great day for the NYPD," Commissioner Bernard Kerik declared Wednesday as he promoted 41 detectives to first and second grade.

Kerik explained that the previous Saturday he, First Deputy Commissioner Joe Dunne and Chief of Department Joe Esposito "met in a room, locked the door, took no calls, and spoke to no one" from 8 a.m. to noon.

The purpose, Kerik explained to the promotees and their families at a ceremony at One Police Plaza, was "to go through the promotions to make sure the detectives...were the best of the best."

What Kerik did not say was that the week before, he had returned the original promotion list Dunne and Esposito sent him and told the Dynamic Duo he wanted "no contracts." In New York City parlance, that means "no deals."

Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Tom Antenen confirmed Kerik's "no contracts" directive and offered the department's sanitized version of Kerik's intercession: "He Kerik wanted to make sure everyone was a top performer. He wanted top producers."

Antenen said the changes were "minimal."

Antenen said Kerik's action was unrelated to the promotion in September of Insp. Judy McGinn to chief of detectives in Brooklyn when Kerik had been commissioner only a month. McGinn -part of the Dunne-Esposito clique in Brooklyn North-was promoted although she was on limited duty and the subject of an ongoing internal investigation stemming from a car accident July 27 in which she struck five parked vehicles, including a sanitation truck, over a two-block area before knocking down a brick facade and the wooden door of a body shop where her car landed. Antenen has said that Kerik was briefed about McGinn before promoting her.

"This has nothing to do with McGinn," Antenen said of the Saturday morning meeting. "He has total confidence in Dunne and Esposito."

The Condor Conundrum.
The city council tried futilely last week to understand the Police Department's justification for requesting $100 million in overtime to expand the anti-drug initiative known as Operation Condor.

Even Kerik has his doubts about Condor, begun last January under his predecessor Howard Safir. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Safir say, with little credible evidence, that the operation is responsible for bringing down the homicide rate.

Shortly after becoming commissioner three months ago, Kerik, himself a former narcotics detective, began a review of Condor to determine why the department was spending tens of millions of overtime dollars on it when the officers made mostly misdemeanor arrests.

The ratio between Condor's misdemeanor and felony arrests was so stark - of 60,000 Condor arrests through September, only 9,179 were felonies - that on Oct. 1, with no public announcement, Kerik suspended the program for 10 days to evaluate its effectiveness.

At the end of that time, Giuliani noted that during the week Condor had been suspended, crime citywide rose 1.35 percent. This, he said, proved Condor's effectiveness. Therefore, with apparently the same reasoning the mayor used to justify a 13-man security detail for Safir since leaving the department, Giuliani announced he was not merely reinstating Condor but expanding it.

Giuliani did not mention that for the week ending Sept. 24, when Condor was in effect, crime rose 1.39 percent. Or that for the week ending Sept. 17, crime rose another 4 percent. Nor did he mention that Condor is not a citywide program but is confined to certain areas of certain precincts. So far as is known, the department has not released figures on the correlation, if any, between Condor and crime in those areas.

Shelly's Big Tow.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may be one of the state's most powerful elected officials but that doesn't matter in New York City-certainly not to the NYPD.

The Lower East Side Democrat says he parked his car in an authorized Assembly spot outside 250 Broadway and placed his state permit in the window, only to discover when he returned that his car was gone.

He explained that the Assembly had parking spots on Broadway outside the state office building at 270 Broadway, across from City Hall, until Giuliani and City Council Speaker Peter Vallone-neither of whom has particularly warm feelings for Silver-gave the spots to the Council. The Assembly parking places were moved a block away to 250 Broadway.

Silver sounds as if he blames the council for his misfortune. "I assume someone from the council didn't realize I was in an appropriate spot," he said.

Arriving car-less at City Hall, Silver was spied turning not right to the Council's offices but left toward the mayor's, where Silver says he met up with the head of City Hall's security detail. That sounds like Lt. Don Henne, whose name Silver says he didn't know. Silver says the officer apologized, told him the incident was "a mistake," then escorted him to his car.

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© 2000 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.