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Former NY deputy commish indicted

Charged with misusing department funds in Maryland

December 11, 2003

Former New York City deputy police commissioner Edward Norris was indicted in Baltimore yesterday on charges that he stole thousands of dollars from a secret department fund while serving as that city's police commissioner.

By the end of the day, Norris resigned as superintendent of the Maryland State Police, a job he took last August after leaving Baltimore.

John Stendrini, a retired deputy inspector who left New York to become Norris' chief of staff in Baltimore, also was indicted.

Norris served as Deputy Commissioner of Operations under Police Commissioner Howard Safir. He took over the Baltimore force in 2000.

The indictment charges that after becoming Baltimore's police commissioner, Norris came upon a little known department charity fund and began cashing its $200,000 of stock.

He used the money to pay for affairs with women, trips to New York City, meals at upscale restaurants, such as Smith & Wollensky's steakhouse, and luxury hotels, according to the indictment. In addition, he had officers assigned to him drive the women to rendezvous at Stendrini's apartment, the indictment said.

On Sept. 20, 2001, the indictment alleges, Norris sent a member of his detail to New York "to facilitate romantic encounters" with a woman, then living in Baltimore. Norris then directed the officer to purchase clothing for himself and reimbursed him $423.04 from the charity account.

Ten days later, the indictment alleges, Norris left an international police conference to travel to New York for another "romantic encounter," paying $657.58 for an overnight stay at the W hotel and $753.91 for dining expenses, both from the charity account.

The indictment says Norris and Stendrini submitted letters to the department's fiscal section, saying the money was being used for police business.

Norris could not be reached for comment but a friend, who asked for anonymity, maintained Norris felt he had done nothing wrong and had offered to pay back the money, only to be rebuffed.

The NYPD offered no official comment on his indictment and police officials appeared to distance themselves from him.

"He doesn't work here anymore," a chief said, "so why should anyone say anything?"

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© 2003 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.