One Police Plaza

Angry Cops Bolt Suicide Seminar

January 23, 1995

With the number of city cops committing suicide reaching a frightening total last year of 12 - not one of whom had contacted the department's psychological services unit for help before their deaths - department officials are seeking assistance wherever they can find it.

Last Tuesday the department sought out the 35 front-line patrol delegates of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and invited them to John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a daylong seminar on suicide prevention. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as the department had intended.

Trouble started with the appearance of Dr. Eloise Archibald, head of psych services, which, at least in theory, offers an array of counseling services including suicide intervention. Problem is, cops distrust the unit.

As a delegate at the seminar put it, "The department tells us to refer troubled cops to psych services. But what happens is those cops will have their guns immediately taken from them and their careers stigmatized."

Archibald didn't allay the suspicions. When delegates asked what her priorities were, she replied they were to safeguard the citizens of New York by ensuring police officers are fit for service.

"You mean you're not here primarily to help us?" a delegate asked.

Again, Archibald replied that priorities were with the citzenry, to ensure that if a cop is not supposed to have his gun he doesn't have his gun. With that, according to a delegate, Lou Matarazzo, heir apparent to the union's presidency, spoke up: "Dr. Archibald, I can't believe what I just heard. Do you want to clarify that answer, that your priorities are not with us but with citizens?"

When Archibald reiterated her priorities were protecting the tax-payer, the delegates then stormed out.

"It was a disaster," acknowledged a top department official. "We had planned a training exercise. The delegates thought they would air their grievances."

Chief of Personnel Mike Markman was concerned enough that he contacted Matarazzo to try the seminar again this week - with a difference. Markman himself will attend and promises to listen to the delgates.

What, governor?
Some Brooklyn detectives wonder whether Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has other things on his mind than fighting crime.

Hynes, who failed to gain the Democratic nomination for attorney general last year, now says he'll run for governor in 1998.

That's what he told Eliot Spitzer, the former prosecutor who ran a spirited but equally unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination. Hynes says he and Spitzer would make a great gubernatorial team in 1998.

"I told Eliot that with his money and my talent we can't miss," Hynes said. But, first, he says he'll run for re-election as DA in 1997. Later this month he's holding a "retire the debt" cocktail party at Tavern on the Green for his attorney general race, a debt said to total nearly $ 400,000.

Meanwhile, back at the Brooklyn DA shop, changes are afoot. A number of loyalists have recently departed, including former First Deputy Mike Gentile, eased out by his successor, Harvey Greenberg, who's now out himself.

Then there's the matter of the $ 2 million the city recently notified Hynes that his office is running over budget. No sweat, says Hynes. His books are always balanced by fiscal year's end.

All heart.
Former Chief of Detectives Joe Borrelli was approved in record time by the police medical board for a disability retirement under the heart bill, which guarantees a cop a tax-free pension for virtually any heart-related illness.

For Borrelli, 63, who earned $ 109,000 last year, this means a triple tax-free pension of at least $ 81,750. Factoring in extras based on his 36 years of service, his annual retirement payments could approach his chief's salary.

Car promoted. Louie Anemone has been promoted to chief of department, and so has his car. Forgoing the tinted windows and unmarked car associated with the "C of D," Anemone, previously chief of patrol, insisted on driving a marked patrol car with his title stamped on the side and a license plate denoting his three stars. Now he says he'll still drive a marked car for visibility. It will read "Chief of Department" with a fourth star added to his license plate.

Regarding Cheryl. Cheryl Fiandaca hasn't yet made her move but one thing seems certain - the wife of Police Commissioner William Bratton has had enough of her job at John Jay College.

For the past year Fiandaca, an attorney, has been paid $ 70,000 as something called the director of international training, which was described by a spokesman as teaching Caribbean and Latin American police officers "a more human and sensitive approach to police work."

Police spokesman John Miller says, "She's exploring opportunities in many fields. All I know is she's kind of bored at John Jay and is looking for something more exciting." Rumors she may take a job with the high-profile, sometime mob-lawyer Barry Slotnick are untrue, Miller says. "Slotnick said he'd love to talk to her but that's it."

©1995 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.