One Police Plaza

The Person Missing From Giuliani's Side

July 10, 1995

For three weeks now, Communications Director Cristyne Lategano has been conspicuously absent from the mayor's entourage at some highly visible police functions.

Lategano used to accompany Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to virtually all police events, but she was absent Thursday when he rushed out to Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens to visit Officer Michael Ware, who had been seriously injured in a fall from his motor scooter.

Nor was she anywhere to be seen June 30 for the "one-on-one" between Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton, a weekly meeting at City Hall in which both men are accompanied by their top aides. Lategano began attending those meetings after Bratton's former deputy commissioner for public information, John Miller, was forced to resign for refusing the mayor's order to transfer his entire staff.

Following the June 30 one-on-one, Lategano didn't accompany the mayor to the wake of former Sgt. Det. Squad Commander John Ranieri, a past president of the Columbian Association, an organization of officers of Italian heritage. Nor was she with Giuliani at Brooklyn College for the midnight swearing-in of 1,940 police recruits.

Her first no-show was June 19, when Giuliani attended the ceremony outside One Police Plaza symbolizing one of his victories as mayor: the formal retiring of the flags of the transit and housing police as a result of the police merger that he had concluded. That was the same day an article in New York Newsday described Lategano's having insulted a top police official at the scene of the Williamsburg Bridge subway crash early last month and her growing influence within the Giuliani administration.

Lategano did not return a phone call, but mayoral press secretary Colleen Roche said she is replacing Lategano at police functions. "I was specifically hired because of my long-standing history and expertise in criminal justice," said Roche, who was hired in March. "It's only natural I start to go with the mayor to law-enforcement events."

Roche accompanied the mayor to the June 19 flag retirement, and last Thursday to Queens. And then there was the June 30 one-on-one with Bratton. "I had always been invited to the one-on-ones," she said. "But two or three weeks ago I was told I should be there as a permanent fixture."

Asked if Lategano would continue to attend those meetings, Roche said, "If her schedule allows, she will. Sometimes she has other business."

And out in the Hamptons . . .
Meanwhile, former NYPD spokesman Miller is out in Southampton, scribbling his version of police events under Mayor Giuliani with a six-figure advance for Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books.

Many police officials are still smarting from Giuliani's and Lategano's public humiliation of him and Bratton when City Hall fired Miller's entire staff and forced him to resign, a resignation many in the NYPD feel was dictated by personal rather than policy considerations.

Miller remains close to Bratton, to Bratton's wife, Cheryl Fiandaca, and to many police officials. Those aware of what he is writing say his book will explore the inner workings of City Hall vis-a-vis the NYPD, and that it, too, will be very personal.

Twenty-four hours. Scott Hogan, 24, of Farmingdale, L.I., was one of the 1,940 people sworn in as probationary cops in the second before midnight on June 30, the last day of the past fiscal year.

Twenty-four hours later he was arrested for drunken driving and suspended from the force.

Department officials say Hogan attended a wedding on Long Island July 1, then left with his girlfriend at 2 a.m. He was in a car accident in Woodbury, L.I., in which his girlfriend suffered a broken pelvis. He suffered minor facial cuts.

The responding Nassau County police officer observed that his eyes were bloodshot and noted that he had alcohol on his breath. He was tested for alcohol and issued a summons for drunken driving. He was suspended at 8 a.m. Sunday. The results of his sobriety test were unknown at the time.

"It's a tragedy," said a police official familiar with the case. "Some guys waited four years to be appointed. I am sure his family is devastated. And he may not even have been responsible for the accident."

Nonetheless, his future with the NYPD is problematic. As a probie cop, he has no recourse to appeal any decision the NYPD makes. Said the police official: "After Washington, D.C., and Point Pleasant, New Jersey [two well-publicized incidents of recent NYPD drunkenness], the reader can assume his future with the department does not look too bright."

I.Z. and MMC
. Cops in Brooklyn's 66th Precinct may not know why in police lingo Maimonides Medical Center is referred to as "I.Z." But here's the reason.

Founded in 1911, in 1920 the center was renamed Israel Zion Hospital. It remained that way until 1947, when it was merged with another hospital and became known as Maimonides.

Now, whenever police in the Borough Park precinct hear over their radios the sentence "Does anyone know the cross streets to I.Z.?" - the precinct's code words for alerting each other that internal affairs officers are in the area - they can place it in historical context.

©1995 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.