One Police Plaza

Former IAB chief rips Rudy’s panel

August 26, 1997

John Guido, the legendary former chief of the NYPD's Internal Affairs Division, was so outraged by the events in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct that he called this reporter to say Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's newly formed 28-member community-relations task force was "a whitewash."

Guido, who has done as much as any man in the department's history to rid it of systemic and organized corruption, said the reason is that it does not include the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Guido, who headed the division following the Knapp Commission corruption scandal of the early 1970s until his retirement 15 years later, says cops will always resist the recommendations of an outside agency such as Giuliani's, which was formed in the wake of the Abner Louima incident.

"An outside committee means nothing to cops," Guido said. "It's a ripoff of the taxpayers. The key to change is somehow to get the PBA involved, to reach its leadership and tell them, You guys, this is your police force,' which it is. Having a committee with no PBA representation is like making a lamb stew without the lamb.

"The entire NYPD culture has to change," Guido continued. "The PBA has got to come out and say, Brutal cops are hurting us.' Right now, they have Internal Affairs guys lecturing at the police academy and the cops don't accept them.

"You can lecture a cop in the Academy for five years, ten hours a day, but the minute he steps into a radio car and he meets his partner, who has all these ribbons and commendations and he says Hey, kid, forget that --- in the Academy, here is what real life is all about.' That is what the kid goes for.

"Instead, what they should have are PBA delegates right there at the Academy. They can get the message across to the new cops. They can say, You have got to report misconduct and corruption.' They, the delegates, are the only ones who can clean this up. And the only way to solve it is when the PBA president gets out there in front and announces, I am committed to eliminating corruption.'

"I once told this to former PBA president Phil Caruso," Guido said. "I said, The delegates have to get the message across to turn in bad cops.' Caruso said, Let me think about it.' But I never heard from him about it again."

(PBA president Lou Matarazzo said Friday the PBA would be "honored" to serve on Giuliani's committee, and he added that delegates and board members regularly appear at the police academy and at borough commands, instructing recruits to be "more sensitive to the community.")

"Contrast the culture of the NYPD to that of our national military academies," Guido said. "In the military academies, it's the cadets who turn in other guys. Somehow, they developed their culture in the right way. The police department never did that. Until its culture is broken, it's never going to change. And the culture within the NYPD and the PBA is, We are only guys who are preserving democracy,' that it is us against the rest of the world.' "

©1997 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.