One Police Plaza

When a Legend Leaves the Job

April 28, 2003

Insp. Arty Storch's retirement dinner was celebrated with no official Police Department recognition or acknowledgment.

His was a modest affair, with three ex-chiefs on the dais and scores of undercovers who had worked for him in the narcotics division in the crowd.

Storch had been valedictorian of the class of 1979, a remarkable cadre that because of the 1970s fiscal crisis was the department's first in years. Many, like Storch, had advanced degrees and varied job experience. Many, like Storch, were service-oriented.

As Storch put it in his farewell speech: "This is the best job in the world. We get paid to help people."

Besides his narcotics work - he was the citywide coordinator of the investigation into the Latin Kings - Storch may be best remembered for the tenacity with which he defended his people at the meetings held to discuss the crime statistics program known as COMPSTAT. His bravery was legendary. He never bent to COMPSTAT's fearsome Torquemada, Chief of Department Louis Anemone.

To Queens' Guyanese community, he will be remembered as the captain of the 106th Precinct who stopped the beatings of their children at Junior High School 226. When school officials refused to help, Storch directed the arrest of 70 students for muggings and robberies, acts the school's principal had never reported to authorities. Although this occurred in 1995, Chan Jamoona, a Guyanese community leader, did not forget and attended his dinner.

Despite those successes, Storch's career was abbreviated in part by some bad luck, in part by departmental politics that he never mastered.

First, there was a sexual harassment suit brought by Lt. Bobby Brown and his wife Michelle Jarman-Brown against his narcotics unit. A jury dismissed it but it caused a rift with Brown's boss, then-Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters George Grasso, also a 1979 graduate.

The rift was exacerbated when Storch tried to help Capt. Tim Donovan, whose boss, Deputy Commissioner Sandra Marsh, had been forced to retire after refusing former commissioner Howard Safir's order to rewrite her report critical of two chiefs. Grasso had been Marsh's prime pursuer. The city subsequently paid her $1 million after she sued in federal court.

Donovan, the commanding officer of Marsh's office, became persona non grata. As former chief Aaron Rosenthal wrote in a report, there was a taint on him because of the Marsh incident. The city subsequently paid him $500,000 after he, too, sued.

©2003 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.