"Which is worse? The wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not."— Leo Tolstoy

Friday, September 30, 2011

Former NYPD Internal Affairs Division Investigator and now Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna is an embarrassment to Commissioner Kelly and will likely be forced to retire.

My experience, after nearly twenty years of advocacy involving law-enforcement issues, is that police departments can weather a lot of criticism without having to reform bad police practices.  Their resolve starts to crumble when they are subject to widespread ridicule, humiliation and embarrassment.  It was therefore a good sign for the Occupy Wall Street protestors when The Daily Show's John Stewart devoted a lengthy 6-minute segment to commentary and a parody of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's unprovoked macings of peaceful protestors on September 24th:

Once your actions start to embarrass the Police Commissioner it's time to begin planning for your retirement. I am doubling down on my earlier prediction that Deputy Inspector Bologna will likely elect to  retire before the end of the year.

According to a profile of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna published in Community Media's Downtown Express when he assumed command of the 1st Precinct in  1005, he was once an investigator in the Internal Affairs Division:
“It was my first taste of internal investigation and it opened my eyes to the darker side of police work,” Bologna said. “You read in the papers about cops doing things that you can’t believe because you think everybody’s like you. But a department this large can’t really be completely free of it. If you don’t find anything wrong, you’re in real trouble because you’re not looking.
I'm sure the IAD Detectives who will be investigating Anthony Bologna will be taking that advice to heart.  Bologna was also quoted in the profile as saying that he didn't think he could work in the early 1970s pre-Knapp Commission NYPD.  Apparently, macing peaceful female protestors, and then leaving them to writhe in agony without medical attention, must have been considered sissy stuff in the pre-Knapp NYPD.

The profile in the Downtown Express does not paint a picture of an out of control cop but someone with a stellar record who deserves to be admired.  If his statements about police wrongdoing and not being able to work in a corrupt Department are sincere you have to ask what happened between 2005 and the now infamous video of Bologna's multiple macing of peaceful  protestors.

Something must have happened because in July 2010 the Downtown Express reported that Bologna was removed as the  commanding officer of the First Precinct and replaced with Deputy Inspector Edward J. Winski.  Deputy Inspector Bologna was assigned to "Special Projects" in the Manhattan South Borough Command.

“Change is always interesting,” Bologna told the local news website DNAinfo when the transfer was announced. “You do what they give you and you do your best. I’m looking forward to new challenges.”

Although DNAinfo made the unsourced claim that NYPD precinct commanders rarely stay as long as as Bologna did, I still get the feeling from his comnents that it wasn't a voluntary transfer, particularly since he didn't receive a promotion in rank.  "Interesting" is the kind of adjective you use when you are trying to be polite about the turd you were just served while dining at your father-in-law's restaurant.  

DNAinfo made the unsourced claim that Bologna was "well-liked" within the precinct, but "Special Projects" sounds like a duty title reserved for fup's who are coasting to retirement.  I could very well be wrong about this but Bologna, who became a police officer at the relatively old age of 27, only had one or two more years until he would qualify for a thirty year pension.  It seems odd they wouldn't let him finish out his career as commander of the 1st Precinct.

We will know that Deputy Inspector Bologna is about to be thrown to the wolves if negative information about him starts to leak to mainstream press like the Times, the News and the Post.  The likelier scenario is that he will be allowed to retire quietly. 

I met Deputy Inspector Winski last night at the 1st Precinct's monthly Community Council meeting where I expressed my dissatisfaction with NYPD's performance during the September 24th protests.  There were a lot of people in attendance, including a number of Occupy Wall Street folks who were extremely conciliatory almost to the point of being apologetic for having been arrested, beaten and maced on September 24th.  It seems non-confrontational pacifism is the name of the game for the Occupy Wall Street protestors. They are the polar opposite of a Seattle-violence style anarchist protest movement.

As I expected, I was greeted with a polite but mostly frosty reception by the Community Council, which is essentially a local chamber of commerce police department booster organization. Yet the community Council's and Neighborhood Community Board's are very politically influential and City Council staff usually attends the meetings.

More on the community counsel meeting and the machinations of the precinct's Community Affairs Detectives meeting in a few hours.
Volume 18 • Issue 5 | JUNE 24- 2, 20New captain busted pushers, gangsters and cops
Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert
First Precinct Captain Anthony Bologna went to college to become a teacher, but budget cuts led him to the police force.  
By Albert Amateau
In his 23 years with the N.Y.P.D., Captain Anthony Bologna, the new commanding officer of Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct, has been all over Manhattan and much of Brooklyn.
He’s been a SNEU (Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit) cop busting drug pushers, served in Manhattan South in an anti-drunk-driving squad, worked in the Brooklyn South Task Force in the early 1990s during the Crown Heights riot, investigated police officers involved with drug dealers in the Internal Affairs Unit, served in the Organized Crime Control Bureau, led a detective squad in Washington Heights that closed a dozen murder cases one year, and served as commanding officer of the Manhattan South Task Force just before assuming command of the First Precinct at the end of last month.
“One thing about police work in this city, it’s all about change,” he told a visitor last week. “With me there’s really been a lot of change and I love it—most of my changes have come because of promotions,” he said.  
A native and resident of Staten Island with his family (wife, two grown daughters and a son, 13), Bologna also serves in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve with a rank of chief petty officer as a “sea marshal” inspecting ships that come into New York Harbor. He earned a B.S. from John Jay College in 1990 and in June of 1998 completed the program for law enforcement professionals at the FBI National Academy.

Bologna, 51, became a policeman relatively late in life.  
“I was 27, married and owned a deli in Staten Island,” he recalled. He started at C.C.N.Y. as a 20-year-old hoping to become a teacher, but in the mid 1970s, the city was in the midst of a fiscal crisis and was laying off teachers. Bologna had worked part time in a Port Richmond, S.I., deli and decided to stay with it, eventually buying out the owner.  
“But I always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. Cops who came into the deli would encourage him to take the test, which he did in 1982, a year that the city was recovering economically. The Police Academy took 3,000 cadets that year.  
Bologna’s first assignment was in the Seventh Precinct on Pitt St. on the Lower East Side. Manhattan South Borough Command at the time was in the same building, and Bologna and a partner were assigned by the command to make D.W.I. arrests of drunk drivers. The offenses were frequent and often blatant. “Drivers would stop and ask us directions with cans of beer in their hands,” he recalled.  
Bologna next went to SNEU units in the Seventh and then the Ninth Precincts, both on Downtown’s East Side. “We’d climb up fire escapes to the roofs with binoculars for observation. It put me in the middle of the narcotics enforcement street scene,” he said. In January, 1988, he transferred to the Organized Crime Control Bureau, working again on narcotics enforcement, “at a more interesting level,” he said. 
He moved to the 76th Precinct in Brooklyn in 1989 as a sergeant and then went to Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct. His career then took him to the Brooklyn South Task Force where he was on duty during the boycott of Korean grocery stores by black activists in 1990 and the Crown Heights riots in 1992.  
“It was a rough period. Buildings burned, rocks were being thrown. I got the feeling that nothing would ever be the same again. But it took a while to see that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked,” he said.  
In Feb. 1993 he began working as an internal investigator in the Chief of Patrol’s office. “It was my first taste of internal investigation and it opened my eyes to the darker side of police work,” Bologna said. “You read in the papers about cops doing things that you can’t believe because you think everybody’s like you. But a department this large can’t really be completely free of it. If you don’t find anything wrong, you’re in real trouble because you’re not looking.”  
“I don’t think I could work in the pre-Knapp [before the Knapp Commission investigations] days in the early ‘70s,” he said. In the past, service in Internal Affairs was held in low esteem. “But it is now a career path,” Bologna observed. When officers go before promotion review boards, representatives of all divisions are present, but Internal Affairs has the first option on candidates.  
Promoted to lieutenant in 1996, he went back to the Lower East Side’s Seventh Precinct. He became a detective the next year and was appointed head of the squad in the 30th Precinct in Washington Heights, two years after the “Dirty 30” corruption scandal shook up the precinct. There were 18 homicides in 1997, all but four or five of which were solved, and 12 homicides in 1998, which were all solved, Bologna recalled.    
But his career path changed again when he passed the exam for captain and won the promotion in October, 1998 that sent him back to Manhattan South Borough Command. He became acting commanding officer in February 2000 of the command’s Task Force, the unit that responds to special situations like demonstrations and received the full appointment in May the following year.
On May 30, 2005, Bologna was name C.O. of the First Precinct. “Getting the command of a precinct is the real test of a career officer,” said Bologna, “It’s a big responsibility and doesn’t leave me much time to do things like scuba diving, but I love it.” 

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