May 1, 2014

NYPD Shooting Trifecta

The NY Post has reported on a recent series of unusually stupid, alcohol-fueled moments that resulted in gun fire by and criminal charges against three NYPD officers. Perhaps it's time to invest a little more funding and care in the employee hiring and monitoring processes.

On April 24, while on duty, 75 Precinct detectives Jay Poggi and his partner, Matt Sullivan, told their supervisors they were heading out to do some detecting. Instead, they drove out of Brooklyn and over to the Cross Bay Diner in Queens to do some drinking. Loaded up, they returned to their car, where a drunken Poggi pulled out an old revolver to show his colleague. Naturally, the gun discharged and Sullivan was shot in the wrist. Poggi then drunkenly drove Sullivan to the hospital, where he underwent surgery, while Poggi blew a .113 on the breathalyzer. He was arrested and charged. Poggi's series of poor decisions are mind boggling, particularly given his 31 years of apparently exemplary service. (Post)

On April 29, off-duty P.O. Brendan Cronin, having spent some time at the NYPD firing range, went drinking in Pelham, Westchester. Boozed up, Cronin drove off in his car. After pulling up next to another car at a red light, Cronin, for reasons unknown, pulled out his gun and fired 13 shots into the other car, striking the driver six times. Luckily, the victim survived. There are no known reasons (other than Cronin's complete inebriation) for the shooting. Cronin was arrested and is facing charges. (Post)

On April 30, in New Jersey, a drunken Sgt. Wanda Anthony, returning with her date to her date's home, encountered her date's wife, who was not pleased to see her husband enjoying his evening out with Sgt. Anthony. The wife yelled at Anthony, who handled the situation with all due courtesy, professionalism, and respect, by shooting the wife's car several times. She too was arrested. (Post)

The common threads are, obviously, alcohol and guns. Individually, when employed excessively or with poor judgment, they are potentially problematic. Together, they make a lethal cocktail. Not surprisingly, Commissioner Bratton has said, “We’re very concerned with a number of reports . . . that are part of a longer-term problem of inappropriate use of alcohol by members of our department.” The introduction of NYPD support and monitoring programs for its officers appears imminent.

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