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New fighter of corruption

July 15, 1996

He bares no resemblance to the legendary John Guido, who headed the Internal Affairs Division for 15 years after the Knapp Commission revealed systemic corruption throughout the NYPD.

Nor does he resemble the princely Walter Mack, the ex-federal prosecutor who headed the office after the Mollen Commission revealed endemic low-level corruption in the 30th Precinct.

Rather, Charles Campisi, the NYPD's newly announced head of Internal Affairs, suggests a low-keyed, anonymous approach to fighting corruption under Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

Although the Mollen Commission recommended an outside prosecutor with subpoena power to investigate police corruption, Safir's patron, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, rejected it for a mayoral commission with no power whatsoever. Earlier this year when its chairman, ex-prosecutor Nicholas Scopetta, became the head of the Child Welfare Administration, the commision was placed in the hands of someone named Richard Davis.

Deputy Chief Campisi was the Number Two man under his predecessor at Internal Affairs, Patrick Kelleher. He headed the office's Support Systems, which included everything except conducting main investigations. Kelleher's main man, who conducted those investigations, was Assistant Chief Gene Devlin, recently appointed Staten Island borough commander.

"Gene was a kick-ass guy and Charlie, who's smart as hell, is more of an academician," said a police source. "In this job you have to be a tiger. You fight with everyone. You even have to be prepared to fight with your bosses. It's a nasty job."

Campisi was brought into the revamped Internal Affairs Bureau under former commissioner Raymond Kelly three years ago after the Mollen Commission - echoing earlier reports in this newspaper - revealed how the old IAD had collapsed under Kelly's predecessor Lee Brown three years after Guido retired, precisely as Guido had predicted it would. (Guido's only mistake was in thinking it would take five years for IAD to collapse.)

Campisi says he believes "99.4 percent of NYPD cops are honest and hardworking. I see IAB as searchers of the truth," he said in an interview last week. "You have to protect the honest hardworking cops, who the city owes a great debt to.

"I have to be extremely objective, open-minded, to make sure I have the all the facts before I make decisions," Campisi says, explaining that he came to think this way after hearing reports of alleged corruption around the city and discovered the cases were not as serious as he had been led to believe. "At first blush it looked like major corruption. It wasn't.

"I'm basically a quiet type of person who never dreamed I would get to this position. I don't look for publicity. I go about my job as best I can. I hope I can live up to the expectations of the mayor and the police commissioner."

Printable versionThe Director. Lenny Alcivar, the 24-year-old whiz kid from the mayor's press office who was dispatched to One Police Plaza to either assist or spy on Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Marilyn Mode, has received a $16,000 pay raise to $49,764 - $6,172 more than a five-year cop's base pay.

Alcivar was also, according to department order 219, designated, "Director, Press Operations" (whatever that means.)

The savvy Alcivar, who is 24 going on 44 and from all accounts doing a first-rate job, is an example of how to succeed without a college degree. He attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, on scholarship from 1990 to 1991 but left because, he says, he flunked out. He re-entered a year later, again on scholarship, but flunked out in 1994.

Meanwhile, in June, 1993, while living with his mom in West New York, N.J., he joined the Giuliani mayoral campaign. In September, two months before the election, he crossed the Hudson to register as a Republican, according to Board of Elections records, using the address, 36 W. 89th St.

But the savvy Alcivar stopped short of committing voter fraud, by not voting from an address at which he says he never resided. He now says he has "no recollection" of the address 36 W. 89th St.

The Pup. Chief Charles Reuther sported a shiner under his left eye last week as he reported to his new job at the Criminal Justice Bureau. Asked what caused it, he said (jokingly, it appeared), "You should have seen Louie."

"Louie," of course, is Chief of Department Louis Anemone, the man responsible for Reuther's banishment to the CJB from Chief of Detectives. As usual, the department's dark prince wasn't talking.

Though pressed about his shiner's origins, the 6-foot-tall, 200-pound Reuther, who at age 61 is apparently as frisky as a pup, wasn't giving up any details.

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© 1996 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.