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Memo reveals Safir’s who’s who

March 17, 1997

In Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's police department, where information is as closely guarded as it was in the Soviet Politburo, a news release last week from ailing Commissioner Howard Safir provides a glimpse into who's in favor and who is not.

The release, from Safir's spokeswoman Marilyn Mode, said that Safir's wife "asked several members of his staff to drop by briefly Monday morning" to visit Safir at New York University Hospital while he recovered from heart surgery.

Mode said those favored with invitations included herself, Acting Police Commissioner Tosano Simonetti, Chief of Department Louis Anemone, First Deputy designee Patrick Kelleher and Chief of Staff Richard Sheirer, known as "Bumper" for his girth and agility in running interference to keep people from Safir.

Those not invited included the remainder of Safir's executive staff - consisting of the eight bureau chiefs and 11 deputy commissioners - none of whom were informed at the March 7, 3 p.m. executive staff meeting that their commander and chief was then undergoing double-bypass surgery.

Instead, the remaining bureau chiefs learned of the surgery three hours later when Simonetti summoned them to an emergency meeting in Safir's conference room. There, the chiefs were informed of the surgery because, they were told, "the media already has it."

Someone - whose identity remains unknown (Anemone denies he did it and Mode denies it even occurred) - was apparently so pumped up by the news that he mobilized the Manhattan South Task Force of about 40 cops to rush to the hospital and intercept the media. But finding no media there, the borough adjutant dismissed the task force.

Classic COMPSTAT? Commissioner Safir was apparently so impressed seeing himself on national television when he accepted an "Innovations in Government Award" in Washington, D.C., for the department's COMPSTAT crime strategy sessions that the department is sponsoring a three-day COMPSTAT seminar in May for the public - at $385 a head.

Leaving aside the propriety of a governmental agency charging the public for watching it do its job, the NYPD has magnanimously invited police departments from around the country and the world to the seminar. And, says Pam Delaney, executive director of the Police Foundation, which is putting the program together, "The response has been terrific."

Delaney said she did not know whether local reporters - who are barred from COMPSTAT meetings because the department views them as too critical - would be permitted to attend, even if they paid.

Printable versionThe program brochure's cover features Safir and Mayor Giuliani, while ignoring both ex-commissioner William Bratton, under whose aegis COMPSTAT was begun, and its creator Jack Maple, currently propounding COMPSTAT techniques to the troubled New Orleans Police Department. But that's just tit-for-tat. Last month a New Yorker magazine forum, celebrating its "Crime and Punishment" issue, featured Bratton and Maple but ignored both Safir and Giuliani.

Also featured on the COMPSTAT panel is the department's dark prince, Chief Anemone, who with Maple proved an unforgiving interlocutor of NYPD commanders. It could not be immediately determined whether the seminiar would include such classic COMPSTAT moments as Anemone's ordering a Bronx inspector from the 8th-floor command center, whereupon the inspector retaliated by attempting to throw a chair at him.

Nor could it be learned whether the department planned to show a film clip of Acting Commissioner Simonetti attempting to explain away crime in his former Brooklyn Borough South command, while unknown to him, Anemone and Maple flashed on the screen behind him a picture of Pinocchio.

Get Charlie. Poor Charlie Luisi, the deputy inspector who slipped into retirement, preserving his pension, while the Internal Affairs Bureau slept through its investigation of him for accepting thousands of dollars in freebies from Michael Zerin, a professional gun dealer. Luisi also gained medical approval for a lucrative line-of-duty disability injury, supposedly sustained when he slipped while cleaning ice off a department car at the Bronx pistol range last March 4. The only thing preventing him from receiving three-quarters of his inspector's salary - about $50,000, tax-free - was the normally rubber-stamped approval of the police pension board.

But IAB investigators have discovered new evidence. They claim that Luisi worked a 10-6 tour the day of his injury but that the accident occurred at 9:30 a.m. - 30 minutes before his tour began. Luisi will present sworn affidavits, telephone logs, hospital records and witness statements refuting this at the board's next meeting.

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© 1997 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.