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Quantico quagmire

September 2, 2005

For a cop to be selected for the FBI Academy's 10-week course at Quantico, Va., is an honor and a privilege.

Since 1935, when J. Edgar Hoover started the program to strengthen ties between the FBI and local law enforcement, thousands of officers from departments around the country have attended, including many from the NYPD.

That's why what happened to Lt. William Taylor is so disturbing - and embarrassing to the NYPD. Taylor, the former commanding officer of the 81st Precinct detective squad in Brooklyn and the son of the former two-star chief of the same name, was bounced from the academy last month because of alleged misconduct.

While Ed Cogswell, the FBI's Washington spokesman, cited privacy concerns, an NYPD official familiar with the case who asked for anonymity said Taylor had missed classes, had been drinking and was fraternizing with a person he shouldn't have.

"Everything he could have done wrong, he did," the official said. "Shame on him."

Apparently, the final straw came during a trip to New York this month, where, at a restaurant in Little Italy, he was overheard bad-mouthing the bureau. When he returned to Quantico, he was dismissed.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took no immediate action, prompting complaints by cops that were Taylor not a chief's son, he would have been suspended or at least transferred.

Last week, however, Kelly ordered Taylor transferred back into uniform in the 50th Precinct in the Bronx. As Taylor lives in Brooklyn, the message was clear: highway therapy.

Kelly took what appeared to be the unusual step of announcing the transfer through the department's internal e-mail, known as a "Finest Message." The message was sent at 4:16 p.m. Aug. 25, the day after Newsday called the FBI in Washington to ask about Taylor's dismissal.

Reached at the 50th Precinct, Taylor - who was described by a former top police official as a "hard worker and not a prima donna" - declined to comment. "I don't want to say anything now," he added.

Tony Garvey, who heads the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, said he assumed the time lag between Taylor's dismissal and his transfer "was used to ascertain what transpired. I would hope there is no nexis between your inquiry and the transfers. I wouldn't like to think there was any connection."

Garvey said he believed there was an Internal Affairs investigation but said Taylor had not been interviewed.

"He has yet to give his side of the story," said Garvey, who noted that a decade ago, another lieutenant was dismissed from the FBI Academy when his license plate turned up in an unrelated investigation. That lieutenant, he said, was later exonerated.

Miller remembered. John Miller's appointment to head the FBI's public information office, reporting to director William Mueller, prompted an e-mail from Lewis Kasman, who refers to himself as the adopted son of John Gotti Sr.

"Glad to hear of John's new job," Kasman wrote. "Hope he gives all the credit to John Gotti Sr. for making his career."

In a subsequent telephone conversation, Kasman explained that in Miller's salad days as a reporter for Channel 4 News, Miller followed Gotti "around to the Ravenite social club, to his home in Queens, to various restaurants and to jail."

"John Sr. had a strong affection for him," Kasman said. "He was one of the few newscasters and reporters that John cared for. John Miller was number one on his list."

Pin-pointing Kelly. So Kelly has brought Compstat into the computer age, abandoning the pin-point maps used at its onset.

Compstat, the program initiated in 1994 by Bill Bratton and his aide Jack Maple, is regarded as a major reason for the city's decade-long crime reduction.

So far as is known, Kelly has never credited Bratton, or any other NYPD executive, with anything. He has complained that Bratton took his job when Rudolph Giuliani succeeded David Dinkins, under whom Kelly served in 1992 and 1993.

Then, Kelly had embraced the crime-fighting policy known as community policing, a term neither Kelly nor anyone else mentions these days.

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© 2005 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.