NYPD Tapes Scandal A "Giant Oil Spill" Ray Kelly Can't Contain, Criminologists Say

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Two criminal justice professors weighed in today with their take on the NYPD's decision to appoint a deputy inspector to reinvestigate the Adrian Schoolcraft allegations.

John Eterno and Eli Silverman, who are writing a book about the PD's Compstat system, say Commissioner Ray Kelly just isn't doing enough to address the range of problems reported by Schoolcraft and other current and former officers. After 9 months of revelations about these issues, there's a mass of evidence of wider downgrading of crime reports, they say.

"Clearly, a deputy inspector is not senior enough in the department to handle something that might be a very large scale type of thing," said Eterno, of Molloy College.

"It's damage control," said Silverman, of John Jay College. "This is a giant oil spill which they think they can contain in one area. Their area is in one precinct. It's like British Petroleum saying it's not that bad."

Kelly transferred the 81st Precinct commander Steve Mauriello and charged him, two sergeants and two police officers with manipulating two crime reports. But Eterno and Silverman say the misconduct in the 81st Precinct is happening in other precincts around the city.

"In my view, they're using Mauriello as a scapegoat," Eterno says. "They haven't even brought up some of the things on the tapes that are far more serious: officers being told not to take robbery reports, calling victims over and over again, call backs being made by supervisors, not taking a report if they don't think the district attorney will prosecute."

Meanwhile, we just want to note for the record a couple of comments by cops Wednesday on Brian Lehrer's morning radio show on WNYC.

One of them, a retired detective, said the reports of downgrading of crimes, "obviously has struck a nerve, and there is some validity to that. and it does need to be addressed."

"There is a tremendous amount of pressure to do that," he added. "Compstat is the best thing that happened to the NYPD. But the downside is it creates a kingdom and people who sit there at the top of the throne are looking down and they put this pressure on you."

The second caller, a police officer of unknown rank, told Lehrer, "Mauriello is being sucked in so they have a scapegoat. That's what's going on. I think they should do a real investigation."

Through his union president, Roy Richter of the Captains Endowment Association, Mauriello has denied the charges and said he feels that the department he served for 20 years has abandoned him.

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