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Monday, February 27, 2012

Police Corruption Panel to Add Four Attorneys

Police Corruption Panel to Add Four Attorneys
The New York Law Journal by Laura Haring - January 17, 2012

Four additional full-time attorneys will be hired by the Commission to Combat Police Corruption following Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Jan. 12 State of the City address. "We don't tolerate misconduct or corruption anywhere, and we have the very highest standards for those we entrust to enforce the law," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Our police force is the best in the world. And Commissioner [Raymond] Kelly has done an outstanding job making sure that New York's Finest are also the most upstanding." The commission, which is independent of the NYPD, reviews more than 100 open and closed cases from the department's Internal Affairs Bureau each year. Budget cuts have reduced the number of staff attorneys to two from six when the commission was created in 1995. Michael F. Armstrong, a partner at Lankler & Carragher who chairs the agency, said the additional staff will allow the commission to look into bigger corruption cases, including officers making false statements on official reports. "We will be able to fulfill to a greater degree the role that was envisioned when we were set up," he said There has been a string of high-profile police corruption cases in the last year, including allegations of widespread ticket fixing in the Bronx and reports that officers in Brooklyn had accepted bribes to bring unlawful firearms into the city. However, Mr. Armstrong, the former counsel of the Knapp Commission in the 1970s, said he does not believe there has been breakdown of the corruption control system. "You're never going to eliminate corruption in the police department," he said. "The question is how extensive is it and do you have the proper systems in place for keeping it to a minimum and the indications are that Commissioner Kelly runs a tight ship and Internal Affairs Bureau is efficient."

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