Frank Serpico, the New York police officer who testified in 1971 at Knapp

Commission investigating corruption in the NYPD, resurrects his decades old

criticism of NYPD by saying that " we need good role models, and they have to start

at the top." Twenty six years after Knapp Commission, Serpico told a city council

hearing on police misconduct that most of the problems in NYPD lay with the

leadership of the NYPD. While most aspects of policing in New York has changed, the

existence of corruption has remained unchanged. The Mollen commission report in

1993, included testimony of corrupt police officers about their involvement with illegal

drug trafficking, brutality, and other crimes with other police officers. The Mollen

Commission's main recommendation was for the creation of a permanent outside

watchdog body with legal body to oversee NYPD's Internal Affairs Division and even

launch independent investigations. However, mayor Giuliani and police commissioner

Bratton are oppose to the plan, and refuse to give up authority to outsiders. Mollen stated

that, " what we did find shocking was a total ineptitude of police fighting corruption, they

are superb in fighting crime-except among themselves." Corruption is the product of

individual police officer and police environment, and its control must mainly should

come from the department.

Any number of elements or combination of things can influence the behavior of an

organization. Within the police department ; the organizational hierarchy , the police

culture, and the interaction with the public influence the level of corruption and brutality

in the community, and as long as the NYPD and the city of New York refuse to look into

the leadership of the department and the role it plays in ignoring and in many ways

encouraging misconduct by the individual officer. Michael Armstrong, who was the

chief council to the Knapp Commission, stated after the Mollen findings that, " the cops
who were engaged in corruption 20 years ago took money to cover up the activity of

others… now it has gone with competition with street criminals." Police Sergeant Jose

Trimboli a department investigator, told the Mollen Commission that when tried to root

out Michael Dowd and others, his efforts were blocked by the higher-ups in the

department. At one point, he was called by management and told that he was under

suspicion as a drug dealer. In addition the police union in New York has put its main

resources on protecting it's rank and file and concern themselves it with defending the of

the corrupt officers.

To the credit of New City police department, the upper management has made some

major changes in their handling of corruption. In 1993 the Internal Affairs Bureau was

constructed to perform only the function of police corruption and serious police officer

misconduct. Every important case goes through a review at least once every six weeks by

the IAB steering committee, comprised of top IAB managers, group commanders from

every district, and commanders of specialized units. Precinct commanders will be

informed of on-going investigations in their precinct and asked for their assistance in

performing integrity test and surveillance. IAB also have regular liaison with precinct

integrity officers who can be another source of information or assistance. The PRIDE

(Programmable Retrievable Data Entry), which was put in use in 1995, allows police

investigators to enter information and built data bases of officers accused of corruption,

complete history of officer's background, and link other IAB cases investigated by other

departments or investigators. It can also access additional data bases both within and

outside the department. In 1995 the department needed to replace supervisors lost

through attrition. The department choice 80 sergeants and 57 lieutenants from over 340

candidates. Promotions will occur on a regular basis until each precinct coverage 24

hours a day, seven days a week. Promotional training for sergeants now takes place

before promotion, not afterward. Also, the final examination is now an in-depth

assessment of leadership knowledge and supervisory skills. Failure for a second time

results in the officer not being promoted. In addition, sergeant candidates must have

been on patrol for a minimum of three years before being selected from the civil service

list. The minimum age requirement to enter the police academy has changed from 20 to

22, and recruitment now takes place at a number of colleges in New York. The minimum

education has increased, and background information are now completed before police

candidates enter the academy. Automatic disqualification have now