People in The ‘Burgh, and some on the Council, are calling for a return of the Street Crime Unit. So I say give it to them.
Police Chief John Tedesco, instead, said he will suspend all training and put 20 more cops on the streets. I’m pretty sure the “suspend all training” is directed at the Emergency Response Team, a SWAT like unit sporadically used in drug raids and the like, but be that as it may. Twenty more cops on the street can’t do anything but good.
As for the SCU, just reinstating the unit doesn’t mean it will be as successful as it was in 2007 when it first kicked off in Troy.
It takes a special kind of cop to make it work. One with enough guts to go nose-to-nose with thugs on their level, and to be tough enough to win if it comes down to fisticuffs. It doesn’t mean taking cheap shots if the bad guys are already restrained or are in lockup, and it doesn’t mean just beating random drunken RPI students or citizens for that matter. Some cops are already in trouble for things like that.
“You have to out-thug the thug,” said former Sgt. Dave Dean, who headed up the SCU seven years or so ago.
On the flip side it takes a cop willing to get to know people. Not just the good guys, who can help out in obvious ways, but the bad guys too. The bad guys know more about other bad guys than the good guys and the cops combined. However, you can’t get so close to the bad guys that you forget what team you’re on. There is a fine line between a good SCU cop and a criminal but it is clearly defined. One cop is already in trouble for crossing the line.
In other words, you want a cross between Wyatt Earp and Oprah Winfrey.
Dean and then Deputy Mayor Dan Crawley knew that dynamic and to get the right kind of cop they first had to work around the Police Benevolent Association’s iron clad clause of bidding jobs based on seniority. To accomplish that, they made the job the least desirable on the force. The shift was 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., days off were Tuesday and Sunday, for example, and there wasn’t any authorized overtime. There was some overtime spent on backfilling the positions the six guys left to join the SCU but they got very little for working the detail.
“We wanted guy who were smart and tough … but also hungry,” Dean said. They are few and far between and it's a heavy lift, given the PBA contract, to get them in the unit which is probably why Tedesco is reluctant to reinstate the SCU. It could cause more problems than it's worth if it's not done right.
The six guys who signed up, I’m sure, were recruited by Dean and I’m sure he promised them it would be a good time and they’d be able to do the very things that drew them to police work in the first place – chase down and arrest bad guys.
And they did. A lot of them.
From May to August of 2008, they made more than 300 arrests in the crime plagued North Central neighborhood – 100 in the first month alone. They arrested people for anything and everything. From smoking a joint on the porch – which happened to be the SCU’s first bust – to open container, to excessive noise to littering. No crime was too small, and they often led to bigger busts. The SCU made 20 felony arrests in the first month.
They were pretty much left to their own devices too. One night they would hide in bushes and wait for the chance to pounce. Other nights they walk around and talk to people – good guys and bad guys. Other nights they would just march around the neighborhood in body armor and armed to the teeth daring anyone to bring it on.
Metroland did a good piece on the SCU in August of 2008.
And the SCU did a pretty good job of cleaning up North Central. In March of 2008, seven months after the SCU took over the neighborhood, there wasn’t one robbery or violent crime in North Central. And there wasn’t a shooting in that neighborhood for nearly a year. A year after its inception, though, the PBA contract got in the way, other cops saw the headlines and the fun the SCU was having and the wrong guys ended up on the unit. It just wasn't the same.
Unheard of statistics in North Central, and proof the SCU can work – at least in the short term. But many of the people targeted by the SCU are so transient they just picked up and left. We are seeing that now, with the recent crime outbreak in The ‘Burgh. I dare say that the SCU just chased the bad guys a few blocks north. Or maybe to Cohoes or Albany or Schenectady.
Crime is a byproduct of so many different things that a unit of six officers, regardless of how good or how tough or how well trained, will just not make that much of a difference in the long term. Poverty, drug abuse, broken homes … there is a laundry list of societal ills that contribute to the crime problem in this country.
Of course, it’s still the individual’s choice and they are held individually responsible for their actions. But no individual is an island. The better society is prepared for the individual the better the individual will be. Conversely, the better each individual is the better society will be.
What came first … the chicken or the egg?
I guess steps like this prove Harry and Danny were right on the way they ran things.ReplyDelete
Name one thing Harry did for the Burgh. One. He abandoned it. When Kaiser was running the dept. it ran well. Tedesco tried to fix something that wasn't broken. That unit was a necessity & his decision to disband it has been proven to be the wrong choice. Thanks Harry and Dan.Delete
Harry did nothing for the burgh but try to derail the Stoneledge project which brings millions of dollars to the city, because it was Kevin McGrath's project and he coldn't stand him getting credit when do. Harry and his cohorts Crawley and Jim Gordon were willing to tank a project that lowered Troy taxes, just for political reasons. Keep these idiots out of office.Delete
Kevin it must hurt your fingers having to defend yourself all by yourself. I'm sure the in laws are not doing it anymore and all the friends you screwed over are all gone. Please Kevin and I mean please run again. It will be so great to watch the republicans and the democrats kick the shit out of you and all the people that tell you you should run they will never vote for you. You don't have the balls to run against Jim Gordon for 2 reasons 1 he will beat you 2 you could never live with that loss. So you can pipe up and throw your chest out all you want but the people that know you and know the Burgh voters know you are UNELECTABLE and everyone knows your going to pull a hammy again that it's your job or your dog is sick or I'm going to be a profesional bouncer but you won't run. You know you can't win and your to big a pussy to run. Just go away you lying felon.Delete
I'd vote for him.Delete
I doubt he cares what the 3 of you think.Delete
@- 10:08 Yes he does, if he didn't he wouldn't be trying to discredit. The Lying Action Hero aka Felon needs to get over himself---Maybe Blondie will help lick his wounds.Delete
did your secretary write that Jim?Delete
Smell the glove.ReplyDelete
With Crawley and Dean Troy Housing projects are safer than the rest of Troy.ReplyDelete
Harry and Danny ? How about the "Crash Unit" ? House, Wright, Dean, Schoonmaker, Anderson..........those guys didn't play around. They had the thugs on the ropes, getting yanked off the streets so fast they all got whiplash.ReplyDelete
Nothing like today's bunch of police officers, that's for sure.
Maybe the old timers should come out of retirement.
The "Crash Unit" was made up of dirty cops some you named above. Fortunately they retired but there's still one or two hanging around. Wright?Delete
Harry and Dan were the best thing to happen to Troy !~~! Creators of SCU, architects of Troy's special events, geniuses behind real economic development, managers of balanced budgets, and never been investigated by the feds. Their groundwork is the only reason the city is still hanging on. Hopefully it won't derail before they come back in 2 years !~~!~~!~~!~~!~~!ReplyDelete
what a fuckin nightmare that will be. fat men in little suits all over again.Delete
Let the lawsuits beginDelete
Geniuses? Harry and Dan? Thanks, Naz.Delete
It's 2 more years until the next election? We are screwedReplyDelete
One more year and yep we are screwed.Delete
Crack Pipes GaloreReplyDelete
Surprised the Hells Angels are tolerating everything going on, shootings, killings, etc. Especially being so close to home. Then again, the laws get in the way.ReplyDelete