Talk about a cushy assignment!
It would appear that the NYPD has agreed to send gang intelligence investigators to the lavish resort island of Bermuda to help out the cops there.
Who arranged this posh retreat? Why, according to Bermuda’s paper of record, it was Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself who offered the NYPD’s assistance.
We are being impertinent to note that Bloomberg happens to have a $10.5 million vacation home on the island. The mansion has a 500-square-foot bedroom, a “vanishing horizon pool,” ocean views, and a living room so posh that “you wouldn’t want to come through those doors in a swimsuit,” the New York Observer once wrote.
So, let’s get this straight: the billionaire mayor in the midst of a budget crisis, with a shrinking police force, has decided to loan experienced police investigators to a resort island where he owns a mansion. Sure, crime is down, but this is ridiculous!
[We’ve heard from Ray Kelly’s office. See the update below.]
Well, at least according to Bermuda’s police commissioner Michael DeSilva, there’s a legitimate reason for it: the island has had a gang violence problem that has been blamed for five recent murders. Moreover, British officers and FBI agents are also in on the plan. Of course, New York City is not without its own gang problem.
The NYPD, a domestic law enforcement organization, has no jurisdiction in Bermuda. But, why should that stop them? After all, this isn’t the first time the department has sent officers roaming outside the five boros.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, using private donations, has sent detectives overseas to monitor terrorism — a move that has been questioned as necessary in some quarters.
The plan also recalls other NYPD adventures outside of its own jurisdiction, as catalogued by Leonard Levitt, who writes an Internet column called NYPD Confidential.com.
There was the time that Kelly sent anti-terror cops to Carlisle, Penn. to look into a report of stolen explosives. When they reached the crime scene, federal and local officials told them to go home.
There was the time that Kelly sent cops to Boston to sneak into a meeting of a protest group, the Black Tea Society. On the way home, they were stopped and nearly arrested for speeding after failing initially to identify themselves.
That Boston trip along with other NYPD surveillance trips across the U.S. and Canada in advance of the 2004 Republican National Convention is part of an ongoing court fight between the NYPD and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
There was the time Kelly had anti-terror detectives make suspicious calls to New Jersey dive shops to test whether they would call law enforcement authorities. New Jersey officials found out about it, and told the NYPD to stop it.
And who could forget the time that ex-police commissioner Bernard Kerik sent detectives to investigate his mother’s past for his best-selling book, for which he had to reimburse the city.
UPDATE: We heard from Kelly’s spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, via a statement issued by the mayor’s press office.
Browne says a deputy chief talked by phone with Bermuda police officials last month regarding anti-gang strategies. But, Browne adds, “No offer was made or agreed upon to send NYPD personnel to Bermuda, however.”
Hmmm. Tell that to Lt. Col. David Burch, Bermuda’s Minister of Labor, Home Affairs and Housing. In a press statement yesterday, he said, “Government has accepted the offer from the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, of assistance of officers from the NYC Police Department Gang Unit.”
Seems pretty clear cut to us.