JOINT LEGISLATIVE FISCAL COMMITTEE HEARING
9 FEBRUARY 2011
STATEMENT OF TERRY O’NEILL,
THE CONSTANTINE INSTITUTE, INC.
The Constantine Institute, Inc. has been organized to promote the highest constitutional, legal, ethical and professional
standards in law enforcement, to encourage innovation in public safety strategy, tactics, training and education and to foster
a seamless continuum of cooperation, support and mutual respect among public safety agencies and organizations.
We offer these comments
in reaction to the governor’s Public Protection Budget proposal and make some suggestions of our own for the Legislature
concept of community policing has been widely known for nearly three decades. It is based on a police agency’s building
and working in partnership with community stakeholders to identify and solve problems that degrade quality of life and create
an environment in which crime thrives. It has never been systematically promoted by the state of New York. Governor Cuomo’s
budget proposal offers nothing to suggest that he will change that.
epidemic of drug-fueled violence that took hold in the 1980s resulted in the lion’s share of public safety resources
being invested in prison capacity during the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo. The Pataki years saw the emergence
of Operation IMPACT, the state’s primary local assistance program for law enforcement derived from the widely influential,
statistics-driven, technology-based policing made popular under the administration of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
under the name CompStat in the mid-1990s.
The popularity of
Giuliani-style enforcement nationwide has effectively driven police agencies apart from the communities they serve and stymied
the growth of the community policing movement. It has also, as research published this past year by Dr. Eli Silverman and
Dr. John Eterno has indicated, resulted in downgrading of felonies and discouraging victims to file complaints by commanders
who are under relentless pressure to report steadily declining rates of crime.
Leading figures in contemporary policing are saying loudly and clearly that police/community partnership has become
attenuated. Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealafeld, III has observed that we have turned police cars into rolling
high-tech offices. Now, officers won’t get out of the “office” and interact with the public. Bernard Melekian,
Director of the US Justice Department's COPS program has noted that while the numbers show that cities have grown safer, opinion
polls confirm that Americans still fear crime.
In Albany, recent
years have seen an extraordinary community discussion on the direction we want our police department to take. This was catalyzed
by a number of tragic homicides involving victims and perpetrators of a very young age. These kids are not statistics. In
a small city like ours, they have names. The kids in our neighborhoods and schools know them. For nearly four years, however,
we had a chief of police who was addicted to the flashy technology we got through Operation IMPACT, created a “strike
force” and responded to expressions of public dissatisfaction with the department’s service and performance by
citing statistics from DCJS indicating a decline in reported crime.
This past year, Albany went through a very public process of searching for and selecting a new police chief. The
people had the opportunity to tell the search committee empanelled by the mayor what kind of chief they wanted. At the same
time, the interim team managing the Albany Police Department worked closely with the Common Council to develop a framework
for designing and implementing a community policing plan. That plan is now in place. It has as its most visible component
the establishment of Neighborhood Engagement Units that have divided the city into police beats with permanently assigned
officers who have a community policing mandate.
I have the honor
of having been appointed recently to the Buffalo Police Department Reorganization Commission which has a mandate to review
the organization and geographic deployment of the department and to develop a plan for the implementation of community policing.
If the state’s Capital and its second largest city are taking the lead on community policing at last, it’s high
time that the state’s program of local assistance to law enforcement administered through DCJS get on the bandwagon.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION CRIME PREVENTION ACT
is a moribund statutory framework in New York to promote a type of community-based problem-solving that focuses on neighborhood
preservation and renewal. It is the Neighborhood Preservation Crime Prevention Act (NPCPA) (Chapter 55, Laws of 1983). It
was intended to promote the creation of an infrastructure of community-based nonprofits that would partner with local police
and other municipal agencies to preserve and renew neighborhoods and thereby reduce crime. DCJS was charged with administering
the NPCPA and tasked with awarding small grants and providing technical assistance to the nonprofits encouraged by the program.
This forward-looking legislation, which Albany County District
Attorney David Soares has called “one of the most brilliant pieces of legislation ever drafted, empowering neighborhoods
and empowering people,” was never implemented. In fact, early in the Cuomo administration, DCJS’ entire community
crime prevention program was abruptly terminated. But neighborhood deterioration, specifically the abandoned building problem,
continues to be a major criminogenic problem in all of our in all of our cities. We should, if not activate the NPCPA, at
least come up with a program that fully integrates neighborhood preservation into our overall crime-fighting strategy.
PRISON INMATE RE-ENTRY
Between 1983 and 1994, the population
of the state prison system exploded from 17,000 to 71,000 at its peak. Today, the Department of Correctional Services releases
almost as many individuals in a year as were in prison in 1983. Very slowly has our system moved to put in place the network
of community resources that are needed to ensure that these people make a successful transition back to the community. Since
former President George Bush proposed and Congress passed the Second Chance Act, there has been positive development in this
direction. In New York, DCJS has administered funding to support prisoner re-entry task forces in a number of the state’s
counties. President Obama has just empanelled a Cabinet-level re-entry task force to co-ordinate programs of a range of federal
agencies in support of state and local re-entry efforts.
years ago, I worked with Albany County District Attorney David Soares on an effort to integrate an inmate re-entry program
into the county’s total public safety strategy. In Albany County, there are some 600 persons under parole supervision
at any given time. The problem of caseload overburdening of parole officers leading to lax supervision of parolees is well
known. The rate of recidivism of ex-convicts can rise to two-thirds in many places. These facts cannot be responsibly ignored
by any subdivision’s public safety authorities.
course of developing a proposal for Mr. Soares, I learned that there are many organizations in the community that collectively
offer a full range of services that transitioning inmates need. It has become increasingly accepted that generic transition
programs are not the most effective. Each returning inmate has different needs. Each is most effectively served by a program
individually tailored to meet those needs. It is in our interest to have available the widest array of options out of which
to fashion individual reentry programs. To date, the established providers have not been coordinated, they have competed against
one another for resources and clients and some large providers have monopolized the field. The county re-entry task forces
have begun the process of cataloging and coordinating services. But we think we could do something more.
That something is represented by a program in Albany called Lydia’s House,
Inc. Several years ago, Tamika Williams, an Albany woman who had done time in state prison, incorporated a nonprofit to own
a house offering temporary housing and assistance in accessing transition services to up to six women returning to the community
from prison. A small, intimate and most importantly, community-based program. We strongly support this kind of program. For
decades now, our distressed and mostly minority neighborhoods have produced most of our prison population. These neighborhoods,
which, outside of New York City, are very often Operation IMPACT zones, are where most individuals under parole supervision
cluster. They are also the neighborhoods where lie much of the abandoned housing stock in our cities. Lydia’s House
is an example of neighbors helping neighbors. In this instance, ex-offenders are being housed and served, a building in an
IMPACT zone is being used in a way that reduces the risk of recidivism and the people of the neighborhood are being empowered.
A very healthy situation. And when it is combined with community policing and a renewed investment in neighborhood preservation,
perhaps by providing job training in the building trades for returning inmates, a win-win-win situation.
have long been a critic of New York City’s CompStat and the state’s Operation IMPACT. Statistics-driven policing
tactics like CompStat are powerful management and accountability tools. But policing by the numbers does little to build a
sense of community well-being. Accordingly, we advocate a resurgence of community policing. For those who must have their
technology and data-driven policing, not to worry. A powerful new resource is about to be debuted. It is called predictive-policing.
It takes in and analyzes enormous amounts of data and using very sophisticated computer modeling it predicts where future
crime is likely to emerge.
One of the truly outstanding achievements
of the New York State Police in recent decades and a major contribution to the advancement of the law enforcement profession
is the prestigious annual Lt. Col Henry F. Williams Homicide Investigation Seminar established in 1987 in memory of a celebrated
homicide investigator and early champion of the scientific investigation of crimes of violence. For investigators, prosecutors,
defenders and forensic scientists, this annual gathering has showcased some of the most sophisticated investigative methods
and advancements in forensic science and technology. In the years since its inception, a worldwide fellowship of Williams
Associates has grown steadily sharing knowledge and valuable cooperation and assistance in the investigation of crimes of
We have recommended to the administration of Superintendent
Joseph D’Amico that the New York State Police reach out to Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department.
His agency has been at the forefront of developing the next generation of information and intelligence-based policing under
the rubric of predictive-policing. The LAPD is awaiting a $3 million federal grant to put it into effect. In that it has significant
potential in preventing violent crime, particularly retaliatory gang violence, the Williams Seminar would provide a great
venue for debuting this innovation on the world stage and bring considerable credit on the NYSP for recognizing its enormous
THE SPINAL CORD INJURY RESEARCH PROGRAM
At this writing, the news of the shooting in Tucson,
Arizona that took the lives of six people and left U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords with a gunshot wound to the head
is continues to be the headlines. An injury such as Representative Giffords has sustained is very serious. No one sustains
an injury like that without neurological consequences. This tragedy underscores the fact that it is critical that medical
research toward better treatments for such brain and spinal cord injuries goes forward. New York has, in fact, invested more
than $60 million in such research under the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) over the past decade.
SCIRP was created in 1998 by Paul Richter of Albany, a former State Trooper whose
career was ended when he was shot and paralyzed near Lake Placid on September 30, 1973. With the support of many retired law
enforcement officers and veterans’ organizations, we were able to accomplish the extraordinary legislative feat of getting
the SCIRP bill introduced, passed and enacted in the space of four months as Chapter 338 of the Laws of 1998.
The Act imposes a small surcharge on Vehicle & Traffic Law fines that goes
into a fund from which grants are made to medical research facilities in our state. The statute explicitly states that these
funds SHALL be applied to SCI research. In effect, the program puts the state’s entire force of law enforcement officers
to work, not only making our roads and highways safer and free of drunk drivers, but generating up to $8.5 million annually
that goes directly into research leading to treatment and cure of spinal cord injury (SCI) paralysis, traumatic brain injury
(TBI) and many other neurological conditions. As traffic accidents are the leading cause of SCI and TBI, we consider it the
most extraordinary example of restorative justice we’ve yet seen. Moreover, TBI is at epidemic levels among our military
personnel because of the enemy’s weapon of choice in our current overseas conflicts, the IED. Our commitment to neurological
research has brought aid, comfort and hope to tens of thousands of military families.
Last year’s chaotic budget process resulted in SCIRP revenue being diverted to other general government purposes.
We hope that the Legislature will recognize that this program invests in an industry that holds great promise for New York’s
future prosperity and great hope for our citizens who live with neurological impairments of various causes. This is restricted
revenue. Honor the restriction.
fiscal crisis has made it difficult to commit police personnel to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program. The State Police
has had to terminate its School Resource Officer Program. Cops and kids still belong together.
We challenge OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez and State Police Superintendent Joseph D‘Amico
to lead us in a new direction, one that promotes best practices and evidence-based programs to protect children from the effects
of mind-altering drugs and all the crime, violence and degradation they bring.
Last year, I was introduced to Mentor International, a global organization that promotes innovative and scientifically
vetted youth anti-drug abuse programs. At its Prevention Awards Gala in Washington last October, Mentor’s founder Queen
Silvia of Sweden recognized outstanding programs selected from nominations representing fifty nations.
New York has world class institutions on the cutting-edge of medical, mental health
and social welfare research, law enforcement organizations with a proven commitment to kids and organizations that teach,
guide and advocate for children. Bring them together on a regional basis to brainstorm and develop concepts for next generation
youth anti-drug abuse programs.
The Mentor Awards are given
every two years. If we set a goal now and go after it with resolve, imagination and all of the intellectual resources we have
at our disposal, we can proudly have a new program to be New York’s nominee in 2012.
A PUBLIC SAFETY CAREERS ACADEMY
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has been tasked with the
portfolio of ambassador to upstate business and development interests. Certainly, the stability and prosperity of our upstate
communities require they have top-notch public safety services.
Duffy, the former mayor and police chief of Rochester,
has policed and governed a population that is rapidly approaching 50 percent people of color. There is an intense public discussion
in the city about diversity in the municipal work force, especially the police and fire departments. This is a problem in
our other upstate cities as well.
In a recent op-ed article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Duffy noted that this is an urgent problem in many municipalities and called
for creative responses. One of his most intriguing ideas was creation of a public safety charter school.
are many reasons why young people of color are not going into the public safety professions. High dropout rates are high on
the list. Kids who do well academically have many other career options. Having spent time in our public schools, I've observed
that there is an animus against law enforcement traceable to decades of the war on drugs and the long-term effect of the mass
deportation of young men of color to our prison gulag.
kids the opportunity to spend time in an academic environment in which those aspirations are nurtured is a good idea.
Albany is a choice location for this initiative. It is rich with headquarters of law enforcement agencies, the state's criminal
justice agencies, the courts, legislative committees that make public safety policy, the State Police Academy and Forensic
Investigative Center, the Rockefeller College School of Criminal Justice, Albany Law School and many organizations that lobby
and advocate in criminal justice field. Where else could young people be exposed to so many aspects of the machinery of justice
in the form of internships, summer jobs and the opportunity to meet and interact with leaders in the field?
As Attorney General, Governor Andrew Cuomo took the
lead in advocating agency consolidation. Now he proposes merging the Departments of Banking and Insurance with Consumer Protection
Agency. An excellent idea. As pertains to public protection, we can use this consolidation to better combat organized crime,
tax evasion, insurance fraud, Ponzi schemes and all manner of white-collar crime that are bleeding us dry. Fully 20% of New
York’s tax revenue derives from the financial industry. After 9/11, federal enforcement efforts in all forms of white
collar and financial crimes were sharply reduced. The economic crisis may have changed that, but while we’re waiting
for the feds to lurch toward the next crisis, the State of New York must act to enhance our ability to protect banking and
insurance -- as the governor has proposed -- and, I would suggest, state revenue.
The three state agencies charged with oversight of banking, insurance and revenue collection respectively all maintain
investigative divisions. Their agents are designated peace officers (CPL section 2.10, subdivisions (4), (47) and (61)). Simple
legislation can amend the Criminal Procedure Law to give them full police officer status under CPL section 1.20. We can then
work toward forming these units into a cooperative force to work with the State Police and other agencies to fight a variety
of forms of organized crime, terrorism, banking and insurance fraud and tax evasion that affect the financial industry and
the state‘s revenues -- forms limited only by the boundless ingenuity of those inclined to crime, corruption and fraud.
The highly specialized expertise of these investigators will considerably amplify the effectiveness of our full panoply of
state and local law enforcement agencies and add another dimension to our seamless continuum of cooperation in public protection.
This past year, I assisted the union that represents police supervisors for the
State University Police in promoting their proposal to centralize the administration of all the SUNY campus police departments
In investigating their issue, Chief Frank Wiley of SUNY Albany Police Department brought a very important issue to my attention
that affects all of New York‘s institutions of higher learning. Simply put, campus security agencies are not eligible
for federal homeland security funding. I believe, and I hope you will agree, we should be working to change that.
Our institutions of higher learning constitute an engine of future economic development
and prosperity for the state and people of New York. The SUNY system alone is comprised of some 1.6 million students, faculty,
scientists, researchers, administrators and many others who live, learn and work on its campuses. These campuses house billions
worth of sophisticated equipment, laboratories and other critical infrastructure. They are developing valuable intellectual
property that is a target for theft, espionage, sabotage and worse. Our investment in this infrastructure of higher learning
and research and development is critical to national security and to our state‘s continued economic competitiveness.
These institutions need to be better protected. There is no better time than the present to address this issue. U.S. Representative
Peter King is chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Were he to hear from the State Legislature, I’d wager
that he would raise this issue in the House of Representatives and Senators Chuck Shumer and Kirsten Gillebrand would do the
same in the Senate.
illicit trafficking of tobacco -- much of it in the form of counterfeited name-brand products -- is a multibillion-dollar
global business today, fueling organized crime and corruption, robbing governments of tax revenue, and spurring addiction
and disease. So profitable is the trade that tobacco is the world’s most widely smuggled legal substance. It is estimated
that fully half the cigarettes sold in New York alone are untaxed.
York has to recognize that every time we jack up the taxes on cigarettes, as we did last year, we increase the value of this
form of contraband quite considerably, drive the expansion of the black market, contribute to the profitability of criminal
enterprises the world over and, yes, we support terrorist organizations. If, however, the state insists on going forward with
this dubious initiative, it should, at the very least, turn the Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau of the Department of
Taxation and Finance, which investigates revenue crimes, into a fully empowered and capable police agency because its employees
are facing on a day to day basis increasingly powerful and vicious criminal organizations engaged in ever-growing and lucrative
CORRECTIONS ON CANVAS
decades past, the Department of Correctional Services held an annual exhibition and sale of inmate art called Corrections
on Canvas. The program was terminated during the Pataki administration. It should be restored but in a new format. Prior to
its termination, the art was displayed in the Well of the Legislative Office Building and offered for sale at modest prices
to a market of mostly state workers. The artworks should be sold at charity auctions at various locations -- preferably art
galleries or museums -- around the state with the proceeds to go to the Crime Victims Board to benefit victims of crime.
THE CONSTANTINE INSTITUTE
It has been my ambition
for twenty years now to make New York a center for research and development on cutting-edge ideas in public safety, tackling
problems ranging from youth gangs and street crime to transnational organized crime and terrorism. Albany has the resources,
notably the New York State Police Academy, Albany Law School and the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice, to contribute
to this institution. It can also serve as a focal point for connecting our youth with the global career opportunities that
have emerged virtually overnight in the areas of homeland security, disaster preparedness and private security.
These difficult times challenge us to be resourceful in finding the means to create
and sustain new programs and initiatives. We must be creative in looking at resources we possess of which we have not realized
their maximum value. We do, in fact possess a unique and untapped resource of great value in the record of the New York State
Police and our eponymous (i.e., the person our organization is named for) patron Tom Constantine himself.
In 1957, the NYSP made history when it exposed the existence of organized crime
in an incident known as the Appalachin organized crime meeting. That incident sparked a tremendous engagement on the part
of the federal government and law enforcement agencies all over the nation to confront and combat what has today grown into
a global network of criminal enterprises. The United Nations estimates that criminal organizations worldwide profit over $2
trillion a year, twice what all the nations on earth spend on their annual military budgets. In 1991, under the leadership
of Tom Constantine, the operations of Colombia’s Cali Cartel were exposed in New York. Four years later, as head of
the Drug Enforcement Administration, Constantine presided over the dismantling of the cartel and the capture, sentencing and
imprisonment of its leaders. The Cali Cartel is acknowledged to have been the largest and most powerful criminal conspiracy
in history. An alumnus of our New York State Police took it down.
2000 and 2003, Constantine, serving as Oversight Commissioner for reform of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, played
a major role in ending more than three decades of terrorist violence in the British Isles by giving the people of the province
a police service that is committed to the highest legal and ethical principals, excellence in professionalism and the philosophy
of community policing. This is a remarkable achievement and it stands as a model of what needs to be achieved in many areas
of the globe that do not have so trusted an institution to maintain public order.
This unique and internationally acknowledged legacy of pioneering achievement is an asset of considerable but unrealized
value for purposes of developing a privately-funded and ultimately self-sustaining endowment to support research, development,
training and education in the struggle against transnational organized crime and terrorism.
The Constantine Institute will marshal the intellectual resources of our great state university system and serve
as a focal point for research and deliberation on the control of transnational organized crime and terrorism. Modeled on the
prestigious Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security established in 1997 at Osgood Hall Law School
at York University in Toronto, the institute will sponsor a diverse research program that will reflect a balance among the
issues relating to legal, operational, social, political, and economic aspects of responding to these threats. It will organize
conferences and symposia that will bring together the best minds among academics, law enforcement professionals, the military
services, the intelligence community, lawmakers, the diplomatic corps and the business and financial community to develop
strategies, tactics, relationships and legal and diplomatic frameworks for more effective international cooperation. Its ultimate
goal is to be a valuable and practical resource for the world’s law enforcement agencies, governments and the international
THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Governor Paterson last year vetoed legislation that would have empanelled and funded a commission to plan for the
bicentennial of the War of 1812. His reason for doing so was obvious -- he couldn’t justify the cost. These anniversaries,
however, should be opportunities for government to make money, not spend it.
On April 11, 1917, Governor Charles Whitman signed Chapter 161 of the Laws of 1917 which created the Department of
State Police. Six years hence, we will be celebrating the centennial of the NYSP here in Albany and at troop headquarters
and sites of significance in the history of the New York State Troopers all over the state. We have already begun laying plans
to make the most of this occasion to project the prestige of the State Police, the dedicated service of generations of Troopers
and the compelling saga of New York's pioneering history of leadership and achievement in advancing the best in policing.
We look forward to years of exciting collaboration with the Legislature toward making this a celebration to remember.
THE LONG, GRAY LINE
and music by Terry O’Neill, 1991
On a summer day back
in Nineteen Seventeen
Came a troop of riders trottin’
smartly ‘cross the green.
Tell me, who are they in the
purple and the gray?
They’re the new State Troopers on
saddled up and they journeyed far and wide
Bringing law and
order to the rural countryside.
Not with words but deeds did
they write some history
And the tale ain’t over, no,
they still ride proudly in the purple and the gray
boots and saddles have been long since put away.
no one anywhere can say he ever saw
The like of our Gray Riders
of the Law.
Sure, they’ve come a way since
they were Chandler’s Cavalry
But they’re still
a paragon of guts and gallantry.
It’s the Long, Gray
Line riding tall and proud and fine
With their heads high and
their colors flyin’.
thank you for this opportunity to appear before you and share some thoughts about the public protection aspects of this most
challenging year of budget-making. I first sat through one of these hearings in 1984. It has always been a privilege to do
so. And the result of your diligent work has always worked out to the benefit of the state and people of New York. I wish
each and every member of these committees every success in completing this most intricate, demanding and critical aspect of
the people’s business.