The Constantine Institute, Inc.
Albany, New York 12210
JOINT LEGISLATIVE FISCAL COMMITTEE HEARING
4 FEBRUARY 2016
STATEMENT OF TERRY O’NEILL, DIRECTOR
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.
most of you know, our eponymous patron Tom Constantine, former New York State Police Superintendent, Drug Enforcement Administration
chief and Oversight Commissioner for the Reform of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, died unexpectedly and untimely
this past May. All the more reason to act decisively and promptly to cement and pay forward his extraordinary legacy of achievement
in law enforcement. In addition to bringing down the leaders of the largest and most powerful criminal syndicate in history
and ending more than three decades of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland, among Mr. Constantine’s accomplishments
was to have made the New York State Police a powerful force in combating the ravages of the crack epidemic of the 1980s in
the state’s most distressed and neglected communities -- our inner cities. He did this by redoubling the NYSP’s
efforts to recruit minorities into the ranks. The result was his signature program the Community Narcotics Enforcement Teams
that swept the streets of inner city neighborhoods of the very people that residents all knew were the drug dealers and violent
criminals who were making their lives miserable. He did this without indiscriminate stopping and frisking or other heavy-handed
policing practices that have come to be so resented by communities of color. At a time when the Mayor of Albany is being
shouted down by protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, our effort to hold up Tom Constantine as the paradigm of
a police leader who could fight violent crime and drug trafficking so effectively while remaining respectful of the needs,
concerns, rights and sensibilities of communities of color is especially timely and uniquely meaningful.
CRISIS IN POLICE/COMMUNITY RELATIONS
Conflict that erupted across the nation over the past two years
between police agencies and communities of color brought to light the execrable state of police/community relations that has
evolved over the past two decades. The Black Lives Matter movement was catalyzed, as is well known, by the Ferguson MO and
Staten Island deaths of young men of color at the hands of police officers. Similar cases have occurred in communities across
the nation with depressing regularity.
Based on my experience as a lawyer and legal reform consultant, including several
years as a criminal justice advisor to the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo, I have three recommendations to make regarding
criminal justice reform in the State of New York that would address this situation in a sweeping and meaningful way that befits
its status as the most urgent civil rights issue of the day.
First, over the past two decades, a once vibrant movement
toward community policing -- police service founded on true partnership with community stakeholders -- has been all but totally
eclipsed by the kind of data-driven policing that Bill Bratton debuted in New York City in 1994. I am a witness to the fact
that this style of numbers-driven policing was aggressively promoted throughout the nation and has been hugely influential.
It has fundamentally changed the relationship between municipal police agencies and the public they serve and not for the
While many credit Bratton’s COMPSTAT and other policing tactics that are descended from it for the historic
reductions in crime nationwide, this style of policing has driven a wedge between police and communities of color. Crime may
be going down, but public dissatisfaction has been skyrocketing. That is what protesters across the nation are saying. That
is what New York City voters were saying when they elected Bill de Blasio. Their complaint is both legitimate and urgent.
Whomever is tasked as the state’s primary responder to this phenomenon should be given a clear mandate to reignite the
community policing movement. That belongs in this Budget. Sadly, Governor Cuomo has proposed nothing dramatic to respond
to this crisis.
Second, former Governor Mario Cuomo, may he rest in peace, signed into law Chapter 55 of the Laws
of 1983, the Neighborhood Preservation Crime Prevention Act (NPCPA). This DCJS-administered program was intended to foster
the creation of an infrastructure of community-based nonprofit organizations that could access new resources and collaborate
with police and other municipal agencies to improve quality of life in neighborhoods that otherwise would slide into decay
and criminality. That there would be a state program to to promote this purpose would give it a sense of order and purpose
that would benefit communities all over the state. This inspired piece of legislation would have empowered neighborhoods
and their residents to have a major impact on the quality of life in their communities. Unfortunately, for whatever reason,
NPCPA was never funded, staffed, implemented.
The kind of community-based infrastructure NPCPA would have created
would have helped neighborhoods and police agencies work together in productive partnership. This law is still on the books.
As the Legislature and the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo move forward in developing its response to the police/community
relations crisis, I would strongly suggest taking up this piece of Mario Cuomo's legacy and fulfilling its promise at last.
Last year, the governor created the Office of Faith-Based Community Development. I believe that office could be the vehicle
for achieving just that. .
My recommendation to the Legislature is to ensure that a portion of that appropriation
for this office be expressly applied to encouraging community policing initiatives jointly pursued by law enforcement and
community stakeholders. As I have repeatedly pointed out to the governor and his successive advisors and commissioners in
the field of public safety, they need only look out their Second Floor windows to see the innovations that the Albany Police
Department has implemented over the past five years with dedicated and sustained support and collaboration of our Albany Community
Policing Advisory Council (ACPAC). Entities like ACPAC should be encouraged and given financial and technical assistance.
Third, for over half a century, the decision of the US Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright has
guaranteed that poor persons who get swept up in the machinery of the criminal justice system should have effective legal
representation. As all know, this promise has not been kept. Certainly, were we to address this decisively and dramatically,
we would be leveling the playing field between the poor accused and the police and prosecutors who arrest them in their tens
of thousands and force them into plea bargains that ruin their lives.
Any thoughtful person who contemplates the many
decades over which this issue has been left on the backmost burner can only condemn the total lack of engagement by the Executive,
the Legislature, and the Bar in doing what is so obviously the right thing. The shameful fact is that there has been no meaningful
judicial reform in New York since the administration of Nelson A. Rockefeller and he accomplished what he did because he made
it a top personal goal of his own. I ask Governor Cuomo and this Legislature to accept the challenge of Gideon
right now when doing so would do the most good.
The 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 explicit to suggest that will change.
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 as 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 and his first Police
Commissioner Bill Bratton under the name COMPSTAT in the mid-1990s.
The popularity of this style of enforcement nationwide
has effectively driven police agencies apart from the communities they serve and stymied the growth of the community policing
movement. More recently, the “controversial :stop and frisk” practice that was the hallmark of NYPD Commissioner
Ray Kelly’s long tenure evolved into a serious irritant in police/community relations. It has also, as research first
published in 2010 by Dr. Eli Silverman Professor Emeritus of John Jay College and Dr. John Eterno of Molloy College has indicated,
resulted in downgrading of felonies and discouraging victims from filing complaints by commanders who are under relentless
pressure to report steadily declining rates of crime. I would commend to your attention a book these scholars brought out
just four years ago greatly expanding upon their research. (See: The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation,
Advances in Police Theory and Practice, Eli Silverman and John Eterno, CRC Press, 2012.) (See also: The
NYPD Tapes: A Shocking Story of Cops, Cover-ups, and Courage, Graham A. Rayman, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013)
Leading figures in contemporary policing have been saying loudly and clearly that police/community partnership has become
severely attenuated. 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, former 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.
Even more emphatically, we have seen the New York City Police Department finally brought to heel with respect to
that most egregious and widespread abuse of the data-driven policing tactics that debuted under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
-- i.e. “Stop-and-Frisk”. I have characterized Judge Shira Scheindlin’s landmark decision in Floyd
v. City of New York as the most significant court decision affecting police management, supervision and training
since the 1978 US Supreme Court ruling in Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York.
At this writing, critics of the NYPD and the tactics that characterize the now global “Bratton Brand”
of policing have turned their focus toward “Broken Windows”, a policing tactic that uses the full force and power
of the police to discourage minor public order offenses that are thought to give rise to more serious crime. That assertion
remains far from proven. One would say that the unchallenged assertion by proponents of the Bratton Brand that the combination
of COMPSTAT, Stop-and-Frisk and Broken Windows is primarily responsible for declining rates of crime over the past two decades
are guilty of the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc in a very big way. They are also
forgetting the historic intervention made by this Legislature with the 1991 Safe Streets/Safe City Act that reversed the decimated
condition in which the NYPD and other agencies of NYC government had been left by the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s.
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.
In 2010, 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 eighteen police beats with permanently assigned officers who have a community policing
mandate. Fully ten percent of the department’s manpower is committed full-time to this program. Officers in these units
are in constant communication with patrol and investigative units making theirs a most valuable contribution to our innovative
practice of Intelligence-led Policing.
I have the honor of having served on 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. Your colleague Assemblymember Michael Kearns was a key player in getting this
commission going. A major impetus for the creation of this panel was the notorious City Grill Massacre that took place outside
a popular downtown nightclub in August 2010. Eight people were shot, four of them fatally. Though there were over one hundred
witnesses to this shocking crime, no one would cooperate with the department’s investigation. Obviously, in the city
of Buffalo relations between the police and the community had reached a very attenuated state. The Common Council subsequently
adopted a resolution creating the commission. The management of the Buffalo PD asserts that it has community policing. I
disagree. Buffalo is divided into five large police districts. Two “community police officers” are assigned
to each and I’ve been told that their expertise on community policing will affect the department through some process
of osmosis. This is nonsense. Buffalo has almost eight hundred sworn officers. Only ten are assigned to this program.
Unfortunately, while our commission had a panel of dedicated and capable volunteers to accomplish its task, it had
no meaningful resources or administrative support. As the time drew near for producing the commission’s mandated report,
I wrote to DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green requesting that his agency provide that support under a long-extant
statutory program ( Executive Law § 837(5)) that provides advice and technical support for
county and municipal police agencies under the rubric “management studies.” I was subsequently informed by DCJS
that this program can only be used at the specific request of the chief executive of a police agency. Unlike what happened
in Albany and in several other instances I’ve been involved in that directly and successfully addressed a poor state
of police/community relations through a concerted dedication to community input, the management of the Buffalo PD offered
no meaningful cooperation with the commission. We were not able to hold the kind of public hearings and community forums
that worked so well in Albany. Commissioner Daniel Derenda believes that the fact that he has assigned -- out of a force
of some eight hundred sworn police officers -- two “community police officers” to each of five very large and
populous police districts in the city constitutes the delivery of neighborhood policing. That is utter nonsense. In Albany,
nearly 10% of the Albany Police Department’s workforce is assigned full-time to provide community policing in eighteen
Clearly, Executive Law § 837(5)) needs to be amended to give
DCJS a mandate to respond to requests from municipal authorities other than the police department for assistance in reviewing
police management issues.
What we need to do in this year’s budget is to take a good hard look at the local
assistance we send to local law enforcement. Governor Cuomo re-branded Operation IMPACT to focus on gun-related crime where
it heretofore emphasized subsidized police overtime and acquisitions of pricey technology. We should respond to his willingness
to sharpen the program’s focus and his funding for the non-police Operation SNUG anti-violence program that existed
during one budget cycle during the Paterson administration by opening the door even wider. We should be providing leadership
from the state level that encourages local law enforcement to move in the direction of community policing and partnership
with neighborhood stakeholders. Communities with a healthy sense of trust and partnership with their law enforcement agencies
are attractive to home-buyers, business investment and tourism. There should be a strong state program to encourage it as
a essential component of our economic development efforts in all our distressed communities.
In 1999, then Assemblyman Edward Griffith, a longstanding member
of the Ways and Means Committee celebrated for his conscientiousness and his ethical punctiliousness, paid his first visit
in many years to his native Panama. On his return, he told me that he had been shocked and appalled to see the war damage
still evident in Panama City from the military incursion that President George H. W. Bush had ordered to effect the arrest
of Panamanian strongman and drug trafficker Manuel Antonio Noriega ten years earlier. I explained to him that United States
had had to take action because Noriega had basically allowed Colombian and Mexican drug cartels use his country’s financial
institutions as piggy banks and money laundries. (See: Our Man in Panama, John Dinges, Random House,
1990) In fact, sovereign governments of many small nations in the Caribbean Basic were and remain vulnerable to this phenomenon.
Mr. Griffith wanted to do something.
At Mr. Griffith’s request, I developed a legislative proposal that would
mobilize the intellectual resources of our state’s great public university system to develop recommendations to guide
the state and the nation on confronting transnational organized crime. In its current iteration, this proposal is appended
to this written testimony in the form of draft legislation. I offer it to the committees for your consideration and we would
be happy to work with any and all of you. What Mr. Griffith wanted to do in 1999 is still as well-considered and even more
timely today that it was then.
It has been my ambition for twenty-five 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. 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
their maximum value. We do, in fact possess a unique and untapped resource of great value in the unique and pioneering record
of the New York State Police and our
eponymous (i.e., the person our organization is named for) patron the late Tom
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 historic 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. (See: McMafia: A Journey through the Global Criminal Underworld, Misha Glenny, Vintage
Books, 2009) 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 then State Police
Superintendent Tom Constantine, the operations of Colombia’s Cali Cartel were exposed in New York after a six-year investigation
that began with the 1985 discovery of a cocaine processing lab in rural Montgomery County. Four years later, as head of the
Drug Enforcement Administration, Constantine presided over the dismantling of the cartel and the capture, extradition, sentencing
and imprisonment of its leaders and the forfeiture of some $8 billion of their criminal assets. The Cali Cartel is acknowledged
to have been the largest and most powerful criminal conspiracy in history. (See: Drug Lords: The Rise and Fall
of the Cali Cartel, the World’s Richest Crime Syndicate , Ron Chepesiuk, MILO Books Ltd., 2003) An alumnus
of our New York State Police took it down. And the New York State Troopers who exposed the old Mafia in 1957 dragged the
New Mafia out into the light of day in 1991.
Between 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
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 proposed for the SUNY system by the appended
draft legislation will marshal the intellectual resources of our great public 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 Osgoode Hall Law School at York University
in Toronto (http://nathanson.osgoode.yorku.ca/), 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 sectors to develop strategies,
tactics, relationships and legal and diplomatic frameworks for more effective international cooperation.
Since its inception in 1987, the Lt. Col. Henry F. Williams Homicide Investigation Seminar hosted by
the New York State Police has brought together thousands of what have become known as Williams Associates, a powerful network
of professional colleagues from all over America and a growing number of foreign nations. We envision an even more capable
global network of Constantine Fellows composed of alumni of our future series of annual conferences on transnational organized
crime and global terrorism.
In 1988, I had the pleasure
of meeting John Heritage a career New York State Trooper when he was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to head the Bureau
for Municipal Police at the Division of Criminal Justice Services. One of John’s top priorities was to bring the Drug
Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.) to the schoolchildren of New York. This program, which had been pioneered by
the Los Angeles Police Department a few years earlier, marked a positive new departure in our society’s struggle against
drug abuse and addiction. It was all the more historic because it came at a time of raging urban violence fueled by the crack
cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. John succeeded in achieving his goal within a very short time. It wasn’t long before
successive cohorts of D.A.R.E officers from police agencies around the state were being trained, certified and deployed in
classrooms across the state. In its time, D.A.R.E. was a true innovation and a hopeful new approach to the problem of youth
As the years have gone by, much has changed in our knowledge of and attitudes toward the epidemic
of drug addiction. Indeed, much about addiction has changed, as well. Today, abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise
and the problem has moved from inner cities to suburbs and rural communities. We are re-thinking many of the harsh penal
policies we adopted at the height of the crack epidemic. We have also increasingly come to view the problem of chemical dependency
as a public health, rather than a public safety, issue. To that end, many of us involved in the process of making public
policy on drug abuse prevention have been looking for a next generation of strategies for reaching young people with an effective
anti-drug abuse message. I am convinced that we have found one.
In 2010, at the invitation
of His Excellency Jonas Hafström, then Ambassador of Sweden, I was introduced to Mentor International. Her Majesty Queen
Silvia of Sweden established Mentor International in 1994 in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Since then,
the organization has grown to provide support to youth in over 80 countries reaching more than 6 million children. Mentor
International, together with Mentor Foundation USA and the other affiliated Mentor organizations around the world, is today
the leading international not-for-profit network empowering youth and preventing substance abuse. Its mission is to prevent
drug abuse among youth while helping them identify and pursue their goals. Mentor views drug prevention and the success of
our youth as a collective civil responsibility. Therefore, it partners with the business community, government agencies, schools,
and parents to create healthy and productive pathways for youth. Since opening its offices in Washington DC in 2010, Mentor Foundation USA has reached more than 140,000 youth
across the United States.
This past November, with funding from the Rip Van Winkle Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting
preventive medicine and headquartered in Hillsdale, Columbia County, Mentor was debuted in three Columbia County high schools.
Some 1,300 students participated. More recently, Mentor Foundation USA has announced that it is the recipient of a grant
from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation that will directly support the research efforts of “an innovative new substance
misuse prevention program (i.e.; Mentor) in Columbia County, Hudson Valley, NY, that builds on the power of positive peer-to-peer
messaging and peer driven community initiatives.” The research will measure how Counter Marketing Prevention through
positive peer-to-peer messaging can help offset the negative messages that youth are influenced by on a daily basis. Counter
Marketing Prevention uses commercial marketing tactics to combat negative media influences, increase positive health messages,
and reduce the prevalence of substance misuse in the state and its communities.
Mentor is taking a profoundly new
direction in youth substance abuse prevention, one that is very much in line with the positive and progressive view that society’s
problem with drugs is a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. The recently released report of the Assembly Minority’s
Task Force on Opiate Addiction trenchantly makes the point that peer-to-peer approaches to drug abuse make abundant sense
in reaching a high school aged audience. I would strongly recommend that this year’s budget contain funding for evaluating
Mentor’s innovative peer-to-peer approach to youth anti-drug abuse programming.
NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION CRIME PREVENTION ACT
As I mentioned in my introduction, there
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 Mario 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. As I have suggested, Governor Cuomo’s Office of
Faith-Based Community Development Services can be easily adapted to fulfill this purpose.
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 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.
Several 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.
In the 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.
For decades now, our distressed
and mostly minority neighborhoods have produced most of our prison population. These neighborhoods, which, outside of New
York City, Have very often been 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. We need a program that brings together
the problem of abandoned properties and people who come out of our prison system needing shelter, job training and employment.
Iinvestment in neighborhood preservation, perhaps by providing job training in the building trades for returning inmates,
a win-win-win situation.
THE MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN’S CLEARINGHOUSE FUND
In the late summer of 1994, a little girl named Sara Anne Wood
disappeared from the roadside in Herkimer County. Her disappearance was hugely newsworthy and sparked a lengthy and large-scale
investigation and search by the New York State Police. The man who took Sara Anne was caught and convicted. Sadly, Sara
Anne has never been found. (See: Little Girl Lost, http://www.constantinescircus.org/bkch06.htm)
This case got so much publicity at the time that
an obscure DCJS program, the Missing and Exploited Children’s Clearinghouse, became the subject of considerable media
attention. An unexpected result was that the program started receiving offers of contributions from concerned members of
the public. There being no mechanism for accepting and spending such gifts, I consulted the offices of sympathetic legislators.
The result was the creation of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Clearinghouse Fund in the custody of the State
Comptroller. It accepts gifts, grants and bequests which are to be expended on advertising and public education efforts to
better protect children.
In recent years, the fund has been receiving around $300,000 in the form of state income
tax return check-offs. I bring it up here because it has repeatedly come to my attention over the years since its creation
that large amounts of money have accrued to this fund that have either not been expended or, more objectionably, have been
expended for purposes not authorized by the statute. More recently, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli issued a report on the
performance if this and several other taxpayer gift funds authorized by law. He found that they have been steadily declining
in public support. One strongly suspects that the reason for this is that the agencies responsible for spending these monies
are not doing so in a very newsworthy way. Let’s find a way to show the public that some bang is being got for its
TRIAD -- PROTECTING OUR GROWING POPULATION OF ELDERS
In December 1991, I read an article in The New York Times about the nature and extent of elder
abuse and many forms it takes. As the state had no public safety program to address this problem, I set out to find one.
I almost immediately encountered the Triad program, the joint creation of the American Association of Retired Persons, the
National Sheriffs’ Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Since it was first proposed in
1988, Triad has evolved into the nation’s preeminent public safety program focused on the needs and concerns of our
rapidly growing population of senior citizens. Working with then Assemblymember RoAnn Destito, we prevailed upon the Legislature
to send Governor Mario Cuomo a bill (Chapter 111, Laws of 1993) that gave DCJS a mandate to promote the Triad program throughout
When Chapter 111 was enacted in 1993, we knew the proportion of our state’s population over the
age of 65 was exploding and the exposure of this population to a variety of criminal and other forms of victimization was
increasing exponentially. Indeed, violent victimizations of the elderly are currently on the rise, according to a new study
released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Rates of nonfatal violent crime against Americans age 65 or older
increased 27 percent from 2003 to 2013, from 3.4 to 4.4 victimizations per 1,000 people. About 2 percent of all violent crimes
involved elderly victims between 2003 and 2013, according to the study, which is based on data from BJS’s National Crime
Victimization Survey (NCVS), which measures nonfatal crimes. Nonfatal violent crime includes rape or sexual assault, robbery,
aggravated assault and simple assault.
Since 1993, there has been a statutory framework for addressing this rising
tide of elder victimization in the Executive Law as the result of this Legislature’s enactment of Chapter 111. This
is a time when we should be calling upon Governor Cuomo’s to find creative ways to use the vast network of OGS resources
throughout the state to encourage the formation and flourishing of Triad programs statewide. With Chapter 111 on the books,
the governor does not have, as bureaucrats say, to “re-invent the wheel.” He merely has to issue a directive
through his executive budget proposal in January to encourage DCJS and other agencies and organizations to devote fresh attention
to the cause of promoting this program. The Triad concept was fresh, innovative and endlessly adaptable in 1993 when it was
signed into law. It still has those qualities and the need, as we foresaw, continues and has grown greater over time.
In the recent past, 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 problem 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 -- even those whose officers have full statutory
police status as do the SUNY Police. I believe, and I hope you will agree, we should be working with our Congressional delegation
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.
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. The association representing convenience store owners
estimates that the state loses $1.7 billion a year in lost revenue from untaxed cigarette sales. And they know nothing of
the revenues lost through bootleg tobacco traffic. This fixation that we have on the state’s Native American communities
and their refusal to collect and remit state taxes misses the point entirely. Bootleg tobacco products are produced and trafficked
by powerful organized crime syndicates in many nations, most notably the Peoples Republic of China and North Korea.
York has to recognize that every time we jack up the taxes on cigarettes, as we did three years ago, 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. Having gone forward with this dubious initiative,
we should, at the very least, turn the Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau (PATB) 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 contraband
trafficking. It’s not the Indians they’re up against. It’s the global Mafia. Under current law, PATB
investigators are rather confusingly classified as both police and peace officers with complicated restrictions on the exercise
of the powers of both. (See: CPL, section 1.20 (34) (q),:CPL, section 2.10 (47)
With respect to this issue, let me
make a personal note. On 9/11, I lost a very dear colleague and friend who was an employee of the Department of Taxation
and Finance. Charles M. Mills was head of the Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau. Friends who communicated with him in
his last moments that morning tell us that he stayed on the scene coordinating the evacuation of many people from the building
until it was too late for him to save himself. Mr. Mills had had a most distinguished career as a police officer and police
executive in the many years before he died leading PATB. Nonetheless, the committee charged with approving additions to the
Roll of Honor of the State of New York Police Officers’ Memorial at Empire State Plaza has, for all these years, disallowed
the addition of Mr. Mills’ name to the memorial. If it takes an amendment to the law to right this wrong, please do
THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE --
On April 11, 1917, Governor Charles Whitman signed Chapter 161 of the Laws of
1917 which created the Department of State Police. Col. George Fletcher Chandler, the first Superintendent of State Police,
set up shop in Room 100 of this very building a few weeks later. Two 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.
I thank you once again 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. At that hearing, on the
dais sat Deputy Speaker Arthur Eve. Sitting where I now sit was Corrections Commissioner Thomas A. Coughlin, III. The two
engaged in a memorable colloquy about the prison system budget at the very inception of the vast prison expansion we engaged
in over the following decade. All the history I have witnessed since then has impressed upon me the great work that this
Legislature undertakes to give form to the society we live in and rise to meet its ever-evolving challenges. It has always
been a privilege to participate in this process. The result of your hard and diligent work has always worked out to the benefit
of the state and people of New York. Steep declines in rates of crime in recent years has been the result. You are to be
congratulated on this achievement. But you must also pay heed to the eruption of protest we have witnessed over the past
two years by communities of color. The protesters are giving voice to legitimate concern over the kind of policing tactics
that have become commonplace in America since their inception in New York City in 1994. People don’t like being treated
like dots on one of Bill Bratton’s crime maps. Crime turned around in New York City when this Legislature acted to
give the city the means to do the job. This rising chorus of dissatisfaction merits your attention just as urgently.
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
Senate No. Assembly No:
In Senate: In Assembly:
TITLE OF BILL:
AN ACT in relation to establishing the Thomas A. Constantine Institute for the Study of
Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism within the State University of
New York and making an appropriation
PURPOSE OF BILL:
This legislation will establish a focal point
for research and deliberation on the control of transnational organized crime and terrorism. 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 transnational organized crime and terrorism. 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 in the control of transnational organized crime
and terrorism. Its ultimate goal is to be a valuable and practical resource for the world’s law enforcement agencies,
governments and the international business community.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
of the bill is a declaration of legislative findings and intent.
Section 2 of the bill establishes within the State
University of New York the Thomas A. Constantine Institute for the Study of Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism. Such
institute shall organize conferences and seminars, develop training programs for law enforcement officers, sponsor and promote
research, publish its proceedings and maintain a library. The bill directs that the Chancellor and Trustees of the State University
shall appoint a person well qualified by education and experience to administer such institute. Such institute is authorized
to establish a development program to build its own endowment.
Section 3 of the bill makes an appropriation of $500,000.
Transnational society today includes multinational corporations, nongovernmental
organizations, criminal conspiracies and terrorists networks. In this environment, organized crime has gone global. It is
estimated that this global network of evil profits some $2 trillion a year, more than twice the combined annual military budgets
of every nation on earth. Were it not for the existence of this shadowy empire, terrorist groups like al Qaeda would be unable
to function. They would have no market for their contraband and no means of laundering their monies, moving their operatives
or acquiring weapons and other war materiel.
With the internationalization of organized crime and the emergence of
global terrorism, the challenge to law enforcement has grown exponentially. To meet that challenge, we must develop the legal
and diplomatic frameworks within which the law enforcement authorities of many nations may cooperate along with the essential
personal and professional relationships that build trust and unity of purpose. There is an urgent need for research, policy
development, law reform, diplomatic initiatives and education to confront the threat of transnational organized crime and
This legislation establishes the Thomas A. Constantine Institute for the Study of Transnational Organized
Crime and Terrorism within the State University of New York. Inspired by Mr. Constantine’s extraordinary career achievements
and the international respect he has earned in the field of public security, this entity will provide a focus for research
and deliberation on the control of these phenomena and for public education about their manifestations.
will sponsor a diverse research program reflecting a balance among the issues relating to legal, social, political, and economic
aspects of international organized crime and terrorism. It will organize conferences and symposia bringing together the best
minds among academics, law enforcement professionals, 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 in the control of transnational organized crime and terrorism.
The mission of
the Constantine Institute is to serve as a valuable and practical resource for the world’s public security agencies,
governments and the international business community.
This is new
The bill appropriates $500,000 from the General Fund. These
monies will fund a campaign to build an endowment for the Constantine Institute. It is projected that $3 million can be raised
from private sources to support this initiative in perpetuity. To the maximum extent possible, the endowment campaign will
draw upon the resources of the State University of New York and the efforts and talents of willing members of the university