NYPD and the circle of corruption - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

NYPD and the circle of corruption

Anytime I read about another corruption probe or a scandal in a law enforcement agency it makes me sick to my stomach.

After all what law enforcement does not need in this country is another black mark on the profession.

Unfortunately that is exactly what corruption does to police in the eyes of the public, it further erodes the trust the public has in its law enforcement agencies.

In the eyes of many citizens if one cop is corrupt then all cops are corrupt.

In reality that is further from the truth, but that is the public’s perception.

Police get a bad rap most of the time, fueled by what I see as a rising trend in this country of anti-police sentiment.

There is a growing movement of cop-haters and that is pretty disturbing, especially when the national media are the first ones to exploit this type of anti-police hatred whenever they get the chance.

I have no love for corrupt cops and those who disgrace the badge.

When a cop does wrong I do not support them and neither should anyone else. Wearing a badge does not give one the right to break the very laws they swore an oath to protect. That is it plain and simple.

I know first-hand the price you sometimes pay for telling the truth and going up against a corrupt system.

Many times when we read about a corruption probe it usually involves the rank and file officers and not their superiors.   It seems at times that investigating those at the bottom of the ladder takes precedent while those in the command structure get a free pass on their bad deeds.

Frank Serpico said it best when he was testifying before the Knapp Commission in the 1970s when he said that corruption exists because it is tolerated by those at the top.


The NYPD has had corruption problems going back over a century.

In 1895 the Lexow Committee was the first to be appointed to investigate allegations of corruption in the NYPD. Then came the Curran Committee in 1914 followed by the Hofstadter Committee in 1932, the Helfand investigation in 1949, the Knapp Commission in 1972 and the Mollen Commission in 1994, to name a few

Frank Serpico testifying against dirty cops. (Public Domain)

Frank Serpico testifying against dirty cops. (Public Domain)

Now we have an FBI corruption investigation that is ongoing involving top brass of the NYPD that some reports say may lead directly to City Hall if it hasn’t already.

I hate to say this but it is refreshing no matter how sad it is, that this time the probe is starting at the very top of the NYPD’s command structure.

That is where any police corruption probe needs to start, at the top not the bottom.

Very little of the wrongdoing that goes on in any police department is truly secret.

Police departments are like little Peyton Place’s.

The dirty little secrets are known by many and spoken about by members of the department between themselves in private.

The blue wall of silence or as a former member of the NYPD calls it, police omerta, keeps these dirty secrets secret.

When those officers at the bottom see those in command getting away with corrupt acts and acts of misconduct, can we really expect those officers to come forward?

The FBI corruption probe of the NYPD will probably uncover more of those involved.


Bernard Kerik (Wikipedia)

Bernard Kerik (Wikipedia)

Because dirty cops are like mobsters. When they are faced with spending time in prison versus saving their dirty little butts by cooperating they sometimes take the path of the latter.

I saw former NYPD Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, speaking the other day on one news program. The newsman had the gall to identify Kerick as “commissioner.”   That is a title of respect and one thing Kerick does not deserve is respect.

Kerik disgraced the badge for personal gain.

An eight-time convicted felon and the only police commissioner in the history of the NYPD to go to federal prison.   Call him convicted felon but certainly not commissioner.

Appointing Bernard Kerik police commissioner over those that had more experience and certainly more education in the NYPD than Kerik had was certainly not one of the smarter decisions Rudolph Giuliani made in his career.

I guess being Giuliani’s driver had its advantages for Bernard Kerik. He was appointed commissioner of corrections before Giuliani appointed him police commissioner. And then Giuliani supported Kerik for the position of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks.

Thank God that did not happen and Kerik was exposed for what he truly was.

Kerik has also appeared on FOX News Channel’s, Justice with Judge Jeanine.

Back in 2006 when Jeanine Pirro wanted to eavesdrop on her husband, who did she call for help? Her friend Bernard Kerik. Pirro, a former district attorney and judge had no idea at the time that when she was speaking to Kerik about secretly monitoring her husband’s private conversations that the telephone call was being monitored by a court-authorized FBI wiretap of Kerik’s phone. Oops!

I don’t know what the answer is to stopping police corruption or political corruption for that matter.

What I do know is that corruption must be rooted out. It derails the integrity of the organization and the publics trust.

It has been said that power corrupts, and the longer one has the power the greater the chance to be corrupted.

If you wear a badge you have no choice but to expose this cancer. There is no room for debate on this. When you swore an oath to stand up for the rule of law you swore an oath to do the right thing.   That there can be no compromise on.

What is society’s role in all of this?

To stand by and support those that take a stand against corruption and to make certain that those that do, are not left out in the cold as often happens.

Exposing corruption should not be a path to losing your career and your livelihood!

About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.

One Comment

  1. drbhelthi says:

    Persons who expose corruption, regardless of the area of endeavor, are the ones who should be rewarded for honesty. Certainly not demoted or released or defamed, which seems to be the prevailing practice – of the corrupt administrators.


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