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Eirim chun mo ghniomh a chriuchnu 

The Constantine Institute

Dear Fellow New Yorker



The Constantine Institute

102 Willett Street
Albany, New York
                                                                                            6 March 2010
Dear Fellow New Yorker:
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Eric Adams, both Brooklyn Democrats, have introduced state legislation that would “crack down on mismanagement of the State Police.” The bill is prompted by scandalous allegations that Governor David Paterson and the State Police abused their power by intervening in a domestic violence case after a woman obtained an order of protection against a top gubernatorial aide. Jeffries said the bill would create a temporary commission "to investigate systematic misconduct, abuse of power and political interference with respect to the New York State Police." Modeled after the Knapp Commission, which probed endemic police corruption in New York City in the 1970s, the commission would have subpoena power and would report to the Legislature.
Since 1995, the leadership of the New York State Police has endured unprecedented political pressure to involve itself in highly improper political “dirty tricks”, cover-ups of serious misconduct and in two egregious instances, protecting persons of influence from charges of domestic violence.  These allegations have resulted in now a third investigation by the state Attorney General in just the past four years. During that period, two Superintendents, both distinguished career Troopers, have left office under a cloud.
Not since Al Smith -- a professed foe of the new-fledged Department of State Police -- took office as Governor of New York in 1919 has the New York State Police faced a greater threat to its very existence.  Nearly a century of hard-maintained political noninvolvement -- the bedrock of the Division’s reputation for integrity and impartiality in the enforcement of the laws -- has been called into question.  That reputation is the legacy of generations of New York State Troopers of every rank who have labored, served, risked and sacrificed for the welfare and safety of the state and people of New York and to build the worldwide reputation of the Division for honor, integrity and courage.
When Governor Smith came to office professing that he would disband the State Troopers, Superintendent George Fletcher Chandler relied upon the people of New York, who had only two years of familiarity with the character and service of the new Gray Riders, to make their case for them.  His reliance was not misplaced.  Governor Smith received an enormous amount of mail from New Yorkers all across the rural areas of the state who had come to know and trust their State Troopers.
To the embarrassment of the people of New York and to the shame of our elected leaders and representatives, our state government in Albany has become a laughing stock across the nation for its institutional dysfunction and the venality and criminality of so many of our politicians.  The New York State Troopers are not responsible for that sorry reputation.  Indeed, theirs has grown in esteem even as that of state government has plummeted.
What the Governor of New York and all the high and powerful elected leaders of our state and in Washington need to hear today from the people of New York is that we stand behind the Superintendent of the New York State Police, whomever that may be now and in days to come, when he or she says “no” to any order or pressure to pervert the power and authority of the State Police for any unethical, dishonorable, unlawful, unprofessional, corrupt, political or venal purpose.  If anyone is to be castigated or cast out, it is the person who gave such order or brought such pressure to bear.
I urge all my fellow New Yorkers to use whatever means of communication is available to you let the Governor, the Leaders of the State Legislature and the Attorney General of the State of New York know that we trust the State Troopers and their leadership to maintain their own house in good order.
                                                                    Yours truly,

                                                                    TERRY O’NEILL,