Oct 092012
 

Court Session in Patz Case Is Delayed for 6 Weeks

 

The New York Times
by Russ Buettner
September 24, 2012

 

Etan Patz was the” first ever” missing child to be pictured on the side of a milk carton

 

The next public court appearance for the man who confessed to killing Etan Patzin 1979 has been put off for six weeks, a move that has the effect of giving prosecutors and his defense lawyer more time to investigate before the case is presented to a grand jury for indictment.

 

The delay, which was agreed upon by both sides, speaks to the unique complexities of a 33-year-old case in which a body has never been found and a new suspect with a history of mental illness emerged out of nowhere, according to people briefed on the case and legal observers.

This is the second time a public appearance has been delayed; it will now take place Nov. 15.

Questions about the confession by the man, Pedro Hernandez, arose almost immediately after he was thrust into the spotlight, challenging the long-held assumption that another man, already imprisoned on unrelated child molesting charges, had killed Etan, who was 6 at the time of his disappearance.

After the police received a tip leading them to Mr. Hernandez, he provided a videotaped confession in which he said he had lured Etan from his school bus stop at West Broadway and Prince Street in SoHo, led the boy into the basement of the bodega where he worked, and strangled the child, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.

In May, Mr. Kelly held a news conference announcing the arrest, a bold gesture of his confidence that Mr. Hernandez was the killer. The investigation has since found that Mr. Hernandez made some sort of confession over the years to relatives, further substantiating his claim.

“The confessions by a credible suspect, following separate admissions over years to family, friends and church members, made an arrest and prosecution inevitable,” said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department.

In his only public remarks on the case, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, in May spoke more cautiously about Mr. Hernandez’s guilt, saying his office was investigating methodically. But the office has shown no outward signs of pulling away from the case.

Mr. Vance’s office and Mr. Hernandez’s lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, declined to comment on Monday.

In search of physical evidence since the arrest, detectives have excavated the bodega basement and searched Mr. Hernandez’s home in New Jersey. Mr. Browne said he did not know if any such evidence had materialized, but from the start of the investigation, it was always assumed that finding new physical evidence after so many decades would be difficult, if not impossible.

From the prosecution’s standpoint, that evidence is not needed to seek an indictment. The only corroboration of the confession needed to seek an indictment would be proof that a crime was committed, but even that, a simple matter in most murder cases, is complicated without physical evidence.

“It seems like it’s in everyone’s interest to get it done right rather than get it done quickly,” said Elizabeth Crotty, a criminal defense lawyer and former Manhattan assistant district attorney with no involvement in the case.

 

 

 

Feb 042012
 

Man Charged in Officer’s Shooting Had Been Sought in a Jan. 1 Killing

 

 

The New York Times

By JOSEPH BERGER
February 1, 2012

 

A man wanted for questioning in what was believed to be New York City’s first homicide of 2012 was charged on Wednesday with the attempted murder of Officer Kevin Brennan, a six-year veteran whose unexpected recovery was characterized by city officials as “a miracle.”

 

Luis Ortiz taunted photographers and jeered at onlookers as he was taken from a Brooklyn precinct station house on Wednesday to be booked for the shooting of Police Officer Kevin Brennan.

(Robert Stolarik for The New York Times)

 

 

 

Officer Brennan is “extremely lucky” to be alive, an official said.

N.Y.P.D.

Officer Brennan, 29, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., a ruddy-cheeked, dark-eyed father of a baby girl, was shot point-blank in the head behind his right ear on Tuesday night as he struggled with the suspect, Luis Ortiz, 21, in a hallway of an aging housing project in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the authorities said. He was in critical but stable condition Wednesday afternoon at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said he visited Officer Brennan at Bellevue on Wednesday morning, hours after trauma surgeons removed the bullet from the base of the officer’s skull. Mr. Kelly said that a video of the confrontation showed “where the gun was held right up to the officer’s head.”

“The officer, when I visited him this morning, was going in and out of consciousness,” Mr. Kelly said. “That’s because of the morphine, I’m told. As we said last evening, he is extremely lucky.”

However, Mr. Kelly said it was uncertain whether there would be any lasting complications.

As Mr. Ortiz was led away from the 90th Precinct station house in the late afternoon, a skirmish broke out between photographers and some of those who had gathered in support of Mr. Ortiz. He first taunted the photographers, saying, “Yeah, take a picture of me.”

After Mr. Ortiz was put into an unmarked police vehicle, a woman began slamming her fist into its trunk. Some of the crowd followed the vehicle north, yelling expletives toward the police and then turning their anger toward the photographers, throwing punches and a plastic bottle.

Mr. Ortiz, who the police said was nicknamed Baby and who had a record of 14 arrests on various charges stemming from drugs or violence, was already being sought for questioning in the murder of Shannon McKinney, a drug addict known as Shan the Man.

Mr. McKinney’s body was found on the afternoon of Jan. 1, lying in front of a supermarket near the seven-building Borinquen Plaza public housing complex, in East Williamsburg, on the border of Bushwick. No one was arrested for that crime, which turned out to be the second murder of the year when someone shot earlier that morning died a few hours after Mr. McKinney.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Officer Brennan and two other plainclothes officers, Michael Burbridge and Christopher A. Mastoros, heard on their radio that two shots had been fired in the Bushwick Houses complex, near 140 Moore Street.

As the officers arrived, they saw three men fleeing and raced in pursuit. Officials said Mr. Ortiz dashed deeper into the complex for roughly a half-block and ducked into the rear door of 370 Bushwick Avenue as someone was exiting. Practically on his heels, Officer Brennan followed him inside and down the first-floor hallway. But the rear door snapped shut, leaving Officer Brennan alone in the hallway with Mr. Ortiz, the authorities said.

While the police initially said that Mr. Ortiz had turned and fired one shot at Officer Brennan, they said a building surveillance video later showed that Officer Brennan had caught up with Mr. Ortiz and wrestled him to the ground, and that the two men had struggled.

“Ortiz managed to get his gun hand free and shoot Brennan at point-blank range behind his right ear,” said Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman.

Mr. Ortiz fled out the building’s front door while Officer Brennan’s partners managed, through what Mr. Browne described as “a Herculean effort,” to break the lock on the rear door and reach their wounded colleague, who appeared almost lifeless on the ground. The police theorize that Officer Brennan may have fired once but as yet have no ballistic evidence, Mr. Browne said.

Because one of Officer Brennan’s partners had recognized Mr. Ortiz from previous encounters, computers in a police van at the scene quickly dredged up a possible “hang-out address,” an apartment on the fifth floor of another project building, at 390 Bushwick Avenue, Mr. Browne said. By about 10 p.m., officers, some with police dogs, were seen entering that building, with others poised on the pathways outside and in police helicopters.

The hallway inside 370 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, where Police Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head late Tuesday night at the Bushwick Houses.

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times


 

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, right, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, holds up the bullet removed from Police Officer Kevin Brennan, who was shot in the head Tuesday night. Mr. Kelly was in the emergency room at Bellevue Hospital Center when trauma surgeons removed the bullet.

Michael Appleton for The New York Times

About two hours after the shooting, police officers knocked on the door of Apartment 5A, and an older man answered and was shown a photograph that he said was of his nephew. The police found Mr. Ortiz in a rear bedroom sitting on a bed. He did not put up a fight, police officials said.

Five floors down, investigators found a .38-caliber revolver with a black wooden handle — an imitation of a Colt firearm — that they believed was used in the shooting of Officer Brennan. Mr. Kelly said the gun would be tested to see if it matched the one used in the Jan. 1 shooting.

The officer was moved to Bellevue Hospital Center, whose trauma unit is highly regarded. Stephen Bohlen, a spokesman for Bellevue, said he could not discuss the surgery or aspects of Officer Brennan’s condition because he had not received authorization from the family.

However, Dr. Eli Kleinman, the Police Department’s chief surgeon, said the bullet had been stopped by the thick part of the base of his skull. Dr. Kleinman added that the staff of trauma surgeons had used fluid and pressure to extract the bullet from behind the officer’s right ear.

Mr. Kelly said he was in the emergency room when the bullet was removed. At a news conference late Tuesday, Mr. Kelly held the bullet aloft in a plastic container, proclaiming Officer Brennan “one lucky young man.” Mr. Kelly said that the bullet “lodged between the skin and the skull,” but did not enter the skull.

Officer Brennan was the second city police officer shot in the head in the past two months. In December, Officer Peter J. Figoski, 47, was killed when he responded to a robbery in Brooklyn and was shot by a fleeing suspect with an illegal gun.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Ortiz’s mother, Cynthia Ortiz, said her son was the third of six children and had had a difficult upbringing. She said that when Luis was 4, she was convicted of possession of crack cocaine and he was raised for the next 10 years of her imprisonment by his father.

Ms. Ortiz’s husband, Ricardo Caceres, who is not Luis Ortiz’s father, said that Luis was “not a bad kid.”

“But he’s the kind of kid who can be convinced to do things,” Mr. Caceres said.

On the street outside the squat red-brick house in New Hyde Park, on Long Island, where Officer Brennan and his family lived, neighbors described him in terms that could be used for many suburbanites. They said he was a polite man who walked his bulldog, Maggie; shoveled his driveway; and held backyard get-togethers around a grill. Catarina Didrickson, who described herself as the officer’s landlady, said he and his wife moved in two years ago and had a baby girl about three or four months ago.

The neighbors all said that he rarely spoke about his work.

Reporting was contributed by Al Baker, Corey Kilgannon, Nate Schweber and Tim Stelloh.

 

Direct Link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/nyregion/suspect-in-custody-in-case-of-officer-shot-in-the-head.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha29

Feb 012012
 

Officer Shot in Head in Brooklyn; Full Recovery Is Expected

 

 

The New York Times

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER and CHRISTOPHER MAAG
January 31, 2012

 

Officers swarmed the Bushwick Houses after the shooting.
Photo: Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

 

 

A plainclothes New York City police officer was shot in the face on Tuesday night while pursuing a man at a Brooklyn housing project, but evaded life-threatening injuries in what the mayor called a remarkable stroke of good fortune.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly displayed the bullet removed from an officer shot on Tuesday.
Photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times

 

Crime Scene Location

 

“God, in this case, was kind,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a news conference at Bellevue Hospital Center, where doctors removed the bullet from the skull of the officer, Kevin Brennan, 29, a six-year veteran from Long Island. He remained there Tuesday night in critical but stable condition.

Police caught the suspected gunman, Luis Ortiz, in a nearby building hours after he exchanged gunfire with Mr. Brennan, said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. The officer fired one round, the police said, but Mr. Ortiz was not struck.

During the news conference, Mr. Kelly held the bullet aloft in a plastic container, proclaiming Mr. Brennan “one lucky man.” Mr. Brennan, though passing in and out of consciousness, was expected to make a full recovery, Mr. Bloomberg said.

Mr. Brennan’s young daughter, Mr. Bloomberg said, “has no reason to believe that her daddy wouldn’t be there to see her crawl for the first time, and, in good time, to dance at her wedding.”

Mr. Bloomberg said the episode shone a light on the importance of gun control. “We had too close a brush with death tonight due to illegal guns,” he said.

The shooting occurred about 9 p.m. near 370 Bushwick Avenue, on the first floor of a building in the Bushwick Houses project, in the 90th Precinct. Mr. Brennan and two other officers pursued the suspect in response to a report of a man with a gun, the police said. Mr. Brennan was the first inside the building, Mr. Kelly said.

Around 10 p.m., officers could be seen entering one building. Police dogs were also present. As scores of other officers swarmed the site, helicopters buzzed overhead.

Thomas Tavares, 52, who said he had lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, said the area had recently enjoyed a period of relative calm. “It used to be really bad — lot of drugs, lot of murders, lot of crime,” he said.

“Things were actually calm around here,” he said as he stood in front of a deli and faced the crime scene, still teeming with officers. “This is crazy, man.”

Gabriel Jones, 46, said he grew up in the project, but moved more than 10 years ago because of safety concerns. He now lives a few blocks north, he said.

“It’s known for muggings, killings, stickups,” said Mr. Jones, who happened upon the scene while walking his pit bull. “I got stuck up here three times myself.”

The episode, he said, proved that little had changed. “It’s sad,” he said, “but it’s not a surprise.”

Al Baker, Joseph Goldstein and Stacey Stowe contributed reporting.

Direct Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/nyregion/officer-shot-in-head-in-brooklyn.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha29

Dec 172011
 

 

After Officer’s Killing, a Focus on a North Carolina Warrant
The New York Times
By MOSI SECRET
December 13, 2011


Community members, residents and officials joined a candlelight vigil for Officer Peter J. Figoski that was organized by the 75th Precinct community council in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Photo: Hiroko Masuike / The New York Times

Despite his being wanted for a shooting in North Carolina, the man accused of killing a police officer in Brooklyn on Monday was twice released from jail in New York this fall because the authorities in North Carolina declined to have him extradited, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Tuesday.


Officers outside court in Brooklyn on Tuesday before the arraignment of Lamont Pride, who is also accused in a North Carolina shooting. Photo: Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

The New York police had arrested the man, Lamont Pride, twice since September, first for possession of a knife and a second time for possession of crack cocaine and for endangering the welfare of a child.

Each time, Mr. Kelly said, the police noticed that Mr. Pride was wanted for the shooting in North Carolina, but that the arrest warrant could be served only in that state. A New York police officer called the authorities in Greensboro, N.C., after the second arrest, in November, Mr. Kelly said, because of “a concern about a violent felon going back on the streets of New York City,” though a spokeswoman for the Greensboro police disputed Mr. Kelly’s chronology.

In any case, by the time the Greensboro police requested extradition, Mr. Pride had already been freed, Mr. Kelly said. “He should not have been out on the streets,” Mr. Kelly said at a news conference. “He should ideally have been extradited to North Carolina. But that did not happen.”

Mr. Pride, 27, was ordered held without bail Tuesday on charges of first- and second-degree murder, aggravated murder of a police officer, and criminal possession of a weapon. “He made a choice to end the officer’s life,” a prosecutor, Kenneth M. Taub, said in a courtroom packed with about 100 standing police officers, officials and relatives of Officer Peter J. Figoski, who was killed on Monday.

The police said that they had also arrested Kevin Santos, 30, who they said was Mr. Pride’s accomplice in the break-in that led to Officer Figoski’s death, and three other men called accomplices: Ariel Tejada, 22, Nelson Moralez, 27, and Michael Velez, 21. All four face charges of second-degree murder, and each also faces weapons charges, with the exception of Mr. Moralez, according to the police.

Mr. Tejada and Mr. Moralez were found near the scene and were initially “treated as witnesses,” but when their stories began to unravel they were placed under arrest, the police said. Mr. Velez, the authorities said, was supposed to act as a getaway driver.

All four were ordered held without bail, and as they were led out of the courtroom to jail, the crowd of officers erupted in cheers.

Police officers responded to a call of a robbery in progress early Monday, and the first officers who arrived at the basement apartment in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, found a tenant bloodied from a beating, the police said. They had no idea that the robbers were still there, hiding in a dark room behind them. When the robbers tried to slip out, they were met by two more police officers. Mr. Pride raised a pistol and fired, striking Officer Figoski, a 22-year veteran, in the face, the police said. Officer Figoski died five hours later, at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Mr. Pride, who was quickly arrested by Officer Figoski’s partner, has a lengthy arrest record in North Carolina dating back to 2007, when he was arrested for drug possession, according to the authorities there. In 2009, he served prison time for robbery, and he later served jail sentences for assaulting a woman and for misdemeanor assault. Then, in August of this year, he was involved in the nonfatal shooting of a Greensboro man, the police there said.

Mr. Pride went to New York, his birthplace, and was arrested near Coney Island on Sept. 22, for public possession of a blade longer than four inches, a misdemeanor charge. Mr. Pride pleaded guilty to a violation and was released from jail the next day.

Mr. Kelly said that the police had run a background check and found the North Carolina warrant, but that the warrant could be executed only inside North Carolina.

Mr. Pride was arrested again on Nov. 3, in an apartment near Coney Island where the police executed a search warrant. Two children, 11 and 16, were in the home. Prosecutors later described the condition in the apartment as “deplorable, with cockroaches, filth everywhere.”

The police said they found six bags of crack cocaine on a desk and four bags of marijuana on another defendant; they arrested Mr. Pride and two others. Mr. Pride did not live there, but the arrest happened inside the building where he had been arrested for carrying a knife earlier in the fall.


How a Robbery Led to a Killing

Mr. Kelly said that after the November arrest, the police again checked on the outstanding warrant against Mr. Pride and found that it could be executed only in North Carolina. Mr. Kelly said a police commander called the authorities in North Carolina after the November arrest. “I assume that what he tried to do is have it cleared up over the phone,” Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Kelly speculated that the Greensboro police did not initially pursue extradition because of “resources.” It would have been up to the Greensboro authorities to pay for detectives to travel to New York and to transport Mr. Pride to North Carolina.

Susan Danielsen, a spokeswoman for the Greensboro Police Department, said in a statement Tuesday night that the district attorney there determines the type of warrant to issue. “In-state extradition is appropriate and reasonable when officials have no reason to believe that the suspect is a flight risk,” she said. “This was the case with Pride.” However, Howard Newman of the district attorney’s office in Guilford County, where Greensboro is located, said Tuesday that the police did not request extradition until Nov. 8.

Ms. Danielson disputed Mr. Kelly’s chronology as to when the police commander called the Greensboro police, saying that it was on Nov. 8 — four days after Mr. Pride had been freed. Paul J. Browne, the spokesman for the New York Police Department, said its records showed that “there was a contact made on Nov. 3,” the day before he was released.

According to a transcript of Mr. Pride’s Nov. 4 court hearing, Judge Evelyn Laporte of Brooklyn Criminal Court was told that there was an active warrant for his arrest in connection with a shooting in North Carolina. The prosecutor on the case, Evan Degrees, requested $2,500 bail.

“Anything recovered from Pride, Lamont?” she asked the prosecutor, referring to drugs.

“Nothing,” he responded. “There is no indication anything was recovered from him.”

She decided to release him without bail. He did not show up for his next court appearance, in November.

Mr. Browne, the New York police spokesman, said, “The person responsible for Officer Figoski’s death is the one who pulled the trigger, not the authorities in North Carolina.”

At his news conference, Mr. Kelly did not criticize the Brooklyn judge for the decision, but he did note the prosecutor’s $2,500 bail request, implying that it was relatively low.

Judge Laporte did not respond to a message seeking comment. A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney did not respond to messages Tuesday, but earlier said that $2,500 was relatively high for the charge Mr. Pride was facing.

Al Baker, Liz Robbins and Tim Stelloh contributed reporting.

Direct Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/nyregion/after-officers-killing-a-focus-on-a-north-carolina-warrant.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha29

Dec 062011
 

Underwater Drones Giving More Eyes to Police Harbor Unit as Searches Grow
The New York Times
By AL BAKER
December 4, 2011

With President Obama in town last Wednesday, things were busy for the New York Police Department’s Harbor Unit. Federal security agents were disseminating lists of city locations that had to be swept for bombs, cleared and guarded.


The New York Police Department’s Harbor Unit demonstrating one of its remote-operated vehicles in the Gowanus Canal.
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

That meant that coastal areas near touchdown points for Marine One, the presidential helicopter, demanded extra inspection. Police divers splashed down to scrutinize underwater sections of piers and seawalls for improvised explosive devices. Radiological sweeps were done. Each of the bridges spanning waters that Mr. Obama’s motorcade might cross got a top-to-bottom going over.

All of that underwater security has resulted in an increasing reliance on a relatively new tactical weapon for the police: an unmanned submersible drone, often referred to as a remote-operated vehicle, or R.O.V.


The remote-operated vehicle.
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

It is the Harbor Unit’s version of the mirrored device used by their colleagues on land to check for explosives under vehicles’ chassis. The department has six of these underwater drones, similar to those in use by the United States military and by oil companies with offshore operations.

Four, valued at $75,000 each, were acquired by the police in 2007, with federal grant money from the Urban Area Security Initiative. The police acquired two more sophisticated drones a year later with federal port security grant program money, for $120,000 apiece.

On Thursday, aboard the Anthony Sanchez, the largest of the Harbor Unit’s 34 vessels — it is named for a police officer killed on duty in 1997 — Capt. Anthony J. Russo directed his six-member crew to demonstrate the abilities of one of the drones, affectionately and perhaps unimaginatively called “No. 1” by the officers.

To do it, Detective Robert Harris, a boat pilot and diver, steered the 55-foot boat away from its dock at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. He passed some industrial sites and a derelict building at the water’s edge. He stopped alongside the rusted hull of a mammoth tanker, which is moored there and is now used to mix concrete. The little yellow R.O.V. — a 16-pound submersible with lights and sonar — was plopped into the 50-something-degree water, and off it went, tethered to a 100-foot cable running into the boat’s cabin.

There, Detective William P. Devine, a tall, lanky officer who is a scuba diver and the unofficial master of the R.O.V., sat at a table in the cabin, with a black briefcase before him that serves as the drone’s control pad and brain. He worked a toggle to maneuver the device and watched the images its camera beamed back, showing the barnacled bottom of the ship. The tether, or umbilical cord, carries 12-volt electricity to the R.O.V. and transports data and video images (in color) back up from the depths.

“This comes natural,” Detective Devine said, describing how he “flies” the R.O.V. along, almost like a helicopter but underwater. Sometimes if the currents are swift, the officers navigate their boat alongside the drone, moving in tandem as they sweep an area.

Detective Devine stares into the water, then back to the computer. His face is weathered, and somewhat tan even in late fall, like those of the other Harbor Unit officers who spend time outdoors. These officers are more fit than a typical officer and keep up rigorous training exercises. Their jobs demand they be dropped out of helicopters. They must be able to swim, manage themselves and their gear, help a partner and a possible victim and keep their head all at the same time. Many run triathlons while off duty.

Detective Devine has studied what biological or radiological weapons might look like, or where underwater explosives might be hidden under a boat. And if the problem is not explosives, it might be narcotics: traffickers will attach a load of drugs in PVC pipe and clip it along the keel under a giant tanker.

These days, counterterrorism duties make up about 50 percent of the Harbor Unit’s work, which has increased exponentially since 9/11. The unit still carries out rescue and recovery operations: aiding distressed boaters or retrieving bodies that float to the surface. The officers search for evidence in the silky muck of the river bottoms ringing the city. There, with usually zero visibility, they feel around for a gun or knife that some accused suspect has told a detective he tossed into the water to hide.

“I close my eyes, and your hands become your eyes,” Detective Harris said of those types of evidence searches.

But more and more, Detective Harris and others said, the mission is counterterrorism. These days, the briefing papers pour in from the Police Department’s Intelligence Division, through its Special Operations Division, sometimes at the rate of several bulletins a day: Check a suspicious boat under the Brooklyn Bridge; sweep an incoming cargo ship’s hull at the Coast Guard’s request; steam around by the Statue of Liberty to check on what a caller to 311 has described as an unidentified floating package. The officers of Harbor devise plans to deal with the myriad threats.

The officers realize just how critical they are in the defense of a port whose terrorism vulnerabilities have been well chronicled; roughly 10,000 cargo ships a year come into the port, with millions of containers landing on the Brooklyn piers.

In 2005, a Pakistani man, Uzair Paracha, was convicted in federal court of providing material aid and financial support to Al Qaeda terrorism. A law enforcement official said a concern arose during that investigation about a desire to establish a business in the city’s garment district as a way to ship items through the port to the city.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, even before he took over for a second stint as commissioner in 2002, was concerned about the adequacy of the port’s contraband detection system — whether for drugs or the tools of terrorism. He cited the drones in a speech in April 2009 to the Council on Foreign Relations.

“We have a little submarine that we use to go under and take a look at ships that are coming in,” the commissioner said at the time. “We even board the Queen Mary, believe it or not, when it’s coming into the harbor.”

So far, the R.O.V.’s have never hit on a bomb. If they did, they would call in the Navy, said Detective Devine, a former Navy sailor himself. “We mark the location, get out of the water and call them,” he said.

Direct Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/nyregion/drone-submarines-add-eyes-for-nyc-harbor-police.html