People & Places

     On with the show

A radio show that has become a vital information resource for south Florida’s diverse black community has made a local celebrity of Jimmie Brown, a division chief with the Metro-Dade Police Department who has hosted the show for the past seven years.

“Hot Talk” is an hour-long community affairs program on WHQT-Hot 105 FM, which airs live at 11 P.M. on Sundays. After greeting his listeners with his distinctive mellow baritone, Brown outlines the issues he would like to discuss that night.

The show was born out of the rage and frustration that erupted into violence on the streets of Miami in 1989 after a police officer shot and killed a motorcyclist, touching off days of civil unrest.

Brown was part of the army of officers who swept through Miami’s black community, arresting looters and bottle-throwers.

When Hot 105 introduced the talk show shortly afterwards, Brown turned down the station’s offer to host the program. A shy, unpretentious man with no formal radio training, Brown said he was afraid that no one would call in.

But the 52-year-old Brown, a department veteran of 27 years and ordained minister and religion instructor, has turned out to be a natural.

“When the phone rings, it’s really cool,” he said. “One of the most powerful things you can have is an educated electorate.”

Said Gomez Accime of Lauderdale Lake, a regular “Hot Talk” listener: “I like the way he talks. He stands for us.  He wants this community of Haitians, black Americans, and Jamaicans to get together.”

Brown reads as many as five newspapers a week, regularly browses the Internet and reads piles of news magazines and books in order to remain current for his listeners. While he discusses a variety of topics, from race relations to unemployment, from politics to education, he may also just listen and answer questions, dispel rumors and provide facts.


     Orange blossom

A West Orange, N.J., police lieutenant was tapped last month to serve as the city’s police director, taking the reins of a Police Department that is still reeling from the resignations of its last two chiefs under clouds of scandal.

Mayor Samuel Spina said he chose James Drylie, a 16-veteran of the agency, out of a half-dozen candidates to replace William Webb, who resigned in August amid a controversy over a racist comment made to a black officer.

Drylie, 38, who was promoted to lieutenant in 1990, will serve as the primary policy-making official for the agency.

The 98-officer agency has been buffeted by the resignations of its two previous chiefs, both of whom were convicted of or pleaded guilty to criminal charges. In August, Police Chief Robert Spina left after being convicted of tipping off a drug suspect about an impending raid. Spina’s predecessor, Edward Palardy, resigned two years ago after pleading guilty while under indictment for tax evasion. John A. Cavanaugh, a 27-year veteran of the agency, is serving as acting chief until a permanent successor to Spina is named.

Noting the exodus of high-ranking officials from the department in the past two years, Drylie told The Newark Star-Ledger. “It’s always tough when anyone loses a leader and we lost our last two leaders. My sense is that the men are looking for a strong leader, and I feel I can be that leader.”

Drylie pledged to formulate policies that address the concerns of front-line officers, who he said are often ignored by policy-makers.

“Sometimes when you run a police department, you forget about the cop on the street and make decisions that don’t take them into account,” he said during his swearing-in ceremony on Oct. 21. “In order for us to get our job done, we need the patrolmen to function. I feel I have a closer contact with them and can motivate them.”

Drylie is a highly decorated officer who has received commendations for dedication to duty and the ability to serve “under the most extreme conditions police face today,” said Mayor Spina. He received two awards for “action under fire,” two medals of merit and two medals of excellence. One of the awards stemmed from an incident in which he disarmed a suicidal suspect armed with a rifle in 1991.

Drylie, who is studying for a doctorate in criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/City University of New York, has taught part-time at Kean College for six years. He is the editor of “CJ News in New Jersey,” a publication of the New Jersey Criminal Justice Association.


     Chief of chiefs

Frankfort, Ill., Police Chief Darrell L. Sanders was sworn in as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police at its annual conference, which was taking place in Phoenix in late October as this issue of Law Enforcement News was going to press.

Sanders succeeds Concord, N.H., Police Chief David Walchak as president of the nation’s oldest law enforcement organization.

Sanders began his law enforcement career in 1969 as an officer with the Charleston County, S.C., Police Department. During his 10 years with the agency, Sanders was promoted to sergeant and then to detective.

Since 1979, Sanders has led the 20-officer Frankfort Police Department, which serves a city of 8,000 residents located 40 miles southwest of Chicago. During his tenure, Sanders has immersed himself in programs aimed at youth, founding the Frankfort Police Cadets Explorer Post 104, which has won several state honors.

Sanders began participating in the Special Olympics following the death of his son, Brent, in 1986. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization, which inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1992. Sanders represented the IACP as the on-site coordinator for the Winter Games in Salzburg, Austria, in 1993, and the Summer Games in Connecticut in 1994.

Sanders, a former president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Baptist College in Charleston, S.C., and a master’s in public administration from Governors State University in Park Forest South, Ill.


     USDA choice

A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, whose investigation of food-stamp fraud helped to uncover a drug corruption ring involving New York City police officers, was elected Sept. 27 to a three-year term as president of the 12,000-member Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Special Agent Richard Gallo, 38, who is assigned to the Manhattan headquarters of the IG’s Office, succeeds Victor G. Oboyski, a U.S. Marshal Service official who had headed the organization since 1990.

Gallo began his law enforcement career as an investigator with the New York City Housing Authority. Since joining the USDA, Gallo has conducted investigations into food stamp fraud in which the coupons have been used to purchase drugs, guns, houses, cars or have been resold for cash.

In the early 1990s, an investigation he led resulted in the arrest of a New York City police officer who was dealing drugs in the city’s 30th Precinct. A man being questioned for selling cocaine for food stamps told investigators he received the drugs from a police officer, giving investigators the break they needed to uncover a wide-ranging corruption scandal in which several officers have been convicted and sent to prison.

Gallo, who has master’s degrees in criminal justice and public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will represent the association’s members in legal and legislative matters and “will honor the memory of those agents who have come and gone,” he told Law Enforcement News.

FLEOA was formed in 1978 to provide legal advice and representation to its members. “That’s our link, our bottom line, the reason why 99 percent of the agents join us. In a serious incident, we have 24-hour access to legal counsel…. We’re just pro-agent,” Gallo said.

Other Federal criminal investigators elected during the association’s 11th national conference include: Special Agent Walter W. Wallmark, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, executive vice president; Special Agent Judith M. DeSantis, Drug Enforcement Administration, first vice president; Special Agent Gail Papure, U.S. Customs Service, second vice president; Special Agent Thomas X. Casey, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, treasurer; and Special Agent Andrew R. Rakowsky, U.S. Customs Service, secretary.

The association is currently working to get a separate pay and classification system for Federal law enforcement officers and criminal investigators, urging passage of a Federal statute that would permit a retired Federal law enforcement officer or special agent to carry a concealed weapon nationwide, and making the position of U.S. Marshal a career appointment from within the Marshals Service.


     Hitting bottom

Former McMechen, W.Va., Police Chief Robert Green is back with the town’s eight-officer Police Department  as a patrol officer.

Green returned to the Police Department, which serves a town about 15 miles south of Wheeling, on Sept. 30 after he had been demoted by Mayor William Kern following a violent run-in with officers under his command as well as Marshall County deputies who responded to a domestic disturbance call at the Green residence on Aug. 25.

Green was suspended with pay, then fired, after being charged with domestic battery in connection with the incident. When officers arrived at the residence, Green’s wife, Sally, was standing outside and showed McMechen police Sgt. Shawn Allman red marks and bruises on her body. As police and sheriff’s deputies spoke with Green on the porch of his home, he tried to leave and was placed under arrest.

Deputies tried to handcuff Green but he resisted, sparking a scuffle in which Allman’s thumb was broken. Pepper spray had to be used to subdue Green, who spent the night in jail, according to police reports.

Green pleaded not guilty to all three charges during his arraignment before Marshall County Magistrate Mark Kerwood, who released Green on $6,000 bond.

Kern appointed Lieut. Ralph Paylor to succeed Green, while Allman was promoted to lieutenant.


     One step down

Reno, Nev., Police Chief Jim Weston will soon step down from the post he has held since January 1995, but he won’t be leaving the 313-officer agency entirely. Instead, he’ll revert to his former rank of deputy chief, which provides job protections Weston had asked for as chief but which city officials declined to extend.

Weston, a 23-year veteran of the Police Department whose contract with the city expired Sept. 30, told Law Enforcement News that he decided not pursue a new contract because he was at odds with two proposed provisions  one that allows the chief to be fired “at will, without cause” and another that would prevent a chief from reverting to his former Civil Service position.

City Manager Charles McNeely refused to budge on those issues, said Weston, “so I decided not to pursue a new contract….  I’m too young to collect retirement and I don’t have another retirement behind me already like many chiefs around the country do.”

Sharon Spangler, a spokeswoman for McNeely, said the 44-year-old Chief’s demands made it impossible to come to an agreement on a new contract. “It’s kind of like he wanted to have the rights of a union employee and still be chief. It didn’t have anything to do with money, it had more to do with some of the provisions,” she said.

Weston agreed to continue to lead the agency until a successor is selected.

Weston said the Police Department has regained public confidence during his tenure. “Our public-approval ratings…in areas of performance, our image and our effectiveness with dealing with criminals are at their all-time highest levels,” he said.

The department has learned to do more with less, the Chief said. “Even though our department has fewer officers than it did six years ago, we’re doing a much better job today.”

Weston said the department’s major achievement has been a reduction in gang-related crimes. “We reduced by more than half the amount of gang crime in the community. Drive-by shootings, murders and assaults have been nearly halved in the past year because of our gang program, which has a heavy focus on intervention with youth programs, along with enforcement,” he said.

Gang crime, according to Weston, now represents just 1.3 percent of total felony crimes.

The department’s shift to a community-policing philosophy is nearly complete, Weston added. “We are a community policing-based organization from the top down. We’ve chopped out three or four ranks of supervision and flattened the organization out like is done in private industry. We’re much more responsive to the community.”

The agency still must grapple with fiscal problems that have prevented the addition of new officers, pay raises or the repair of department facilities, Weston noted. “There have been some pretty major service cuts in different areas over the years. We have a deteriorating infrastructure. We just don’t have the facilities to [adequately] staff the Police Department.”


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Published in Law Enforcement News
Nov. 30, 1996.
© 1996, LEN Inc.