How Nassau cops are supervised under question after ex-cop's on-duty affair
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Now-retired Officer Michael Tedesco used his patrol vehicle's technology and his own knowledge of Nassau County Police Department bureaucracy to spend nearly 75 percent of some shifts carrying on dalliances in his mistresses' homes, according to the indictment -- raising questions of how Nassau cops are supervised.
Instead of patrolling his post and responding to emergencies -- ranging from a possible heart attack to an underage drinking party to suspicious persons -- Tedesco would signal to dispatchers that he was en route to a call but not leave his mistresses' homes; in one call, he stayed for more than a half-hour, prosecutors said.
In another call, he simply never showed up, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice: A young woman's complaint in fall 2011 that a suspicious person was knocking at her door -- a call to which Tedesco claimed to be en route -- went unanswered.
Dispatchers thought that Tedesco, an 18-year veteran of the force, was en route to the scenes because he'd push a button on a screen in his car saying so. A GPS positioning system would automatically update dispatchers when he'd arrive on the scene. But he wouldn't update his status upon his departure, carving out extra time for himself to spend with the mistresses, according to prosecutors.
On some occasions when supervisors thought he was busy performing a specialized assignment -- cracking down on a rash of burglaries or monitoring a constantly-run stop sign or a rowdy bar notorious for drunken driving -- he was actually with the mistresses, prosecutors said. During such specialized assignments, called directed patrol assignments, the officers are generally unavailable to dispatchers to be sent on emergency calls.
That Tedesco was able to visit the mistresses' homes 80 times before getting caught raises questions about how the department supervises its officers, said Eugene O'Donnell, a former city officer and now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
"Whether they have cause or not to believe that he's goofing off, there should be a capacity systematically to check on everybody on the road to see if there are any egregious indicators that people are not where they should be."
In a statement, Nassau's county executive, Edward Mangano, said: "I was alarmed at the allegations and directed the police commissioner to take swift action. The case is now in the hands of the people to determine the truth and depth of these charges."
Asked to elaborate, Mangano's spokesman declined, citing an unfinished probe. The police department's chief spokesman, Insp. Kenneth Lack, also cited "ongoing criminal and internal affairs investigations" and declined to comment.
Among the unanswered questions are:
How did Tedesco manage to avoid detection so many times when police cruisers are monitored with GPS tracking?
Was public safety jeopardized because of Tedesco's allegedly delayed responses?
Were fellow officers complicit in helping Tedesco cover his tracks?
Have department brass changed the way it monitors police officers?
With Ann Givens
and Robert Brodsky