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NYPD: Brass retires after discipline in corruption probe

NYPD Deputy Chief John Sprague, left, and NYPD

NYPD Deputy Chief John Sprague, left, and NYPD Inspector Peter DeBlasio, the two NYPD officers recently modified in connection with the police corruption probe, have retired in a deal worked out with the department. Credit: NYPD

Two high ranked NYPD officers who were disciplined in the ongoing corruption probe have been allowed to retire and will be given good conduct letters as part of arrangement worked out with agency officials, a department spokesman said.

The two cops, Deputy Chief John Sprague and Inspector Peter DeBlasio had been placed on modified duty — stripped of their guns and shields — after declining to testify before a federal grand jury looking into allegations of police corruption, said officials earlier.

Neither officer had been accused of any wrongdoing in the probe and Sprague’s attorney Michael Farkas had said that his client was willing to talk with police internal affairs investigators. DeBlasio’s attorney Barry Slotnick couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sprague was considered a rising star in the NYPD and had been tapped last year by Commissioner William Bratton to lead a new force investigation unit. The department is currently interviewing candidates to replace Sprague, said the spokesman. DeBlasio, no relation to the mayor, had been working in the Patrol Borough Brooklyn South command.

As part of their retirement deal, Sprague and DeBlasio will be getting a so-called “good guy” letter which allows them to have retired police identification cards and the right to have a firearm as retirees, said the spokesman. Such good standing letters are important because they indicate that an officer who retires essentially served honorably.

Bratton noted that two high-ranked officers who had been arrested Monday in the investigation, deputy chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant, would retire by the end of this week but wouldn’t receive good standing letters. Their attorneys have denied that they committed any wrongdoing. They are currently out on bail.

The continuing corruption probe is looking into allegations of bribery involving the NYPD pistol licensing unit and illegal gifts and payments to some officers by two politically connected businessman active in Borough Park.

One of the businessmen, Jona Reichnitz, has plead guilty in connection with the joint FBI and IAB probe and is cooperating with investigators, officials and court records indicated. Businessman Jeremy Reichberg was arrested on Monday on the same federal criminal complaint filed against Harrington and Grant accusing them of being involved in an offense of “honest services” fraud. Reichberg’s attorney has also denied any wrongdoing.

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