Eddy Coello and Tina Adovasio

Eddy Coello and Tina Adovasio Credit: Handout

A serious problem is highlighted in the case of former New York City housing police officer Edwin Coello, suspected of the murder of his wife, Tina Adovasio ["Murder charge for ex-cop," News, March 23]. Whenever we hear "person of interest," we should know that is cop talk for primary suspect.

Coello was not fired in 2000 by the New York Police Department (on suspicion of assaulting his former girlfriend), but was reportedly forced to resign. When police officers charged with serious offenses "resign" (instead of being fired), it makes it possible for them to hide a violent past from future employers or anyone who checks into their backgrounds. When a corrupt or violent officer is allowed to resign, the police department is not required to divulge the specifics of the former cop's violent or criminal background.

In the past, creative liars have been able to use their disgraced police careers as steppingstones to get good jobs in security and other fields that would have been closed to them if their employers had known the real reasons they "resigned" from the NYPD.

Of course, even the termination of an officer after a police department trial is no guarantee that an employer who fails to perform a thorough background check won't get fooled. In one instance, it took a call from someone in the NYPD's legal division to alert one employer to a former cop's background. That notification would not have been made if this fired police officer had been allowed to resign from the job.

No one should have the right to hide a violent or criminal background from someone who has a legitimate interest in that person's past, i.e., an employer, future spouse or social club. Police departments should not help such former employees hide their dangerous pasts from potential victims.

Michael J. Gorman


Editor's note: The writer is a retired NYPD lieutenant and an attorney.