Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks in Hauppauge on Nov. 5.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks in Hauppauge on Nov. 5. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

In her article, “An ‘administration’ of justice gone wrong” [Dec. 22] after the convictions of former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and former chief aide Christopher McPartland in their efforts to conceal James Burke’s criminality, Nicole Fuller provided a good synopsis of the case and the events that led to the guilty verdicts.

However, one thing that seems to have been missing from Newsday’s reporting on this case is the fact that were it not for County Executive Steve Bellone, Burke would never have become chief of department for the Suffolk County Police Department.

Even though Bellone received a letter outlining some of Burke’s sordid past, he chose to ignore that and subsequent Newsday articles regarding Burke’s internal affairs history, and not do any further digging into these serious allegations when making this selection. At one point, Bellone was even quoted in a Newsday article as saying that “Any person that I would select as commissioner would love Jim Burke. And if they don’t, then they wouldn’t match up with the kind of commissioner that I want.”

Although he may not have been involved in the criminal cover-up, Bellone has sole responsibility for making Burke the chief, and Bellone is not a victim as he now seems to want to portray himself.

Joseph Blaettler,



Editor’s note: The writer retired in 2010 as commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.