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NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Country's Greatest Police Force Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 21, 2009

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Starred Review. When he covered the NYPD for Newsday, Levitt had access to all levels of the country's largest law enforcement agency, and now the Edgar winner (Conviction) catalogues dirty cops and departmental scandals. While he doesn't withhold credit where it's due (such as in the World Trade Center attacks), Levitt is most interested in the corrupt underbelly of America's largest police department. [S]acrificing truth for image while acting in secrecy is the department's M.O., he says. Both the 1970s Knapp Commission corruption hearings and the Mollen Commission in the 1990s underscored that dirty cops weren't confined to the lower ranks—the dishonesty reached all the way to the highest echelons. Examining some of the department's most notorious acts of violence—e.g., the torturing of Abner Louima, the shooting death of the unarmed Amadou Diallo—he has little praise for supposedly tough-on-crime mayor Giuliani. Some readers' eyes may cross at the sheer abundance of names and dates (a time line offers some help), but Levitt's account is an engrossing in-depth look at scandal inside the NYPD. (July)
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"This is a veteran reporter's inside story about the New York City Police Department. It's a fascinating read. I couldn't put it down. Leonard Levitt delves into the murky backroom deals of City Hall, and the missing pieces to the NYPD's corruption fall skillfully into place."
--Frank Serpico
"One thing you can be sure of: 35,000 New York cops always were the first to read Lenny Levitt's stories every time. It was true comedy to watch him, small and with a big pad, go down the hall in headquarters as top officials, brass jangling, egos scraping the ceiling, flew into their offices. Levitt's book also is depressing when he tells of an innocent being shot. Amadou Diallo was shot forty-one times by police in his Bronx doorway. The case was moved to Albany, where the only thing you could say about a cop was 'not guilty.' You will read every page of this book, as I did."
--Jimmy Breslin
"When you read about the political and personal agendas at the top of the NYPD, it makes you feel sorry for the honest copys who signed on to protect and serve."
--Bob Ingle, coauthor of The Soprano State
"Len Levitt's behind-the-scenes account of the NYPD is in the tradition of hard-hitting New York police reporters such as Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens. I find his work fascinating."
--Thomas Reppeto, former president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, and coauthor of NYPD: A City and Its Police
"Eye-opening reporting on America’s largest and most powerful police force."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Want to always feel in the know? Len Levitt's website is the place to go. Controversial, informative, insightful: he never hesitates to tackle an issue or render an opinion." --WILLIAM BRATTON, Chief of Police, LAPD, former Police Commissioner, NYPD
"Lenny Levitt is the Walter Winchell of the NYPD. Some love to read him. Some hate to read him. But everybody reads him." --JOHN MILLER, Assistant Director, FBI, former NYPD spokesman
"Love him or hate him, Len Levitt is required reading for many within the ranks of the NYPD, present and past." --Chief JOHN F. TIMONEY, Miami Police Department and former NYPD First Deputy Commissioner

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312380321
  • ASIN: B003STCR74
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,394,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Vernon J. Geberth on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Power and Corruption in the Country's Greatest Police Force

NYPD Confidential by Leonard Levitt certainly didn't spare any criticisms of the "Brass" at One Police Plaza or even City Hall for that matter. So, Levitt shouldn't have been surprised that the Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly and the other two major subjects of his book, Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg didn't respond to his request for interviews. Levitt was already on record as having criticized them in his news editorials. Commissioner Kelly even had previously revoked his press credentials after a negative article that Levitt wrote about Kelly. Welcome to the New York City Police Department. "When your in you're a Guest when your out you're a Pest."

I spent twenty-two and a half years in the NYPD in a number of special assignments from the elite Tactical Patrol Force making my way up the ladder through the Detective Division and retiring as the Commander of Bronx Homicide. I can personally attest to what happens to anyone who criticizes the "High Command." I was there during many of the scandals that Lenny describes in his book. Although I thought that I knew most of what had taken place and some of the inside stories behind the news, I was amazed at how much I didn't know after I read Lenny's book. There are certainly some eye-opening details in this book that reveal the naked ambitions of some of the most powerful people I served under during my career with the NYPD. However, one thing I did notice is that Lenny didn't get everything right. That was probably because he was looking at the event through the eyes of a reporter and not a cop. Needless to say, as a dedicated law enforcement professional I found some of the revelations embarrassing.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By LEON L CZIKOWSKY on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent historical and critical look about good and bad police practices from a journalist who has spent years in the forefront overseeing New York police operations. He recalls how John Guido, head of NYPD Internet Affairs for 15 years, observed that corruption has been a part of the New York police culture. Detective Frank Serpico went public with corruption which led to the Knapp Commission in 1970 that found corruption at all levels. There was a continuation of corrupt practices discovered by the Lexom Commission in the 1890s. Police were known to shake down the public and criminals. The Knapp Commission discovered officers known as "grass eaters" and "meat eaters" depending on the degree of corrupt practices in which they engaged. The police had a culture of covering up their misdoings. Reports were altered to make the police falsely appear correct. The highest uniformed officer, the Chief Inspector, admitted to receiving improper gifts from business leaders. Reports of corruption were reported to Mayor John Lindsay, who looked the other way in hopes of keeping the police ready in case of riots, which did occur.

Ironically, after the Knapp Commission, police leadership focused more on preventing policy corruption than on fighting crime. There was less managerial concern about the rising crime rate than on avoiding corrupt practices. Precinct cops and squad detectives were steered away from making drug arrests, which had led to kickbacks. Instead, arrests were made by specialized units, which resulted in decreased arrest rates. Broken police command led to tragic consequences.

The police were left to continue monitoring themselves. Yet, 33 officers were convicted of drug related charges.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rick on August 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Levitt's new book NYPD Confidential is a no holds barred look into the NYC Police Department and the corruption, collusion and relationships among mayors, mobsters and politicians. Noone is spared, not mayors,chiefs of police,politicians both local and national, district attorneys or mobsters.
Levitt names names and places and his sources are both named and unamed. Noone has yet denied or disputed any accusations made in this book.
As a NYC resident during the three decades covered in the book I can attest to the voluminous cases of police and political corruption reported so frequently in the daily newspapers. Levitt, however, goes much further into the details of what went on as well as shocking new allegations against people in power that the public was never aware of until now.
This is a very powerful book and I strongly suggest that any person that believes that power does not corrupt will surely change their minds after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. C Sheehy on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Levitt has written a book which is less an expose and more a study of how polices forces have been run in this country during the past 40 to 50 years. While his expertise is the NYPD he could have just have easily been the LAPD, Boston Police or NOPD all of which have had similar style coverage during the past few years. Where Levitt is truly exception is how well he knows everyone from the commissioner down to the rank and file. He knows exactly what he is writing about and most importantly seems to have created a climate of trust within the police force that he is able to break the fabled "blue wall of silence."

This is a very readable and highly interesting book. Levitt does not try to portray the police has totally corrupt, nor does he overlook the minor failing which resulted in major problems. He recognizes the cases of police officers who have been sacrificed in the name of political expediency while recognizing the cases of senior level people who have been forced out as much for their being right as anything else.

This is a very interesting book and I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in how a police force really works.
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