The SCU and Dave Dean (UPDATED)
OK. I can do that.
The one poster, anonymous 4:27 p.m. on the last post, got it partially correct.
The SCU worked so well because of Dave Dean, and part of why he made it work so well was because he, with Chief Nick Kaiser's (my mistake, I thought it was under Tedesco) blessing, picked who he thought was right for the job. In other words, it wasn’t up to what cop had seniority it was up to who was the best fit or the SCU.
Sometimes they would be in uniform strutting their stuff so people in the “good” people in the neighborhoods could see them. Other times they would be hiding in the bushes staking out a known drug dealer just waiting for him to make a sale before they pounced. Other times they would make arrests for little things like jaywalking and loitering just to see if those who dared cross a street outside the white lines or hung out on the corner were up to something more sinister. Often times they were.
In the end, it was an extremely effective unit because the bad guys knew who they were and the bad guys really didn’t want to mess with them. They made a ton of arrests, and I’m sure they weren’t too nice about things in the process. In other words, as Dean told Metroland, he wasn’t afraid “to use his elbows.” As such, when the unit was first formed, he picked other guys with the same crime fighting philosophy, so to speak, without worrying about who had what seniority.
However, I don’t think then Mayor Harry Tutunjian disbanded the SCU because it became a waste of money. I think it was more part of the ongoing feud between the chief and the PBA. Also, while the SCU did make a ton of arrests, I don’t think it’s absence is the reason behind the recent spate the city is experiencing, or even if there is a statistically significant spike. Furthermore, while the SCU was effective, some of its techniques did cross the line of fighting crime into stomping on civil liberties. I guess it’s a balancing act the SCU under Dean tipped in towards fighting crime.
However, it did work and it's not like they were targetting choir boys and/or girls.
As a note: I've gotten some comments about how the officers bid into the SCU and have talked to some people and I honestly don't remember. I could have sworn the members were picked rather than allowed to bid into the unit based on seniority but I could be wrong.
What I do know is that after it was created by Dave Dean, the leadership position did go out to bid and it went to Sgt. Guido Gabriel, who had more seniority. The city didn't like how it was going - or at least liked how it was going better under Dean and put Dean back in. The PBA sued, won $5,000 and Gabriel was back in charge.