Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has announced his choice for new police chief: Brandon del Pozo, a veteran of 18 years with the New York City Police Department. He has, as they say, risen rapidly through the NYPD ranks; his current post is Commanding Officer in the Strategic Initiatives Office.
Hmm. The most famous NYPD “strategic initiative” I know of is its free-range intelligence unit, which routinely ignores jurisdictional boundaries in its search for potential terrorists. According to a 2011 report on NPR, NYPD Intelligence has “teams of undercover officers… who basically just troll ethnic neighborhoods. …They also have informants known as mosque crawlers” who serve as “the eyes and ears of the police department inside the mosques.”
The latter, notes NPR, would “seem to violate the federal privacy act.” It further notes that the unit is “creative in ways that come right up against the line of what the federal government or other police departments either can do, or feel comfortable doing.”
The expansionist NYPD even has an intell office in the Middle East, which seems like quite a stretch for a city police force.
Wait a minute, Mr. del Pozo himself claims credit for that.
From his LinkedIn profile:
Created the NYPD’s intelligence post covering the Arab Middle East, based out of Amman, Jordan. Conducted work in Jordan, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Responded to terrorist incidents in Jordan and India. Exchanged information and intelligence with foreign governments. Briefed executives to assist in the formulation of counterterrorism and intelligence policy.
So Miro wants to hire an NYPD superspy as little old Burlington’s top cop. Seems a curious choice.
del Pozo has also been involved in an NYPD effort to develop a “super smart car” for routine police duties:
The Ford Hybrid cruiser can scan license plates, link up to databases at police headquarters, has built-in radiation detectors and can digitally record everything it sees from its windshield, according to Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo of the NYPD’s Project Management Office.
… The scanner has a real-time link to the NYPD’s computers and databases, so it can alert cops if it spies upon a license plate that’s been reported stolen, has been used in a crime, or has outstanding tickets.
Ooh, a robot car that scans license plates and is constantly linked to HQ. So I guess the car can just drive around the city scanning all the plates and red-flagging those involved in crimes or with “outstanding tickets.” That’d boost a city’s ticket-collection revenue. Of course, it might raise a hackle or two in freedom-lovin’ Vermont. Paging Allen Gilbert. Would Allen Gilbert please pick up the red courtesy phone?
On the other hand, he has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Dartmouth, so I guess he has a touchy-feely side. And, per the Burlington Free Press, he has “spent time in Vermont in summer and winter for rock and ice climbing, camping and skiing.”
Y’know, whenever a flatlander gets hired for a high-profile post in Vermont, they make sure to mention ties to Vermont, no matter how flimsy or ancient. Try to make him seem like a homeboy, I guess.
Generally, del Pozo has moved around the NYPD org chart on a regular basis, rarely holding a job for more than a year or two. Which isn’t necessarily a sign that he’s got itchy feet or an alienating management style; maybe it’s just the way things work when you’re a rising star. And maybe he’s ready to get off the big-city merry-go-round and settle down in a nice little town with no need for an intrusive and planet-encompassing intelligence unit or super-snooper cop cars. But again, it seems like a curious choice.
I’ll be interested to hear more about why Brandon del Pozo is the best person for the job.