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NYPD Brew: Beer Cans Found in Stationhouse Spark CSI Probe

By Murray Weiss | January 23, 2014 6:45am
 Budweisers found in a police precinct has brass flipping their lids.
Budweisers found in a police precinct has brass flipping their lids.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

THE BRONX — Call it a brew-haha.

After four empty beer cans and a chilled six-pack were discovered inside a Bronx police stationhouse, top NYPD brass called in a team of forensic experts to try to detect DNA and fingerprints, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski’s Inspections Unit summoned the scientific firepower about two weeks ago, after they were informed that Budweisers were found in a wastebasket and refrigerator in the 47th Precinct dormitory, where officers catch a few winks while waiting off-duty for their next shift to start, sources said.

Under a prohibition ordered by former Commissioner Raymond Kelly, officers are barred from having alcohol inside police facilities.

The trouble started when a Bronx patrol captain who works as an integrity officer went to the 47th Precinct looking for a uniformed lieutenant at about 2 a.m. Friday,  Jan. 10, and wandered into the dormitory area. There he found the precinct detective squad commander sleeping in a cushy chair, sources said.

The commander, who is a lieutenant, got off work about midnight and decided to sleep in the station house rather than drive home because he was due to punch in for another tour at about 8 a.m.

Sources say the two supervisors had a frosty exchange of words. The altercation was about to boil over when the captain began rummaging around the room and discovered the beers.

Despite the fact that the lieutenant was fit for duty and there was no evidence anyone had been drinking, the captain notified the chief of detectives' office, sources said.

More than a dozen detectives who worked at the precinct were quickly interrogated, virtually shutting down investigations in the north Bronx precinct, which covers Woodlawn and Wakefield, sources said.

Those interviews failed to crack the case, so officials called in forensics investigators to get more evidence.

Fingerprints of all police officers are on file at the NYPD, but not their DNA samples. It was not immediately clear what evidence, if any, was recovered.

Since then, the probe seems to have gone flat.

Michael Palladino, president of the detectives union, said, "the union does not encourage alcohol consumption, however, treating four empty beer cans in the garbage like it was the 'Dirty 30' [corruption] caper is excessive and a waste of precious time and resources."

Regardless of the probe's outcome, the incident has further strained morale within the detective ranks, and the rift between detectives and management has grown so wide a team of Clydesdales could drive right through it, sources said.

For example, the detectives union did not extend a routine invitation to Chief Pulaski to attend their annual winter gathering this weekend in upstate New York.

Palladino refused to confirm or deny the invitation issue, saying only that "our convention is taking place this weekend. Other than that, we don't discuss who attends publicly."

NYPD officials did not return calls for comment.