Who was that sitting in on two recent Compstat meetings at police headquarters? It was none other than former NYPD chief of department Louis Anemone, known to readers of this column as the Dark Prince.
With the great Jack Maple, the late deputy police commissioner, Anemone is regarded as the architect of Compstat, which under Bill Bratton became shorthand for department accountability. Compstat, in turn, contributed to the city's dramatic crime-rate decline.
Those early days of Compstat, run by Anemone and Maple, were wild affairs. Maple's and Anemone's grilling of hapless commanders became so raw that fistfights erupted. At one meeting, someone threw a chair. After Anemone insulted an assistant district attorney from Brooklyn, then-District Attorney Joe Hynes wrote a formal letter of complaint to Bratton.
At another meeting, Anemone and Maple accused then-chief of detectives Charlie Reuther of "treason" and "heresy." At yet another, the then-newly appointed Brooklyn borough south commander, Tosano Simonetti, began explaining how he had begun reducing crime. On a screen behind him, Anemone flashed a computerized drawing of Pinocchio with his nose growing.
Anemone got his comeuppance. Bratton's successor, Howard Safir, promoted Simonetti to first deputy commissioner, jumping him over Anemone. That was the beginning of Anemone's end.