What’s the NYPD going to do about Insp. Barry Buzzetti?
Many in the department feel that the 30-year veteran is an exemplary leader. “He is acknowledged as an outstanding commander. He has excelled at challenging assignments,” said Captains’ Endowment President Roy Richter. “But he has home-life issues that have impacted on his career.”
Those home-life issues, indeed, have been challenging. A decade ago, as a deputy inspector and the commanding officer of the 48th Precinct in the Bronx, he was stripped of command for viewing soft-core porn on his work computer after a female officer complained. Police sources say the investigation started after his wife, an ex-cop herself, accused him of carrying on with two female subordinates.
But at 1 Police Plaza, people have a different take on Buzzetti. In 2011, amid a meltdown in the 34th Precinct that led to its commanding officer being dumped after a crime surge, Buzzetti took over the station house and turned it around.
“Inspector Barry Buzzetti is a dedicated and accessible public servant who served Washington Heights and Inwood with intelligence, energy and conviction,” then-State Sen. Adriano Espaillat said at the time.
Steve Feldheim, acting president of the precinct community council, added: “I’ve been through a lot of commanding officers, but Buzzetti is one of the few real people. He gave out his phone number at meetings.”
Former Commissioner Bill Bratton transferred Buzzetti to work for Chief William Morris, said to be a tough boss. But Buzzetti’s home-life issues resurfaced. In 2015, he was arrested at his Rockland County home after allegedly assaulting his wife. Police sources say the incident was investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau. He was suspended and filed for retirement.
But then, his wife declined to press charges last year, and Buzzetti said he’s remaining in the NYPD. “He has pulled his papers,” Richter said last week.
Buzzetti was officially assigned to the Queens North Patrol Borough a few weeks ago. But according to cops there, he has yet to show up. “He’s never set foot in the building,” said one on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the veteran cop.
Asked about that, Richter said Buzzetti has been on sick leave.