Cuomo Picks Investigator to Head State Police

Joseph D'Amico, who oversees 300 criminal and civil investigators, joined the attorney general's staff in early 2007

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference about recalled Toyota cars February 24, 2010 in New York City. Cuomo, thought to be a possible candidate for New York governor, has reached an agreement with the car company to provide Toyota owners in New York with alternative transportation and other perks in the aftermath of the massive recall of Toyota automobiles.

    New York Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo has picked the chief investigator from his attorney general's office to be the next superintendent of the state police.

    Joseph D'Amico, who oversees 300 criminal and civil investigators, joined the attorney general's staff in early 2007.

    Two superintendents abruptly departed following political scandals surrounding past governors' use of their security details of troopers.

    During Gov. Eliot Spitzer's two-year administration, his aides directed troopers to create a special report on the use of state aircraft by Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Spitzer's political rival.

    After a top aide to Gov. David Paterson was involved last year in a domestic incident with his girlfriend, the trooper who runs the governor's security detail phoned her. Paterson also called the woman.

    The attorney general's office investigated both cases and issued reports while D'Amico was its chief investigator. Special counsel Judith Kaye found no criminal activity by troopers or the governor in the domestic incident case.

    As attorney general, Cuomo concluded in 2009 that top state police officials dating to the Republican administration of Gov. George Pataki, who was in office from 1995 to 2006, let political considerations guide inappropriate decisions. He recommended governors make no political appointments to the force, leave personnel decisions to the superintendent, fill vacancies in that top job promptly and never sanitize official reports.

    A former New York Police Department deputy chief, D'Amico retired after 27 years of patrol and investigative assignments in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens and command of the 24-hour information and investigative support center for detectives at the scene of violent crimes.

    "Chief D'Amico brings extraordinary police credentials and a fresh prospective to the State Police which will be a significant asset in re-establishing the good reputation of this distinguished force," Cuomo said in making the announcement Wednesday.

    The state police have 5,700 employees including 4,700 officers. The acting superintendent is John Melville.

    In other staff announcements Wednesday:

    Deputy Attorney General Alphonso David will be Cuomo's deputy secretary for civil rights. He joined the attorney general's Civil Rights Bureau in 2008, is a former deputy commissioner at the state Division of Human Rights and was a staff attorney at the Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

    Richard Bamberger, spokesman for the attorney general and former WCBS-TV managing editor, will be communications director.

    Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez will be commissioner of Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. She is commissioner and director of Community Services at the Nassau County Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services.