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Friday, March 18, 2011

Embattled Commander of Bronx's 52nd Precinct Replaced

D'Adamo at his desk at the 52nd Precinct in early 2010.
New York City precinct commanders, by rule, don't stay in their jobs long -- two, maybe three years, tops. Then, they move on. It's an unofficial policy the NYPD employs to avoid stagnation or possible corruption.

On Monday, however, the commanding officer of the 52n Precinct, Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo was replaced less than 17 months after taking over the job and less than a month after his wife was caught lying to Clarkstown police about being attacked, a story that made headlines in the city and upstate.

The 40-year-old D'Adamo -- a rising star in the NYPD who took on his first commanding role as head of the 50th Precinct in 2008 at the age of 37 -- will be replaced by Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling, formerly the commanding officer of Manhattan's 33rd Precinct, which covers Washington Heights. On Tuesday night, Dowling introduced himself at Community Board 7's general board meeting at Scott Towers in Bedford Park. Dowling said he spent more than five years at his last post.

It happened so quickly, the NYPD has yet to change the information on its website. That isn't surprising, but D'Adamo's tenure in the Five-Two does appear to have come to an abrupt end. 

A series of unfortunate events led up to D'Adamo's departure.

Last fall, reports surfaced saying he was being investigated for possibly fixing parking tickets for family and friends. Internal Affairs was conducting a citywide probe into ticket fixing, but D'Adamo was one of the only commanders called out by name. (D'Adamo brushed off the allegations, saying he wouldn't be surprised if someone had an ax to grind against him and hinting that his leadership style may not be going over well with the rank-and-file officers at his new precinct. D'Adamo said he was changing the culture at the Five-Two.)

In the winter, it became apparent that D'Adamo's precinct was not immune to a citywide spike in violent crime. Murders, rapes and felony assaults rose significantly last year in the Five-Two.

On Valentine's Day, D'Adamo's wife went to Clarkstown police to say she had been attacked by two black men. It was reported that the NYPD was looking into whether the attack was related to allegations that D'Adamo was having an affair with another female officer. The next day, Tsui D'Adamo said she had made up the story, that the wounds were self-inflicted and also that she had slashed her husband's tires.Later, she was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. The city's tabloids ate it up.

Following the incident, rumors began swirling when D'Adamo did not attend the scheduled meeting of the 52nd Precinct Council in late February, which he usually shows up for. Early last week, council members said D'Adamo missed the meeting because he was out on vacation. He was back at work last week and said he was too busy to talk when reached by phone.

The NYPD press office did not respond to questions about D'Adamo departure.

On Wednesday, Dowling said he took no pleasure in taking over for a commander who left under murky circumstances. He said D'Adamo had been re-assigned to the Manhattan South division, but didn't know what position he had assumed there.

D'Adamo did not return calls seeking comment for this article. 


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