LETTER TO GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI

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27 November 2000

Hon. George E. Pataki
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

I have been at work for some time now building support for a project on a scale worthy of my adopted Empire State, to which I am a Connecticut transplant. My late father was a Connecticut State Trooper and I take the motto of the Connecticut State Police very seriously: Qui Transtulit Sustenit Who Transplants Sustains. The project is to create an endowed academic chair within the State University of New York around which to mobilize the intellectual and technical resources of the state's institutions of higher learning in support of law enforcement in our struggle against international organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.

Through the good offices of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, this proposal has been shared with Chancellor Robert King and with the SUNY Trustees. With the help of Senator Vincent Leibell, departing Assembly Assistant Speaker Edward Griffith and Assemblyman Jack McEneny, legislation has been prepared. The Chancellor's office tells me that the Provost had already been asked to develop something similar. So we are all on track. What I want out of this is to be placed in charge of a campaign to build a generous endowment for the program using Professor Tom Constantine's international reputation as the campaign's chief marketing asset. We will also capitalize on a number of celebrated and historic firsts by our New York State Troopers and the Organized Crime Task Force in fighting organized crime.

Historically, organized crime targeted small business, using threats and intimidation to extort protection money or to force out competitors. Today, the largest and wealthiest corporations in the world may be intimidated by internationally organized criminal enterprises whose power and scope are unprecedented in history. They launder billions in criminal proceeds in our financial markets, corrupt and intimidate whole governments, have access to state-of-the-art technology including weapons of mass destruction and links to drug trafficking and terrorism. Law enforcement is not only out-gunned, it is often out-classed by opponents who play by their own rules and love nothing better than to use their power against us. For the CEO, the threat can get quite personal. You may have read the recent New York Post story on grocery mogul John Catsimatidis who expressed his concern about Russian organized crime, its network of business interests in the West and its ruthless methods. In competing with Mafiya-associated businesses, he said, these vicious criminals "can step on us at any time, like a cockroach, or have us killed." How can we have and keep a free market in this kind of climate? And what stresses does it place on our system of constitutional justice?

The next President and Congress are going to have unprecedented difficulty in governing and providing for the national interest. Developments in the Middle East and Latin America will increase the level of criminal and terrorist activity that Americans and American interests at home and abroad can expect. Law enforcement is the answer to these challenges. With our federal agencies increasingly called upon to respond to crimes against us abroad, the importance of state and local law enforcement is growing rapidly. You have been wise and generous in your support for the State Police -- our first and strongest line of defense. This year, your Administration and the leaders in the State Legislature gave us a powerful new money laundering law. I predict it will be the most far-reaching criminal justice legislation we've enacted since the Safe Streets/Safe City Act of a decade ago. But a law like that requires tapping all kinds of specialized expertise to be of full use to law enforcement and to protect our business and financial institutions. The threats we face won't be met simply by putting more Troopers on the roads. There are highways, yes; but there are cyberhighways of international commerce that must be patroled as well and they all come to New York.

These are examples of why I believe--and I hope and trust you will agree-- that it is vital that we now mobilize the intellectual resources of our institutions of higher learning into a latter day Manhattan Project to come up with the strategies and resources law enforcement will need to combat these international criminal and terrorist conspiracies.

In 1959, New York made history when Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller approved legislation that made ours the first state in the nation to require a basic training program for new police officers. In organizing the State University of New York as we know it, he also established the School of Criminal Justice, which is considered today the finest institution of its kind in the nation and has graduated such superb leaders as Tom Constantine and Colonel Ed Culhane of the Rhode Island State Police. Now is the time to show that historic leadership once again and this initiative is the way to do that.

I've been preparing for this for the past decade, learning the background and the history from the people who made it, introducing myself to law enforcement executives and academics throughout the nation and abroad as well as to key lawmakers and diplomats. My resume is a list of goals and accomplishments that I have set for myself over the years. I picked each of these initiatives and made home runs of all of them. Most of them were done, of course, under the names of others, and this one will be no exception. I have certainly had help of the finest, but I have nonetheless been the very resolute, aggressive and resourceful individual behind each campaign to get these things done. Now I am setting an even bigger goal -- a goal for all of us and our Empire State. I have demonstrated that I can be relied upon to achieve that goal on behalf of my sponsors-- and I hope that you will be one of them.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours truly,
TERRY O'NEILL

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