New York Troopers - History
Preserving the Past for Those Who Follow
 
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BUREAU OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

The BCI was formed in 1936 with the appointment of men from within the ranks. These troopers would perform their normal every day duties until a major crime was reported that required investigation. They were then assigned to work the case until a successful conclusion was reached. The eleven Troop “A” BCI men were assigned to duties at Batavia because of its central location in the troop area. In 1943, BCI Lieutenant Eugene F. Hoyt assigned BCI men to various stations within the troop. This was an effort to save money on war time restricted gasoline and tires by driving less miles and responding to crime scenes almost immediately.   

In January 1955, the BCI of Troop “A” was compromised of 22 troopers, corporals and sergeants. They were located at Batavia and the 12 substations of the troop. Assignments were made from members of the uniform force who had some years of experience in police activity and who had exhibited aptitude and initiative in investigation of crime. An extra sum of $350.00 was added to the yearly pay in lieu of uniform and clothing allowance. When additional BCI were required, a recommendation was submitted to the chief inspector by the Troop Commander and appointments are made accordingly.

When a serious crime was reported, a uniform trooper was assigned the initial investigation and determined if the BCI unit was needed. If so, a BCI investigator responded to the scene and took over the investigation until it was resolved.

As criminals became more sophisticated, special units within the Bureau were created. There was a Gambling Unit, Narcotics Unit, Polygraph Unit, Auto-Theft Unit, Major Crimes Unit & Identification Unit.

In 1985, the BCI was credited with dealing a blow to the Columbo crime family, when 25 members were indicted under Federal RICO laws and drug conspiracy. Seventeen other arrests ended a lucrative counterfeit credit card operation. 125 Hells Angels were arrested on multiple charges bringing public awareness to their ruthless, criminal involvement with drug trafficking. 

The first important case handled by Troop “A” was in November 1937, when several young couples reported having been beaten and robbed while parked at a Hamburg, N.Y. lover’s lane. The culprits on three occasions had bound, gagged and robbed the male escort and then attacked the female. The BCI men laid a carefully planned trap. They selected the locations where the crimes had taken place, then parked at these locations with one of the troopers dressed in female attire. The plan worked, as five men were taken into custody at gunpoint and placed under arrest. Four others were later charged. All served time in prison for the crimes.

 
 
1938
 
 
1938
 

 

 

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On May 4, 1935, the New York State Legislature enacted a law establishing the Bureau of Criminal Investigation within the Division of State Police for the purpose of investigating and detecting felonies within the state. The law directed that investigations be unified and coordinated, as opposed to the practice of having the county district attorney direct investigations. Politically elected district attorney's were usually untrained and inexperienced in the field of criminal investigation although their expertise in evidence procurement was invaluable. Major John Warner, Superintendent of the New York State Police was directed to provide for each of the seven troops to have an investigative bureau with a supervisor in charge of all investigative work. The supervisor’s position was full time.  He was responsible for directing the work of various experts who were retained on a consulting basis, and determine theories that were to be followed through evaluation of evidence and other clues. Bureau personnel were selected from among already trained and experienced members of the state police who had shown exceptional ability as investigators coupled with the ability to direct others in the conduct of inquiries. Each troop commander nominated the bureau supervisor.      

It was decided that it would be better to have seven units spread throughout the state instead of concentration in one Central Bureau at Albany, N.Y.  This setup would provide flexible systems overcoming the delays and difficulties of having to travel from one central point to the investigative scene. By being so spread, a more prompt response to calls for its service was possible.

Like the Federal Secret Service operatives, Superintendent Warner directed that troopers assigned to the unit remain unknown, at least for the present, identified only by numbers.

The time would come when; they would be compelled to testify in court at, which times their identity, would become known.  On May 21,1935, Eugene Hoyt, age 29 with three years army experience and a trooper since 1928 was selected to supervise the bureau in Troop “A” by Captain Winfield W. Robinson. Hoyt was last assigned at Friendship, N.Y. and would maintain an office at the Batavia barracks. Eleven troopers were selected to serve in the bureau.  They continued their patrol duties, when investigations did not require their time.

Troop "A" First Bureau Detail

Montagu Andrews                            Andrew F.Bily

Charles E. Cobb                                Michael L. Fort

Donald S. Girven                             Oscar Lazeroff

Percy K. Leitner                                Clarence J. Pasto

William T. Silage                              Vernon  R. Voight

Earl R. Wilkinson          

 

 

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