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On November 15, after this piece had gone to print, the New York Police Department announced that Deputy Chief Michael Osgood would be removed from the Special Victims Division and sent to Staten Island to run the Patrol Division. Mary Haviland, the executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, told the Daily News that the city was “losing a very innovative, creative leader around sexual assault.” “This is not the move you would make if stopping rape is a priority,” another infuriated victims advocate told me. “These men [NYPD brass] are sending the message loud and clear: they don’t care.”

For years, Osgood had been asking his bosses for more manpower, better training, and more appropriate facilities for the SVD. He cooperated with a yearlong probe by the independent Department of Investigation (DOI), which found that the SVD was woefully understaffed, inadequately trained, and using facilities that were cramped, unsanitary, and completely inappropriate for traumatized victims. 

According to people close to Osgood, he knew that speaking up about the under-staffing and neglect of the SVD could lead to retaliation from the department. “He did it anyway,” the victims’ advocate said, “because he feels so strongly about the devastation caused by rape and the need to have a well-functioning division.” Osgood had hoped to turn the deeply flawed SVD into a world class investigatory unit, a model for other police departments, much like he did with HCTF.

Read Kathy Dobie’s Letter from New York.

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February 2011

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