Black Detectives’ Case: The New York Police Dept. Responds

To The New York Times Editor:

Re “Black Detectives in New York Say Cronyism Cost Promotions” (front page, Sept. 22):

We take issue with your article about promotions for black detectives in the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Bureau. Advancement within the rank of detective is an earned discretionary acknowledgment of professional capabilities and accomplishments. This is especially true in the Intelligence Bureau.

There is a structured promotion process in which supervisors of various units within the bureau recommend promotions. The list is winnowed as it moves up the chain of command. Two of the detectives who filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were promoted before the department was even aware of their claim.

Thomas Galati, the chief of intelligence, is one of the reasons New York City is remarkably safe from crime and terrorism. Chief Galati is respected for his fairness. The claim that second-grade detective slots in the bureau were being filled by friends of the chief is preposterous.

When presented with the Police Department’s response to the E.E.O.C. complaint, the Justice Department declined to prosecute this case because there is no case. N.Y.P.D. records for the recent 10-year period show that black third-grade detectives in the Intelligence Bureau were, on average, promoted roughly a year sooner than their colleagues, not because they were friends of a chief, but because they accomplished remarkable things.

JAMES P. O’NEILL, NEW YORK

The writer is the New York City police commissioner.