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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2023 All rights reserved
December 06, 2023

     Wray needs to go quickly.  In the classic good cop-bad cop scenario, two officers working together take different paths to reach the same goal: to get the suspect to confess.

      Americans witnessed a version of that scenario, although with crucial distinctions.  Major law-enforcement events showcased the real-world difference between actual good cops and actual bad cops. The good cops made an arrest in the cold-case murders of three young women on Long Island.  Solving cases more than a decade old doesn’t happen without an exhaustive combination of old-fashioned shoe-leather effort and the modern marvel of DNA technology.

     Both played huge roles in the arrest of Rex Heuermann, a 59-year-old married architect and father of two who lived not far from where his alleged victims were dumped.  He also could be charged with killing a fourth woman whose remains were found near those of the other three.  Among the many reasons the trail went cold was that Heuermann was not an obvious suspect.  A former neighbor saw a man “living a double life,” telling NBC News: “You know, the regular guy who goes to work, has kids in the local school and in a good neighborhood, but he’s killing people on the side.”  

     The breakthroughs started soon after January 2022, when a new Suffolk County police commissioner formed a special team of investigators to focus on finding a serial killer.  Cops got a break when they learned Heuermann owned a Chevrolet Avalanche, described by witnesses as the vehicle driven by the killer of one of the four women, all of whom worked as prostitutes.  The break resulted in more than 300 subpoenas and search warrants, with probers going through his burner phone records, Internet searches and trash cans.

     They also followed the suspect.  As The Post put it, investigators “struck gold on Jan. 26, 2023, when surveillance teams pulled Heuermann’s leftover pizza crust from a garbage can along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.”  DNA on the pizza linked Heuermann to a man’s hair found on a piece of burlap wrapped around one of the victims, prosecutors say.  This is dogged and brilliant police work, the stuff of legend and why people in small towns and big cities alike trust their local cops and want more of them. Unfortunately, another side of law enforcement was also on display last week.  This one involved FBI Director Christopher Wray, whose tenure increasingly resembles that of his predecessor, James Comey, whose sneering self-righteousness made him the very definition of a bad cop.  

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