NYPD Asst. Chief, FirstNet board member moved off 911 division

Asst. Chief Charles Dowd is one of subjects of a federal investigation into FirstNet; he has been transferred to run the transit division for reasons unknown

NEW YORK — FirstNet board member and high-ranking police officer who headed New York City's 911 system has been placed on modified duty.

NY Daily News reported that NYPD Assistant Chief Charles Dowd, 59, is no longer in charge of 911 operations and was transferred to run the transit division. Chief Dowd submitted his retirement papers May 2.

Last year FirstNet's chairman Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, of Iowa, asked the inspector general's office of the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate FirstNet for its "procurement and ethics." Fitzgerald complained that some of his board members were more interested in helping phone companies land huge contracts than helping first responders.

FirstNet is a federal authority within the Commerce Department that's building a $7 billion nationwide public safety broadband network for emergency responders — Dowd sits on its board.

In 2010, Dowd was reprimanded by the NYPD for accepting "valuable gifts" from Verizon when it was vying for a big-bucks contract to modernize the 911 system, according to the report. Department of Investigation probers concluded that Verizon, hoping to snag a $1 billion contract, had wined and dined Dowd and others at expensive restaurants, treated them to golf outings and at least one baseball game, according to the report.

His removal followed a meeting about the problems that have been plaguing the system — despite the $2 billion devoted to overhauling and modernizing New York's 911 operation, according to the report.

Earlier this year, NYPD Captains Dennis Roy and Christopher Duval, who worked for Dowd and had been interviewed by investigators of the FirstNet probe, retired. The reasons for the resignations and the transfer are unclear. 

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