Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

Friday's Heroes - Remembering the fallen officers


The Graveyard Shift extends its condolences to the family of this brave officer.

Officer Michael J. Califano, 44

Nassau County New York Police Department

February 4, 2011 – Officer Michael Califano was seated inside his patrol car, writing a traffic summons for the driver of a box truck, when he was rear-ended by a tow truck. The front of his police car was pushed under the box truck, and the tow truck came to rest on top of the officer’s car. He had to be extricated by rescue personnel who then transported him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries the next day, February 5, 2011.

Officer Califano is survived by his wife and three children.

21 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    True, JT, but murder cases for the FBI are not the norm. And, these (the federal cases you mentioned) are not the cases you typically see in crime novels.

  2. JT Ellison
    JT Ellison says:

    This is an excellent primer – but there are circumstaces where the FBI will be the lead investigative agency on a murder – murder of government officials, murders that tie directly to cases they are working on (federal witnesses) and murders on federal land. Definitely not how TV portrays it, but it does happen.

  3. Chester Campbell
    Chester Campbell says:

    Enjoyed your post, Lee. In my new Post-Cold War thriller, Beware the Jabberwock, I have an ex-FB I agent based on a guy I knew years ago who did some wild things under J. Edgar Hoover. They weren’t your normal assignments.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Sure, Elaine. Lots of police agencies hire outside contractors to perform various duties, including some investigative duties. I’ve been approached many times to work as a consultant on various cases.

  5. Elaine Abramson
    Elaine Abramson says:

    Hi Lee,

    Both the FBI and the IRS hire outside contractors to help with cases. Fine and Decorative Arts Appraisers are hired to authenticate objet d’art, put a value on it, identify stolen art, identify forgeries, etc.

  6. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Sally – The FBI assists local department all the time, and local officers are often members of FBI task forces. For example, one of the WPA presenters from last year, Lt. Josh Moulin, is currently the commander of an FBI cyber crimes task force, yet he actually works for an Oregon police department.

    Di – It’s been a long time since I lived in Ohio, and even then it was only for one year. I do, however, have lots of connections and contacts throughout the state.

  7. Di Eats the Elephant
    Di Eats the Elephant says:

    Wonderful as ever, Lee. Thanks go to Sheila for prodding me a bit to make sure I read this one. I could spend each day reading your posts, new and old. Lots of great info! Glad to know you’re from my backyard, too. (I’m in Greene County OH.)

  8. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Good info as usual, Lee, and thanks for setting us writers straight (but didn’t “Castle” have an FBI agent as well the CIA come in to assist NYPD–oh, never mind, that’s TV, doesn’t count in the “realistic” department). The list of FBI cases you provided has plenty of writer fodder as is. I’d like to see some mystery authors take on the “public corruption” cases. Writers could have fun with that one!

  9. Patricia Smith Wood
    Patricia Smith Wood says:

    Thanks for this great post, Lee. One of the wonderful opportunities open to writers is attending their local FBI field office’s annual FBI Citizens Academy. In Albuquerque it’s an eight-week course, one night a week, for 3 or 4 hours. It includes briefings about FBI jurisdictions, types of investigations, history of the Bureau, and job opportunities. They even include a session on FATS training ( where the students learn what it’s like to decide to fire or not to fire their weapons) and a day at the shooting range getting to fire FBI weapons. When you graduate and receive your certificate, you will have a much better education about the reality of the FBI and how they function. It’s a fantastic experience I highly recommend to all writers of mystery, crime and thrillers!

  10. sz
    sz says:

    Must ad to bucket list. Visit Dinglebop !

    Great post Lee. I too like Criminal Minds shows. And NCIS. However know it is just television.

  11. Dave Bennett
    Dave Bennett says:

    Thanks for this Lee. I’ve been watching reruns of “Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye” and I think perhaps they have things more or less correct as to what FBI agents do. Anyway, they seem to have had an awful lot of anti-terrorism episodes. It’s the sort of things you mentioned at the beginning that prompted my snarky DorothyL comment a few days ago :O)

  12. David B. Schlosser
    David B. Schlosser says:

    Pat Brown – counterfeiting is handled by the Secret Service, which until recently was a branch of the US Treasury Department. It is now part of the Department of Homeland Security.

  13. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Oh my gosh, I am laughing my head off here and so red faced that I may have influenced this priceless blog just a little bit. What a service you perform, Lee. I just want you to know I can’t find Matlock and Barney Miller these days. Are these reputable sources, do you reckon? Funny post. I’m tweeting this!

  14. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Jennifer – If you read today’s article then you do have the answers to your questions. This isn’t my opinion. Instead, it’s how things are actually done and always have been done. Nothing new. No new policies. No murder investigations (with the exception of death of federal employees, such as on-duty FBI agents, senators, the president, etc.) unless they partner with a local agency. It’s just not what they’re set up to do.

    By the way, though, the FBI has offices located all across the country and in U.S territories.

  15. Jennifer Brink
    Jennifer Brink says:

    I often wonder when reading/watching stories involving the FBI, ‘Why this crime? How did they find out about this? Why would the FBI travel across the country to find murders to solve when they are officed in D.C.?’ Then I wonder if people who write these things read/watch the news or do basic research before putting it out there. My answer to myself has just been, maybe that’s how they did it way back in the day and the writing community doesn’t realize that like many other things the FBI job description has changed. I still don’t know the answer but you’re reasoning sounds good too.

  16. William Simon
    William Simon says:

    Thank you VERY much for this, Lee. I cannot tell you how many people have asked a question, I give them a realistic answer, and 8 out of 10 times, the response is, “But that’s not how it works on CRIMINAL MINDS!”

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