Mark W. Rizzo Is Not an FBI Agent
Making its rounds through the various law enforcement training mailing lists I read, we get this odd story. One would have to be pretty crazy to impersonate an FBI agent at a conference, but Mark W. Rizzo tried it. Amazingly he signed up to teach eight different courses at the 2004 Seventh International Gang Specialist Training Conference in Chicago, IL. The good news is that they already took his name off the roster.
Other security-related organizations have picked up this story.
Update: This article gives Rizzo points to a laundry list of qualifications which turn out not to be real:
"... field representative for the American Jail Association... Board Member of the International Association of Ethics Trainers... served as a Deputy Sheriff in Pennsylvania... Administrative Aide for the Cook County Sheriff in Chicago... teaches Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science as an adjunct professor at several colleges, various police training institutions, and the National F.B.I. Academy... B.A. in Theology, M.S. in Criminal Justice, and Juris doctorate... certified trainer with the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers."
What we don't know is what really happened at the conference other than a visit by undercover investigators:
Prosecutors said Rizzo represented himself as an instructor at the FBI's Training Academy in Quantico, Va., and as a member of the FBI's National Academy. FBI officials say Rizzo has never worked for the FBI nor has he attended the academy.
He was scheduled to teach eight courses at the conference from Wednesday through Friday. Police officers from all over the world attend the conference for training and expert seminars on gangs.
When two undercover agents dressed up as husband and wife to meet Rizzo at the convention this week, he told the male agent that he "dresses more like the FBI than I do." Rizzo reportedly made reference to a firearm and badge that he left in his hotel room and said he worked for the FBI in the Behavioral Science Unit. After the FBI agents identified themselves, they said, he told them: "I lied, I don't work for the FBI."
Rizzo later told U.S. Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow that he didn't have any law enforcement credentials, "valid or invalid," but he was ordered to turn in all such identification.
I'm not willing to believe that Rizzo is a good sort but still he wasn't really trying to bust his way into the conference to cause problems. Rizzo just seems to be a motivated person trying to push the importance of chaplains to police organizations. He may have a point. He might not. His message will now be obscured by this arrest.
Posted Monday, Aug 16 2004 05:12 PM