At our next Town Meeting, we will be honoring John Russo, NYPD Lieutenant Commander – Detective Squad, whose keen intuition helped crack the Karina Vetrano case.
Russo, 41, was born in Brooklyn to John and Jeannette Russo who moved the family to Maspeth in 1977. His parents still reside there. John’s sister, Jennifer, is a NYC Public School Guidance Counselor.
John grew up in and around Maspeth and Middle Village spending lots of time in local parks, riding bikes, skateboarding, and making life-long friends. He attended PS 229 grammar school and IS 73 middle school and graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School. He attended Queens College from 1993-1997, but left mid-semester to enter the Police Academy.
John still lives in Queens, and currently resides in Howard Beach with his wife of 12 years, Christine, and 2 little girls – Isabella, 9 years old and Francesca, 4 years old. Both attend local public school.
A stellar career After graduating from the academy, John was assigned to the 17th precinct and was chosen in late 1999 for assignment to the plain clothes anti-crime unit at the precinct. He received Police Officer of the Month awards twice in 2000. In July 2001, he was chosen by the precinct commander for assignment to the 17th Precinct’s Detective Squad as a “white-shield investigator”. During this period, he responded to and worked on the WTC and Landfill recovery sites.
Before being promoted to Sergeant, John amassed over 130 arrests and received a Detective of the Year award in 2002.
In January 2003, John was promoted to Detective 3rd Grade and in August 2003 he was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to 1st Precinct Patrol. After a short time, he was assigned as the 1st Pct Field Intelligence Officer (FIO). In September of 2004 he was transferred to the Intelligence Division as the 1st Pct FIO. A short time later he was chosen to be the Intelligence Division (now Intelligence Bureau) representative to the newly formed Manhattan South Grand Larceny Initiative. In this role, alongside his counterparts, he developed the 1st “video library” used to compare images of wanted perps and arrested perps for intelligence purposes.
In May of 2005 John was reassigned to the Intelligence Division where he prepared and delivered a daily briefing to the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and other executives. As a result of this, he also holds Top Secret Clearance with the FBI.
On June 27, 2008 he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to the 9th Precinct. In February of 2009 he was transferred to the 13th Precinct Detective Squad and designed as Commanding Officer.
In September 2010, John was transferred to the Chief of Detectives’ office to act as the Detective Bureau Investigative Coordinator and to prepare and deliver a daily crime briefing to the Chief of Detectives. He also acts as liaison to the Chief of Department and Police Commissioner’s offices for crime updates. Other duties include supervising Detective Bureau Operations Desk and front office staff.
On August 3, 2012 John was promoted to Lieutenant Commander – Detective Squad. John has received 5 awards for Exemplary Police Duties throughout his career.
One good cop: Hard work nails Karina Vetrano's killer
Editorial from the NY Daily News, February 6, 2017
Karina Vetrano’s loved ones have holes in their hearts that will never heal. But dogged police work looks to have gotten cops a huge step closer to justice in the murder of the Queens jogger.
A month ago, the case seemed to have gone cold. That’s when Lt. John Russo — a 19-year NYPD veteran who, like the Vetranos, lives in Howard Beach — recalled a young man he’d found lurking around parked cars near Spring Creek Park, the scene of the crime, months before the killing. Another witness had seen the same man the next day, in an incident for which he had received a summons.
Connecting the dots, Russo pored through records and found the name of the man who would become the suspect, Chanel Lewis. Cops brought Lewis in, got a DNA sample — and linked him, they believe definitively, to the killing. All investigations are team efforts, but give Russo a special salute.