Michael Dowd is one of those criminals who has had films and books created about his career in the criminal underworld. Born in 1961 in New York, Dowd grew up on Long Island in a neighborhood that, ironically, was filled with the families of police and firefighters, and these connections would be important to him later in life. By most accounts, he was an above average student in high school and showed no signs that he would go on to a life of crime in his adult years.
One thing that set Michael apart from other criminals was that he had connections to the authorities because of his background around policemen. Using these connections, he was able not only to be able to make contact with drug dealers on the highest levels, but he also used the same connections to secretly get information on drug busts. He would pass the details of the raids on to the drug dealers who were able to evade capture because of Michael’s intel. That information pipeline made him not only valuable to the drug dealers, but it also allowed him to rapidly rise in the ranks of the drug dealers in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York City. Because of his ties to police sources, Michael famously bragged to his criminal cronies, “No one can touch me!”
Additionally, Michael used his police connections to illegally obtain police identification, badges, and sometimes, even weapons and provide these to the drug gangs. That allowed them to avoid capture by the legitimate police by pretending to be undercover police officers when they would be stopped or detained. In one of the most notorious use of police information, Michael was able to obtain information about a mole inside one of New York’s crime families. He told the criminal bosses about this mole, and they “took care” of the problem.
Finally, Michael’s illegal actions caught up with him. And his arrest was a direct result of the New York City authorities working diligently to remove corruption within the police department and the insider information that Michael was receiving from his police connections. Realizing that his criminal career was over after his arrest, Michael decided to cooperate with the investigators. He turned into a cooperative witness for the police investigators as more and more police corruption was uncovered. Because of his collaboration with the authorities, the eventual prison sentence Michael received was much lighter. He served only 12 year of a 16 year sentence.
While incarcerated, Michael was a model prisoner. He ran the drug and alcohol abuse recovery program in the prison, and he worked as a suicide prevention counselor. Today, Michael speaks and writes about his criminal past, and he is collaborating on more media based on his life story.
Oh, and the reason Michael was able throughout his criminal career to continue to receive more and more information about and from the New York Police Department?
It’s because Michael Dowd was a policeman himself.