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Bob Delaney

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Bob Delaney has been an NBA referee for the past twenty years. In the 1970’s, he was a highly-decorated New Jersey State Trooper who went undercover for nearly three years to infiltrate the Mob, and was the principal undercover operative in the landmark investigation, Project Alpha.  Bob Delaney is the author of Covert.


According to the book description of Covert, “Delaney’s account takes readers behind the scenes to show how law-abiding businesspeople were intimidated and extorted by cutthroat teams of mobsters eager to cut competitors out of the action. Delaney also describes the mobsters’ obsession with the Godfather movies (quoting lines from “The Movie” and boasting of how often they’d seen it), as he gives readers a view of the real-life crime underworld that no movie or TV show can offer. After nearly three heart-pounding years undercover, Delaney had gathered enough evidence to convict more than thirty organized crime figures. Project Alpha was a success, but it had taken its toll on the man at the center of it. Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and traces of Stockholm Syndrome after getting too close to those he investigated, Delaney went into a tailspin. Delaney writes poignantly about his battle to re-adapt to life outside the shadows. After reexamining his life, Delaney-- a college basketball player before becoming a State Trooper--decided to get back onto the court. He began officiating high school and intramural games as a way to rebuild his life, eventually working his way up to the NBA, where he has been a referee for more than two decades.”

According to one reader of Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob, “This autobiography of current NBA referee Bob Delaney commences on April 18, 1999 at America West Arena in Phoenix Arizona. As Bob was going through his normal last minute pre-game rituals, he heard a voice from the crowd yelling "Hey Bob!"... "Hey Bob!" Delaney was now in his second decade of refereeing NBA games, and as a veteran he had developed a second skin, or an emotional armor if you will, against hecklers. NBA ref's, just like umpires in baseball learned to simply ignore the boo's and the catcall's that inevitably came with the territory. He'd heard them all: "Hey ref, get it right for once!"... "Hey ref, eat me!"... "Hey ref, your fly's open!"... "Hey ref, you suck!"... "Hey ref, don't quit your day job!"... And one of his personal favorites that rated high on the creativity chart: "Hey Delaney, I've seen better referees at the Foot Locker!" Bob had trained himself not to look at hecklers because that would only encourage them and possibly add fuel to the fire. Then the same voice from the stands yelled: "ALAMO TRUCKING!" All of a sudden every muscle in Bob's body tightened. This fan had information no average fan could possibly have. Delaney's pulse started to race and a prior lifetime of "shadowy" thunder rumbled in his head. Then the same voice yelled: "ALAMO!" Bob looked to the stands into the mega-expensive courtside seats, and the fan is yelling "ALAMO! ALAMO!" Bob looked straight at him and at first had no idea who the fan was, but "ALAMO TRUCKING" was "a loaded reference to a time almost a quarter century before, and a place nearly three thousand miles away on the New Jersey waterfront."

"Bob... it's me... Pat from ALAMO." Then the name, the face, the place and time, all came together in Delaney's hidden memory, unlocking the combination to his secret inner vault. It was Pat Kelly. Bob hadn't seen Pat for over twenty years. Not since the time Pat and Delaney had been in Federal Court testifying against the mob. Pat had entered the Witness Protection Program. Bob Delaney, had been a New Jersey State Trooper, who had given up his name, his identity, and his entire life, to go undercover as Bobby Covert, to infiltrate organized crime for almost three years as part of "PROJECT ALPHA", and had just come out of "DEEP COVER". There are two ways to go undercover in law enforcement: The first is where you go undercover but you still live at home with your family. The second is termed "DEEP COVER", and that's where you not only go undercover, but you give up all ties to your family, friends, and life as you knew it. Bob Delaney went into deep cover in 1975.

Bob arranged for someone to pass a note to Pat at halftime of the game, telling him to meet him after the game. From their reunion after the game the story flashes back to Bob's life story which begins in New Jersey where Bob was the son of a high ranking New Jersey State Trooper Officer. Bob came from a strong Irish family and they lived in a close knit Italian neighborhood. Bob was an All-State basketball player in high school and he also played two years at Jersey City State College. He was a good player at his level but he knew he couldn't go any higher, so when there was an opening in the State Trooper's he applied and was accepted. In a very short period of time Bob impressed the right people and was asked if he wanted to be part of "PROJECT ALPHA" even though it meant "DEEP COVER" and his entire life as he knew it would change. Bob, overflowing with patriotism said yes! The first thing Bob and the other members of the group did was set up a real-live trucking company, and named it Alamo Trucking. The Fed's had a slick wheeler-dealer who they had the goods on by the name of Pat Kelly, and gave him an option of working with "PROJECT ALPHA" or going to prison. Based on the beginning of this review the potential reader already knows the choice Pat made. The rest of the story is a harrowing, amazing, definition of stress and inner fortitude, that along with undying patriotism, is what makes up Delaney's entire DNA. Without giving away any more of this classic episode in crime fighting, that can easily be discussed under the same topic as "DONNIE BRASCO" (Donnie went into "DEEP COVER" for six years, the longest in FBI history.), it should be noted that the busload of high ranking organized crime arrests that resulted from "ALPHA PROJECT" made America a safer place to live. The reader will also find of utmost interest the "withdrawal" symptoms and post traumatic problems with Bob's entire personality and lifestyle once the assignment was completed. I highly recommend this book and must also complement the author's writing style that utilizes everyday jargon and terminology. The storytelling comes across like you're just sitting around having a conversation with an everyday "Jersey-Guy" which Bob Delaney certainly is.”

Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob
Bob Delaney  More Info

Publisher’s Weekly said of Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob, “NBA referee Delaney's fascinating account of his prior life as a New Jersey state trooper who infiltrated organized crime will be a must-read for those drawn to Joe Pistone's similar account in Donnie Brasco (or the movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp). In 1975, Delaney was a relative novice in law enforcement when he was tapped by a superior to help build cases against major Mafia families by creating and running a fake business, Alamo Trucking. With the aid of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times sportswriter Scheiber, Delaney captures perfectly the daily routine and perils of undercover work, and describes the psychological challenges he faced during the three years of Project Alpha: The granite foundation of my self-image... had given way to shifting sands of doubt and worry. While less heralded than Pistone's work, Delaney's achievements—which yielded multiple convictions of members of the Bruno and Genovese families—were significant precursors to the Feds' massive 1980s assault on La Cosa Nostra. Becoming a basketball referee after these proceedings was a return to an early passion of the high school all-state forward and captain of his college team—but the fear, he says, still comes back sometimes.”

About the New Jersey State Police

On March 29, 1921, the State Police Bill was passed into law. Senator Clarence I. Case, who introduced the bill, is known as the “Father of the State Police.” On July 1, 1921, Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, was appointed as the first Superintendent of the State Police by Governor Edward I. Edwards.  Schwarzkopf was commissioned to organize the first training class. Competitive examinations were held for the purpose of selecting the type of man desired for this service.  Sixteen hundred men, between the ages of twenty-two and forty, made application for the one hundred and twenty positions allowed by the law.


Today, the New Jersey State Police is organized into four Branches: Administrative Branch; Investigations Branch; Homeland Security Branch; and, Operations Branch.  The Operations Branch contains the Field Operations Section and is the largest of the branches.  The Field Operations Section consists of the Traffic Bureau and the Troop Road Stations.


The New Jersey State Police have seven core services:  General Police Services; Highway and Traffic Enforcement; Statewide Investigation and Intelligence; Emergency Management; Support for State and Local Law Enforcement Efforts; Maintenance of Criminal Records and Identification Systems; and, the Regulation of Certain Commerce.

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