So far, the massive ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx has led to 16 NYPD officers being indicted on various charges, as well as one hundred and sixty other officers implicated in the probe, possibly forced to testify against other cops when it goes to trial. As one can imagine, the investigation, which took over two years to put together, didn't always go so smoothly: the NY Times reports that undercover cops targeted a particular barbershop, and an undercover cop barber, in the Bronx in the early stages of the probe. Except nothing came of the operation because no cops wanted to go back there after they got such terrible haircuts.
Undercover investigators suspects that officer Jose Ramos, the owner of Who’s First Barber Shop II, on East 149th Street in the Hub section of the Bronx, might be aiding drug dealers. According to an affidavit in support of a wiretap application sworn out on Oct. 23, 2009, officers were unsuccessful in finding any evidence against Ramos: “Undercover officers have entered the barber shop to receive haircuts and attempt to buy marijuana, however they have failed...An undercover officer attempted to work as a barber but there are no discussions by the targets of the investigation in the presence of the undercover police officer.”
Ramos, who cut hair before he joined the force, is accused of taking flat-screen TVs in exchange for fixing tickets, and is one of those 16 NYPD employees indicted in the Bronx DA's ticket-fixing case. The NYPD had paid for the cost of reinstating his license to cut hair—though he only worked a few days of the week.
At least four undercover investigators got $10 haircuts—paid for by the department—hoping to either buy marijuana, or see others buying marijuana from Ramos. But it seems all those officers only went in once—undercover officers can decline any assignment, so they had the option of choosing not to return as repeat customers. And it was really because of the bad haircuts: “The consensus was just that he gave bad haircuts,” one of the people briefed on the matter said. “They just didn’t like his haircuts.”