Dr James O’Keefe

Dr. James O’Keefe graduated from St. John’s University with his Bachelor of Science degree in 1979. He began his career in law enforcement as a police officer with the Houston Police Department in Houston, Texas. His ten years with the Houston Police Department consisted of sworn service as a uniformed police officer, an undercover police officer assigned to the Vice Squad specifically to investigate narcotics and child pornography cases, and as a special assistant to the chief of patrol. During that time, he was the recipient of numerous commendations for excellent police service. Additionally, while serving as a sworn officer, Dr. O’Keefe was the initial recipient of the “100 Club of Houston-Law Enforcement Scholarship” and completed his master’s degree in police science and administration and in 1989 was awarded a Ph.D. in criminal justice administration from Sam Houston State University.
In 1981, he returned to New York City to become the associate director of the Office of Management & Budget in the New York City Transit Police Department. He was soon promoted to director of training when the first independent New York City Transit Police Academy was established. The Transit Police Academy went on to develop several specialty recruit, in-service, and tactical training courses expressly designed to implement the new crime reduction strategies and tactics which ultimately helped reduce crime on the New York City subway system by 48.8%. When Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced the merger of the New York City Police Department, New York City Housing Police Department and the New York City Transit Police Department, Dr. O’Keefe was promoted to director of training for the newly consolidated New York City Police Department. In that professional capacity, he was responsible for all education and training of 41,000 uniformed and 15,000 civilian members of the service, with an operating budget of $26.7 million. Under Dr. O’Keefe’s leadership, the New York City Police Academy was frequently recognized for many awards and honors, including the NYPD’s “Unit Citation Award” received for the first time from Police Commissioner Howard Safir during Medal Day Ceremonies for “building a police academy characterized by educational excellence in virtually all programs.” Dr. O’Keefe was also responsible for conceiving, designing, securing the necessary inter-agency funding, and building the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Joint Counterterrorism Tactical Training Village at the NYPD Firearms Range in the Bronx, NY. The Tactical Village was specifically designed and built to facilitate realistic tactical training for urban military warfare and NYPD counterterrorism. Dr. James O’Keefe retired from the New York City Police Department in 2001 to accept an appointment as associate professor of criminal justice and leadership with St. John’s University. During his tenure, he earned promotions to program director for the Criminal Justice Program, program director for the graduate Criminal Justice Leadership Program, chairman of the Social Science Division, associate dean for academic affairs & tenured professor of criminal justice leadership and, vice provost of the Staten Island campus. In October 2011, Dr. O’Keefe took a leave of absence from St. John’s University when he was appointed by the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, the Honorable Raymond W. Kelly, to serve as Deputy Commissioner in the NYPD. Dr. O’Keefe currently serves as professor of criminal justice and homeland security. He continues to lecture for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral seminars in police administration, public policy, law enforcement ethics, and leadership. The 2010-2011 Princeton Review rated Dr. O’Keefe as “the 7th best university professor in the nation.” He has been invited to lecture at the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board – Executive Institute. Over his career, he has published many scholarly articles and books, including “Protecting the Republic: The Education & Training of American Police Officers,” published by Prentice Hall in 2004, and “Counterterrorism Training in the Public Sector,” a chapter in “Community Preparedness and Response to Terrorism,” published by Praeger in 2005. Dr. O’Keefe is frequently called upon to serve as a professional consultant and has testified as an expert witness in federal courts throughout the United States in the areas of law enforcement policies and practices and is recognized internationally as an expert witness in law enforcement education and training.

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