John F. Timoney, a Dublin native, who was named America’s best cop by Esquire Magazine and served as a former police chief in Philadelphia and Miami as well as William Bratton’s chief deputy at the NYPD has passed away from lung cancer. He was 68.
Timoney was widely credited with many of the innovations which brought New York crime statistics, especially murder, tumbling down to record low levels. He reached the level of First Deputy Commissioner, in effect the second top cop on the force, during the period of dramatic crime reduction.
He left New York after a falling out with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and later took over as Police Chief in Philadelphia and later in Miami. In recent years he was a consultant to the Arab state of Bahrain and their policing methods there.
He leaves behind wife Noreen and two children.
Timoney was born in The Liberties inner-city area in Dublin and maintained his strong Irish accent all his life. At age 13 his family emigrated to America and they settled in Northern Manhattan
His father died and his mother and sister returned to Ireland but John and his brother Ciaran remained behind to pursue police careers. He was sworn in in 1969.
Timoney, who took two master’s degrees in criminology, rose swiftly through the ranks and was named Chief of Department in 1994, the youngest person ever to attain that job which made him the top uniformed cop.
He and new Police Commissioner Bill Bratton worked hand in glove to bring down New York’s soaring crime figures and they were incredibly successful. However Mayor Rudy Giuliani fired Bratton because of his clashes over his sky high profile and Timoney left a year later.
In 1998 he was named Philadelphia police commissioner where he served for three years and once again brought down the crime figures
In 2003 he took over the troubled Miami Police Department which had a bad reputation for shooting civilians. In contrast, under Timoney for the first twenty months, no Miami police officer fired a shot.
He stepped down in 2010 to take a lucrative job as advisor to the Bahraini government on security where he was successful in ending heavy handed responses by Bahraini police to protesters.
A senior member of Bahrain's parliament praised Timoney for "changing a lot in the culture of the Ministry of Interior" and contributing to Bahrain’s security reform.
He was a frequent visitor to Ireland where he was celebrated as one of the great Irish immigrant success stories. He battled lung cancer courageously for several years before passing away on August 17.
We mourn the passing of former PPD Commissioner John F. Timoney, who proudly led our Dept. from 1998-2001. RIP, sir. pic.twitter.com/5D73OxSZLf— Philadelphia Police (@PhillyPolice) August 17, 2016
Sun goes down, gentle warmth still lingers." Chief John Timoney passed. Great man/police giant. Legacy lives. World better because he was.— DelrishM (@Delrish_M) August 17, 2016
Former Philly Police Chief John Timoney died of cancer last night. A tough, candid, dedicated SOB. Raise a glass of Irish whiskey.— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) August 17, 2016