New York City Police Department

Training Bureau | Deputy Commissioner of Training

  James O'Keefe, Ph.D.               Training Bureau Website

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 one of the initial recipients 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 Criminal Justice Center.   

     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 H.I.D.T.A. Joint Tactical Training Village at the NYPD Firing 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.  In 1996, when still a member of the NYPD, Dr. James O’Keefe was awarded the St. John’s University “Distinguished Alumnus Award.”     

     Dr. James O’Keefe retired from the New York City Police Department in 2001 to accept an appointment as an associate professor of criminal justice 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, and served for five years as associate dean for academic affairs & tenured professor of criminal justice leadership.  Dr. O’Keefe continues to lecture for undergraduate and graduate seminars in police administration, public policy, law enforcement ethics, and leadership.  He has also 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. 

     In April, 2008, Dr. O’Keefe was appointed an honorary member of the Honor Legion of the City of New York Police Department.  During the academic years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, he was also appointed to serve on the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (V.I.S.A.) Faculty Research Consortium – a distinguished inter-disciplinary group of university scholars who guide the field-based research of the St. John’s University Ozanam Scholars.  Dr. O’Keefe’s work with V.I.S.A., and as a senior fellow in the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, was specifically designed to address poverty solutions in the 21st century.  Dr. O’Keefe continues to serve as a faculty mentor to numerous Ph.D. candidates.   Additionally, the 2010-2011 Princeton Review “Highest Rated University Professors in the Nation” recently rated Professor James O’Keefe as the 7th best university professor in the nation 

     On February 2, 2010, Dr. James O’Keefe was appointed by Mayor Paul Buccellato to serve as a commissioner on the newly created Matawan (NJ) Police Commission.   

     On October 31 2011, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, the Honorable Raymond W. Kelly, announced the appointment of Dr. James O’Keefe as Deputy Commissioner in the New York City Police Department.  As the Deputy Commissioner for Training, Dr. O’Keefe is responsible for providing over 51,000 sworn and civilian members of the New York City Police Department with the finest and most comprehensive education & training; thereby enhancing their abilities to protect the lives, constitutional rights, property and human dignity of all New Yorkers and visitors to New York City.  He also serves as the NYPD official representative to the New York State Municipal Police Training Council.