John Timoney

  • Fall 2010

John Timoney was appointed Chief of Police of the Miami Police Department on January 2, 2003. Prior to that, he served four years as the Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, where he commanded a diverse police force of approximately 7,000 officers and over 900 civilian employees in the fifth largest metropolitan city in the United States. The majority of his career, twenty-nine years, was spent as a member of the New York City Police Department where he rose through the ranks to become the youngest four-star chief in the history of that department.

During Timoney’s seven years as Miami Police Chief, he lowered crime in all major categories, strengthened the Department’s integrity, revised procedures for greater accountability, implemented one of the most progressive deadly physical force policies in the country, and reduced the number of police shootings of civilians. It is noteworthy that during the first twenty months of his administration, not a single shot was fired at a civilian by a member of the MPD. A year later, the department went an additional twelve months without a single shot fired at a civilian.

Timoney has a wealth of experience in policing and an extensive educational background in law enforcement managerial initiatives. His talent, knowledge and experience revitalized the Philadelphia Police Department through innovative changes that bolstered professionalism, employee morale, productivity and the relationship with the citizens of Philadelphia.

Timoney’s distinguished law enforcement career began in 1967 when he joined the ranks of the New York City Police Department. As a rookie police officer, he was assigned to the 44th Precinct the South Bronx, and later as a narcotic investigator to the Narcotics Division. He served in a variety of other assignments within the New York City Police Department, including various precincts, the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Chief of Department’s Office, and the Office of Management, Analysis and Planning.

He is the recipient of over 67 Department medals, including the prestigious Medal of Valor. Timoney rapidly rose through the ranks of the New York Police Department, beginning with a promotion to the rank of Sergeant in 1980. His career progressed with a promotion to Lieutenant in 1983, Captain in 1985, Deputy Inspector in 1988, Inspector in 1990, Deputy Chief in 1992 and Chief of Department in 1994.

Recognized for his leadership and operational expertise, Timoney was appointed First Deputy Commissioner on January 13, 1995, the second highest rank in the New York City Police Department. As First Deputy Commissioner of the New York Police Department, his hallmark accomplishment was the reorganization of the Department including the merger of the New York Police Department with the Transit & Housing Police Departments resulting in a unified City Police Department of 39,000 officers and 9,000 civilian employees.

John Timoney holds two Master’s degrees. He is a very vocal proponent for greater formal education of police officers and democratic policing throughout the world, and is considered among the nation’s highest authorities on terrorism. To this end, he founded the International Institute for Democratic Policing. Furthermore, he has been personally requested by high-ranking government officials to make a security needs assessment in Haiti, as well as to evaluate detainee facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In July of 2007, Timoney traveled to Iraq as part of an independent commission entrusted to asses the readiness of the Iraqi military and police forces to achieve primacy in the fight against terrorism.

In 2009, Chief Timoney realized a dream…the opening of the Miami Police College and the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, located on the same campus adjacent to Miami Police Headquarters. This first-of-its-kind institution in the world features state-of-the art, multi-purpose classrooms and temporary living quarters for students from various countries and will provide training for officers under the schools for Basic Law Enforcement, Professional Development and International Institute for Democratic Policing.

Chief Timoney is President of the Police Executive Research Forum and serves on the boards of the Penn Institute for Urban Research and Philadelphia University. He is also Co-Chairman of the FBI’s South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force. Most recently, Chief Timoney has authored a book, Beat Cop to Top Cop: A Tale of Three Cities, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.