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University Appoints Dr. James O'Keefe Vice Provost for Staten Island Campus

Thursday, December 19, 2013

St. John’s University is proud to announce that James O’Keefe, Ph.D. ‘79SVC has been appointed Vice Provost for the Staten Island Campus effective January 1, 2014. Dr. O’Keefe, a tenured Associate Professor and former Associate Dean in the College of Professional Studies, will be returning to St. John’s following the completion of a two-year leave of absence to serve as a Deputy Commissioner in the New York City Police Department under Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

Dr. O’Keefe, who is also an alumnus of the University, will be the new vice provost and senior academic administrator assigned to the Staten Island campus. In that role, he will work closely with the deans of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, and The School of Education. Dr. O’Keefe will also be a member of the Provost’s Council.

“I was honored to have the professional opportunity to return to the NYPD, the finest law enforcement agency in the world, as a deputy police commissioner,” said Dr. O’Keefe. “As the deputy commissioner of training, we worked relentlessly to provide the 51,000 sworn and civilian members of the NYPD with the finest education and training experiences.”

“In the new year, however, I am extraordinarily excited and energized about the opportunity to return to St. John’s University, especially as the vice provost of the Staten Island Campus,” added O’Keefe.  “The Staten Island Campus is a true gem, and has been a prominent component of the academic, Catholic and social fabric of Staten Island for a long time. I am also better prepared than ever to return to the classroom as a professor of criminal justice leadership and to help prepare our students for leadership, excellence and success.” 

His first stint at St. John’s University began in 2001 and lasted 10 years through 2011. He served as Associate Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies in the College of Professional Studies. Dr. O’Keefe has taught undergraduate and graduate seminars in police administration, public policy and law enforcement leadership. During his term, he earned promotions to Program Director for the Criminal Justice Program, Chairman of the Social Science Division, and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and tenured Professor of Criminal Justice Leadership.

For media inquiries, please contact Elizabeth Reilly, Director of Media Relations at St. John’s University, by calling 718-990-2451, or by e-mail to [email protected]. A complete biography of Dr. O’Keefe’s career is listed on the following page.

About Dr. James O’Keefe, ‘79SVC

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 in Texas with the Houston Police Department. His ten years with the Houston Police Department consisted of 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 and in-service 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 the education and training of 40,000 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.”

He has published many scholarly articles and books, including “Protecting the Republic: The Education & Training of American Police Officers, published by Prentice Hall.  He is frequently called upon as an expert witness in law enforcement policies and practices, and is a recognized internationally as an expert in law enforcement education and training.