B.S., St. John’s University
Dr. James O’Keefe began his career in law enforcement in 1981 as a police officer in the Houston Police Department. His ten years with the department consisted of service as a police officer in uniformed patrol, as an undercover investigator assigned to the Vice Squad specifically in child pornography cases, and as a special assistant to the chief of patrol. He was the recipient of three “Chief of Police Commendations” for excellent police service. During his tenure with the Houston Police Department, Dr. O’Keefe completed his master’s degree in police science and administration, and in 1989 was awarded a doctorate from Sam Houston State University.
In 1991, 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. Eventually, he was promoted to director of training and established an independent Transit Police Academy. The Transit Police Academy went on to develop several specialty classes expressly designed to teach and implement the crime reduction strategies and tactics that ultimately reduced New York City subway crime by 48.8%. Following the merger of the New York City Police Department, the Housing Police Department, and the Transit Police Department in 1995, Dr. O’Keefe was promoted to director of training for the consolidated New York City Police Department. In that capacity, he was responsible for the education and training of 40,000 uniformed and 15,000 civilian members, with a budget of $26.7 million. During his tenure, the New York City Police Academy was frequently recognized for many awards and honors, including the New York City Police Department’s “Unit Citation Award” received during Medal Day Ceremonies from Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir for “building a police academy characterized by educational excellence in virtually all programs.”
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 at St. John’s University, where he currently serves as the director of the graduate program in Criminal Justice Leadership and teaches undergraduate and graduate level police administration, public policy, and criminal justice leadership. He has published many scholarly articles and books, and is internationally recognized as an expert in law enforcement training.