John Timoney, who served as Philadelphia’s police commissioner and in top roles at departments across the East Coast, has died following a battle with cancer.
Last month NBC Miami reported that Timoney was in the hospital undergoing treatment for stage four lung cancer. He passed away late Tuesday at age 68.
Timoney grew up in New York after coming to the U.S. from Dublin, Ireland, according to the Miami Herald, a city where he last served as police commissioner, and described him as the “very epitome of the tough Irish cop.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he spent four years heading the police department, said Timoney was “regarded as a thinking man's cop with a street sensibility.”
His career started on the streets in his hometown as a Bronx beat cop in 1969, according the New York Daily News. During his 29-year career with the NYPD he became the youngest person to serve as chief of department, and rose to first deputy commissioner.
"With John Timoney's passing, police officers everywhere have lost a true friend and defender,” NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement to the Daily News. “John helped create and advance the ideals of modern, professional law enforcement. But he remained a cop, first and foremost, and he led from the front, often standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his police officers as they took police action on the street.”
The NYPD also honored the longtime member in a statement released from Commisioner Bill Bratton, calling him a “luminary” and “legend.” He said the “cop’s cop” was instrumental in delivering New York City “from the worst crime in its history.”