The top cop’s life, accomplishments and very demeanor stand as a vivid antidote to the toxic behavior of another man from New York City.”>
Up on the fourth floor of the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on Madison Avenue, there were at least 300 stories standing in a long line that had formed by 2:30 on Monday, a soft, summer day in Manhattan. The stories were told mostly by men who worked for, with or alongside a magnificent and honorable policeman named John Timoney who was claimed by cancer at the age of 68 a few days earlier and now lay in wake as hundreds lined the sidewalk outside waiting patiently to pay their respects.
John Timoney was a sentinel of the city. And his life, his accomplishments and his very demeanor stand as a vivid antidote to the toxic behavior of another man from New York City who manages to incite a fear of the future by constantly hinting or even claiming that America is being stolen by some who do not belong here or rigged by some others in political power.
Timoney rose to the very top of the New York City Police Department in the 1990s as First Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Department under Bill Bratton. He was then Commissioner in Philadelphia and Chief in Miami and at every single stop he changed policing for the better of both the cops and the civilians who sought their services.
But his story is far bigger than the sidewalks he strolled as a patrolman or the cities and the people he swore to protect and never, not ever, let down. It began in spring 1961 when John Timoney, 13 years old, left Dublin, Ireland, with his family and landed in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
On the 4th of September that year a young patrolman, Francis Xavier Walsh, was shot dead trying to stop a robbery in a Chinese grocery store on 8th Avenue in Harlem. Walsh and his family lived on West 171th Street and his funeral Mass was held on Sept. 8 up the block from where John Timoney and his new best friend in America, Tommy Hyland, lived.