By Ray O’Hanlon
The critical comment is already flying fast, but Dr. Gerald Lynch, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, is ready and eager to take up his duties with the just established Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland.
Lynch is one of two U.S. members of the Commission, the other being the Massachusetts secretary of public safety, Kathleen O’Toole.
In a statement released after his appointment became known, Lynch said he was “honored and proud” to have been chosen as a member of the panel.
“The work of this commission will play a major role in the implementation and success of the Good Friday agreement,” Lynch said. “I am looking forward to this historic opportunity to examine the practice of policing in Northern Ireland.”
Lynch, a doctoral graduate in clinical psychology from New York University, has been president of John Jay College since 1976. The college, in its own words, “is the only institution of higher education in the United States dedicated exclusively to the study of criminal justice, law enforcement, police science and public service.” It was founded in 1964.
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Lynch himself teaches, writes and speaks on issues such as police corruption and ethical behavior. He developed a course entitled “Human Dignity and the Police” for the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.
John Jay has already established a number of links with Ireland and Britain in the area of law enforcement studies.
The college offers the McCabe Fellowship – in memory of slain Garda Jerry McCabe – for the purposes of promoting exchange between the Garda Siochana in Ireland and various U.S. law enforcement agencies.
The college also runs a 27-year-old studies program in cooperation with with the Police Staff College in Bramshill, England, while periodic academic exchanges have taken place between the college and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the focus of the new commission’s work.