John Hennelly


John Hennelly

Age: 54

Place of birth: New York City.

Where you live: Suffolk County, NY.

Job Description: Chief of Police – Waterfront Commission of NY Harbor.

Why I chose this career: Grew up with family and friends in law enforcement. Saw how proud they were of what they did every day. Wanted to be part of that.

The proudest moment of my career: Coming up from the ranks, being sworn in as Chief with virtually all the department squashed into the room to watch the ceremony and cheer at the end.

I celebrate my Irish heritage by: Passing on the values I learned as part of our heritage to my children: loyalty, work hard, perseverance and ethics.


Oldest of five children, worked nights in a fast food restaurant to pay own way through Msgr. McClancy HS. Successful in the private sector as an International Banking Officer but wasn’t happy in an office. Hired as an investigator with the Waterfront Commission in 1988. Was elected President of the PBA and served eight years. Obtained Associate in Criminal Justice and Bachelor in Human resources while working full time. Married 25 years, two children. Promoted to Chief in 2008, the first career officer in the agency to make it the Chief position. Graduate of the FBI National Academy, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Series, Police Executive Institute of the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and Southern Police Institute. Member of the Honor Legion of the Police Departments of the State of New Jersey.

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