Former New York Police Department Commissioner Howard Safir, who was in charge during a historic decrease in crime in the 1990’s died in Annapolis, Maryland at the age of 81 on Monday.
Safir’s son told TheNew York Times his cause of death was from a sepsis infection.
Safir, who was from the Bronx, had a decades-long career in law enforcement. He was given the title of the city’s top cop by then Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1996.
Current New York Police Department Commissioner Edward Caban issued a statement extending the department’s condolences to Safir’s family, who held the role from 1996 to 2000.
“A public servant for more than three decades, Commissioner Safir dedicated his professional life to improving the lives of others,” Caban said.
Safir was “a devoted, dynamic leader whose pioneering work in fugitive apprehension, illicit drug enforcement, and officer training is still emulated today,” Caban continued.
“This noblest of pursuits guided him throughout and on behalf of the entire New York City Police Department and all the people we serve, I extend our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones,” he added.
Safir began his law enforcement career in 1965 as a federal narcotics agent in New York and later on did a brief stint working undercover for the newly established Drug Enforcement Administration at the time. As a result it led to him taking on a leadership position with the United States Marshals.
“Commissioner Safir embodies why each of us are here: to serve,” NYPD Retired Chief Joseph Fox, told The New York Post Tuesday.
“What I admired most about him was he always found that right balance between public safety, and people. He knew both were inseparable.”
Towards the end of his life Safir founded his own intelligence and security firm and was known to push for stricter gun laws.
In 2022, he put the idea out there that people who purchase firearms in New York should have to conduct yearly safety check-ins so that authorities can make sure the weapons are not sold off to unknown parties.
The former NYPD commissioner is survived by his widow Carol Safir, kids Adam and Jennifer and grandchildren Audrey, Hudson, Cara and Alexander.