Former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir died Monday. He was 81.
Safir’s son told The New York Times his father had died Monday at a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland.
Who was Howard Safir?
Howard Safir was an American law enforcement professional who served as the 39th New York City Police Commissioner from 1996 to 2000 and the 29th New York City Fire Commissioner from 1994 to 1996, under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Safir later served as Chairman of Safir Intelligence and Security (formerly Vigilant Resources International).
Howard Safir was born in the Bronx on February 24, 1942. After growing up in the Bronx and Long Island, the son of Russian Jewish immigrant parents (his father was a presser in the garment district, his mother a switchboard operator), Howard Safir followed the example of his famous uncle Louis Weiner (who captured infamous bank robber Willie Sutton), and after graduating from college in 1963, decided to become a lawman.
Safir received his B.A. in History and Political Science from Hofstra University in 1963. He attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, receiving certificates in the programs for Senior Managers in Government in 1988 and for National and International Security in 1989.
Howard Safir began his law enforcement career in 1965 as a special agent assigned to the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a forerunner of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and eventually, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
He advanced through the ranks of the DEA and in 1977 was appointed Assistant Director of the DEA. He moved to the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) in 1978 where he served as Chief of the Witness Security Division.
In 1984, he was named Associate Director for Operations, of the USMS, a position he held until his retirement from the federal government in 1990.
Safir rejoined government service in 1994 when Mayor Rudy Giuliani asked him to serve as the New York City’s 29th Fire Commissioner.
When Police Commissioner William J. Bratton left his position in 1996, Giuliani appointed Safir to replace him as New York City’s 39th Police Commissioner.
Howard Safir death
Safir died on September 11, 2023, in Annapolis, Maryland, at the age of 81.
He is survived by his widow Carol Safir, kids Jennifer and Adam and grandchildren Audrey, Hudson, Cara and Alexander.
Safir is also survived by his sister Elaine Siegel and brother Sheldon Safir.
Howard Safir cause of death
His son, Adam, said his death, at a hospital, was caused by a sepsis infection. Mr. Safir, who had a home in Annapolis, underwent double bypass heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer while he was commissioner.
Current New York Police Department Commissioner Edward Caban issued a statement extending the department’s condolences and saying that Safir, who held the role from 1996 to 2000, “was a devoted, dynamic leader.”
When is Howard Safir funeral?
Howard Safir funeral Services will be held at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home in Annapolis on Sept. 20.
Donations in his honor may be made to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.