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1988  JD  -   Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College
1982  BS  -  John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Professor O’Donnell began his career as an NYPD officer, receiving 14 department awards for outstanding police service working in Brooklyn.  After serving as a summer associate in the US Attorney’s Office, EDNY, while in law school, he went on to become a prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office where he investigated and prosecuted hundreds of cases, including approximately two dozen jury trials.  He later served as Director of Intake and Advocacy at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and as a campaign aide to the late Bill Lynch Jr. the mastermind behind the election of New York Mayor David N. Dinkins.  He has worked on police issues for years, including as campus coordinator of John Jay at the Police Academy of Puerto Rico, and in the Dominican Republic.  He was an instructor in the United States Department of State’s International Law Enforcement Academies in Eastern Europe and Africa and was a Visiting Professor at the Police College of the United Kingdom at Bramshill, and was acting coordinator of the New York State Law Enforcement Executive Institute.  He is a nationally recognized expert on policing issues, including the use of force, and has been quoted in hundreds of media stories.  He has been a frequent contributor to MSNBC and NPR, and has been a contributing writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.  A strong supporter of organized labor, he has testified as an expert on behalf of the NYC PBA, has advised the Service Employees International Union on its living wage initiative and the Amalgamated Transit Union.  In 2013, he was named to the public safety transition team of New York City Mayor-elect Bill deBlasio.

Professor O’Donnell’s recent speaking invitations include:

  • Capps conversation convener, University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Chicago Ideas Week
  • US Army Geocities program
  • CORO Fellows program
  • Debates of the Century/NYU Wagner School/Century Foundation
  • Pace University Civil Rights Forum
  • PBS National Conversation on Race (St. Louis metropolitan area)
  • Princeton University School of Humanities
  • NYU School of Law
  • Indiana University Law School
  • Fordham Law School
  • The New School
  • NYU, The Wagner School
  • Chinese police executives, at City College of New York
  • American Bar Association, Brooklyn Law School
  • Nassau County Bar Association
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • New York City Council, State Assembly and State Senate Committees
  • John Jay College Guggenheim Media Conference on an NYPD Inspector General
  • University of San Diego, police union leaders from across California
  • Washington Journal CSPAN from Chicago and Washington (five appearances since 2014)


Criminal Law Update coordinator, 2008-2010

Professor O’Donnell has written scores of opinion pieces that have been published by The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Legal Times, CNN, among others.  His 2011 journal article on Ethical and Humane Policing was used extensively by the US Department of State.  He has published two textbook chapters, and is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice Ethics, Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice and the World Book Encyclopedia.