SUNY College at Old Westbury   

2007 Learning & Leadership Award

James H. Lawrence


SUNY College at Old Westbury and the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc. are proud to celebrate the career of outgoing Nassau County Police Commissioner James H. Lawrence.

Appointed as Nassau County Police Commissioner on June 10, 2002, Lawrence served for five years as the leader of the County Police Department and its more than 2,000 officers and is credited with such achievements as the implementation of anti-gang and crime reduction initiatives, the installation of global positioning systems in patrol cars, and the launch of a $60-million communication systems upgrade.

Prior to his appointment on Long Island, Lawrence served for 30 years as a member of the New York City Police Department. After beginning his career in 1970 on patrol in the 40 th Precinct, he rose through the department, ultimately serving as Chief of Personnel before his hiring by Nassau County. As Chief of Personnel, he was responsible for the management of human resource functions for the 55,000 person department.

Prior to being appointed Chief of Personnel, he was the Commanding Officer of the School Safety Division. Chief Lawrence also served as the Executive Officer of the Office of the Chief of Department. In addition, he has commanded the Strategic and Tactical Commands, Brooklyn Housing Operations (Housing Borough Brooklyn), and the 105 and 113 Precincts. Other commands in which he served include the 40, 66 and 103 Precincts, Traffic Control Division, Tactical Patrol Unit, Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Training, Chief of Patrol's Office, and the Police Commissioner's Office.

A Vietnam veteran, Commissioner Lawrence served in the United States Army where he attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He also received a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Fordham University, and a Juris Doctorate from CUNY Law School at Queens College. He is a 1993 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University.

In addition to Commissioner Lawrence’s command assignments and personal achievements, he has served a variety of professional and not-for-profit organizations, including the Vera Institute of Justice Advisory Board, Adolescent Development, Safety and Justice and the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc.

He is an active member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the American Academy for Professional Law Enforcement, Guardian's Association, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.