Jimmie Hernandez
NYPD Lieutenant (Ret.) Jimmie Hernandez ’13 Joins Private Sector

Certificate: NYPD Leadership Program
Mentor: Maria (Maki) Haberfeld, Ph.D. 
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Current Jobs: Senior Advisor, ALTO; Adjunct Professor, John Jay

“I had the most amazing 30-year career with the New York City Police Department (NYPD),” says Jimmie Hernandez ’13. The Bronx native retired as Lieutenant of Investigations for the Chief of Patrol in 2020, joined the private sector and continues to teach at John Jay. “I’m a senior advisor for ALTO, a company working to empower people, protect retailers from theft, and create safer communities. My mission in life has always been to help people. I’ve had the chance to do it in the NYPD, as an instructor at John Jay, and now in communities across the country.”

What inspired you to embark on a career in law enforcement?
I was a big fan of comic books growing up. As a kid, Spider-Man was my favorite. He becomes Spider-Man when he puts on his uniform, like a police officer. He’s from New York, polices the city, and has everyday problems—money problems, family problems, girlfriend problems, job problems, and school problems. I completely identified with him and, growing up I knew, the best way I could be a hero like him was to put on an NYPD uniform. 

I was so determined to work in law enforcement that when I was eight years old, I repeatedly called the FBI office in the Bronx and told them I wanted to be an officer. They thought I was a prank caller until they paid a visit one day. Two agents knocked on my door to see who was calling them. They were so kind to me and generous with their time that it encouraged me to pursue a career in the field. 

Looking back at your NYPD career, what did you enjoy the most?
Every day was different. That’s one of the reasons I became a police officer. I knew I didn’t want the mundane routine of an office job. As a police officer, I got to experience so much and work with various units within the department. My favorite part of the job was conversing with people from all walks of life—billionaires, former members of Congress, doormen, and grandmothers walking down the street. Talking to people and providing them with the assistance they needed meant the world to me. 

How did the John Jay NYPD Leadership Program enhance your career?
When applying for advanced positions within the NYPD, they look at your educational history and how you continue to learn and improve yourself while on the job. Being part of the NYPD Leadership Program at John Jay, my skillset expanded, my capabilities to do my job effectively increased, and I gained a greater worldview. While in the program, I learned about the history of policing and gained a greater understanding of community relations—in terms of race and diversity, mental health challenges, and even the impact of current events like the pandemic. Immediately, I could apply what I learned in the classroom to work in the field and with the public. Ultimately, the program made me a better officer.

How did you begin teaching at John Jay? 
Professor Maki Haberfeld was my professor during the NYPD Leadership Program. After graduating from the course, I ran into her on an Amtrak train traveling to Boston. We talked about our law enforcement experiences, and she asked me to teach at the College. That was 12 years ago. Once I started doing it, I realized how amazing it is to teach and help our students achieve their goals. They have so much positive energy and tenacious drive to do good in the world that it affects you, as their teacher, in an incredible way.

What advice do you have for future law enforcement personnel?
Treat people with respect, and in turn, you’ll earn their respect. As a law enforcement professional, you are part of the community you serve. You must remember that your clients, the people you’re serving, are the general public, including people who commit criminal acts. Remember, they’re humans who are likely going through a difficult time. Treat them with dignity.