Early in his career, Eugene O’Donnell served as a police officer with the New York City Police Department, receiving 14 department awards for outstanding police service while working in Brooklyn. While attending law school, he was selected as a summer associate in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. He was appointed as an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens District Attorney’s Office and later served as a senior prosecutor and supervisory prosecutor in the Kings County (Brooklyn) DA’s office. In both Queens and Brooklyn, he investigated and prosecuted hundreds of cases, including approximately two dozen trials to verdict.
He has also been Director of Intake and Advocacy at the Law Enforcement Division of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and was a staff assistant to campaign manager Bill Lynch on the Committee to re-elect New York City Mayor David Dinkins. In 1994, he was law and police studies coordinator for John Jay’s branch campus at the Police Academy in Puerto Rico. He has been a trainer in the United States Department of State’s International Law Enforcement Academies in Europe and Africa. Professor O’Donnell also assisted with the launch of the NYPD Police Studies program in 2001, which provides college credits to New York City police personnel. He was coordinator of the New York State Law Enforcement Executive Institute from 2005 to 2008 (a leadership program for New York State law enforcement executives), is a certified New York state police trainer, has been a police academy instructor, and has taught in the Criminal Investigation Course for NYC detectives.
He is a frequent op-ed writer and his pieces have been published by the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Legal Times, CNN.com and on The BBC World Service. He has written textbook chapters on police civilian review and minority-police relationships, and is also a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement, Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice Ethics (forthcoming), and the World Book Encyclopedia. His 2010 journal article, “Ethical and Humane Policing,” was published in the US State Department journal distributed worldwide. In 2008, he was invited to be a contributing writer for Newsweek (now Newsweek.com/The Daily Beast) and frequently appears on MSNBC and NPR.
In 2005, he was a Visiting Professor at the United Kingdom’s Bramshill Police College where he researched community justice initiatives.
In December 2013, Professor O'Donnell was named a member of New York City Mayor-elect Bill deBlasio’s Public Safety transition committee.
Fixing Broken Windows or Fracturing Fragile Relationships? Policing and Minority Communities: Bridging the Gap, Pearson, Prentice Hall (2004)
The Civilian Complaint Review Board Crime and Justice in New York City, McGraw Hill (2000)
International Law Enforcement Encyclopedia Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publishing, 2005
3. Posse Comitatus Act
4.. United States Coast Guard
“U.S. Supreme Court Year in Review, Virginia v Hicks: No Escape-Keeping Trespassers Out of the Projects Won’t Fix Drug or Public Housing Failures” Legal Times, New Jersey Law Journal, law.com July 28, 2003
Law Enforcement News, “Official Negligence, How Rodney King and the Riots changed the LAPD” by Lou Cannon (2000)
“Replacing Junk Justice with Joined Justice: The Courts, the Police and the Citizen at the Center”, a 17,000 word report (2005) prepared for the Home Office, United Kingdom in
conjunction with the Center for Policing Excellence, Bramshill, England
Recent Op Ed Articles
New York Post
“Too Few Cops: Low Pay Threatening to Blunt NYPD’s Edge” (2007) with Sal F. Albanese
“Why Police are so Hard to Recruit: The Bosses Can Make Life Miserable” (2007)
“What might campus cops do?” (2007)
“A history of police mistakes” (2007)
“Don’t sic the Police on Day Laborers” (2004)
New York Daily News
“ Rein in NYPD’s Firepower?: No” (2006)
“Psychosis on the Streets: Time to Rethink Policing of Emotionally Disturbed” (2006)
“Make Cops Our Front Line vs. Terror” (2002)
“It’s Time to Rethink Parades” (2001)
“Cops Face Fear and Confusion” (2000)
“NYPD Training Falls Far Short” (2000)
Acknowledged Manuscript Reviewer
Karmen, A. New York Murder Mystery NYU Publishing, New York (2000)
Morse, C.J. Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice Professionals, Looseleaf Law Publications (1999)
*Testimony before the Public Safety Committee, Philadelphia, Pa. about expanding the use of police stop and frisk operations, October 2007
*Expert Witness Hennessey v. City of New York
*Consultant, 32 BJ, Service Employees International Union, on Upgrading Security Standards
*Program Co-Chair, “First Annual Criminal Law Update” a program of continuing legal education, May, 2007
“A Brief Shining Moment: John Jay College’s Human Dignity Program, 1995-2005”, Istanbul, Turkey (June, 2007)
*Testimony before the Public Safety Committee of the New York City Council about low police salaries
*Q&A interview, Newsweek.com “Contagious Shooting,” November, 2006
*Office of Continuing and Professional Studies: Crime Scene Investigation
*Frequent presenter to foreign visiting lawyers, judges and law enforcement officials
*Testimony before the NYS Assembly Codes Committee on the security industry, October, 2006
*Legal Self defense For Police Executives, New York State Law Enforcement Executive Institute, Albany, NY, Fall, 2005-Present
*Co-presenter, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, “Human Dignity and the Police”, (2005)
* “Current issues and developments in American policing” Presented to the International Commanders Course, CENTREX, Bramshill, England, (2005)
* Chair, Police training issues panel, ACJS, March, (2005)
*“Policing in a time of Terrorism”, (2004) presented to NYPD police studies program
* “Handgun Control”, Invited testimony delivered to Bronx Borough President’s Borough Board (2004).
* “How to Write Op Ed articles” Creative Writing Class, SUNY, (2003)
* Better Teaching Seminars, John Jay. “Applying to and Preparing for Law School”
(2000-2002) Conducted several seminars on this topic.