Joseph D. McNamara
Expertise: 

Joseph D. McNamara

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Joseph D. McNamara is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

McNamara's career in law enforcement spans a thirty-five-year period. He began in Harlem as a beat patrolman for the New York City Police Department (NYPD). He rose through the ranks and in midcareer was appointed a criminal justice fellow at Harvard Law School, focusing on criminal justice research. Following this appointment he received two Littauer Fellowships from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, obtaining a doctorate in public administration. Returning to duty with the NYPD, he was appointed deputy inspector in charge of crime analysis for New York City.

In 1973, McNamara became police chief of Kansas City, Missouri, leading that department into groundbreaking research and innovative programs. In 1976, he was appointed police chief for the city of San Jose, where he remained until his retirement in 1991. During his tenure, San Jose became the safest large city in the country, despite having the fewest police per capita.

McNamara has served as a professor at five different colleges and lectured at many of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley. In 1980, he was appointed by the US attorney general to the advisory board of the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

He has been a consultant for the United States Department of Justice, the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and some of the nation's largest corporations.

McNamara's books include three national best-selling detective novels and a respected crime prevention text. His latest book is Love and Death in Silicon Valley (2012). He has been a commentator for National Public Broadcasting, has appeared on numerous news programs, and published articles in national and scholarly publications. An authority on police use of force and other issues, he is often consulted by media and testifies as an expert in legislatures and courts.

He holds a BS from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Criminal Justice Research Fellowship from Harvard Law School, and a doctorate in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

Mayor DeBlasio's New Top Cop Will Keep The Shine On The Big Apple

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Forbes.com
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maybe the new mayor won't be soft on crime.

Featured Commentary

Building Trust Between Police and Minority

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Reuters
Friday, August 16, 2013

A former police chief talks about the problems created by stop and frisk and mandatory sentencing policies.

Capitol Building
Featured Commentary

Letter: The War on Drugs Itself Is Causing Most of the Damage

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Wall Street Journal
Monday, April 30, 2012

Prohibition causes the huge profits enriching crooked officials and violent criminals, and the government causes great harm when it puts millions of Americans in jail to protect them from themselves...

Blank Section (Placeholder)Blogs

Not all convicts are created equal

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(posted originally at The New York Times' Room for Debate)

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You Say You Want a Revolution

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Across the globe, large numbers of young people have been rapidly congregating in public places, overwhelming police attempts to maintain order. These youths have been burning, looting, and destroying property.

Other Media

You Say You Want a Revolution

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First the Arab Spring, now the American autumn. What next...?

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You Say You Want a Revolution

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First the Arab Spring, now the American autumn. What next?

British Police Hobbled by Their Own Prejudice

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The current violent riots in England remind me of my experiences in American policing, as well as those with the English police.

Featured Commentary

British Police Hobbled by Their Own Prejudice

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Daily Beast
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Law enforcement in England could borrow from lessons learned by U.S. police during the civil-rights movement...

Featured Commentary

Letter: Mexico's Prosperity Masks Deep Rot

by Joseph D. McNamaravia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Regarding Bret Stephens's "The Mexican Paradox" (Global View, May 31): Felipe Calderón's declared war against drug cartels has resulted in more than 34,612 murders...

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