Division of Criminal Justice Services

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John Caher, (518) 457-8415 or (518) 225-5240 (cell)
For immediate release: Friday, September 25, 2009

Deputy Secretary O’Donnell Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Denise O’Donnell honored by women law enforcement officers

Denise E. O’Donnell, the Deputy Secretary for Public Safety in the Paterson Administration, was honored by the National Center for Women and Policing last night with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The organization, which is the largest organization of sworn and civilian women at the command levels of law enforcement in the United States, cited Ms. O’Donnell for her 25 years of service to the law enforcement community.

“This Award recognizes your lifetime commitment to public service, advancement of women in enforcement and dedication to the pursuit of justice,” the National Center said in bestowing the award on Deputy Secretary O’Donnell. “As the first -- and, to date, only -- woman to ever serve as United States Attorney in upstate New York, you are a role model to all of us and proof of what women can accomplish in law enforcement. As the top law enforcement official in New York State, you demonstrate the qualities -- intelligence, integrity and devotion -- to which we all aspire.

The National Center for Women and Policing this week is holding its 14th Annual Leadership Conference in Saratoga Springs. This year’s conference, which focuses on leadership, learning and life skills, is sponsored by the New York State Police and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and co-hosted by the Saratoga Spring Police Department.

Also at an awards ceremony last night, the organization honored the following women with Breaking the Glass Ceiling Awards:

Chief Cynthia Adam
NYS University Police

Major Debra Baker
New Jersey State Police

Major Robin H. Benziger
New York State Police

Gina L. Bianchi, Esq., Deputy Commissioner and Counsel
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services

Major AnneMarie DeAngelo
New Jersey State Police

Assistant Chief Kathleen Finneran
Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department

Assistant Chief Anne FitzSimmons
White Plains Department of Public Safety

Deputy Counsel Lois Goland
New York State Police

Police Inspector Barbara Green
Nassau County Police

Assistant Deputy Superintendent Patricia M. Groeber
New York State Police

Deputy Chief Lorraine Hannon
Nassau County Police

Captain Patricia Hannon
Yonkers Police Department

Chief of Housing Joanne Jaffe
New York City Police Department

Mary B. Kavaney, Assistant Secretary for Public Safety
State of New York

Assistant Superintendent Carrie Ann Keating
Essex County Sheriff’s Department

Chief Carol Lawler
Guilderland Police Department

Margaret A. Marshall, Director, Fiscal Management
New York State Police

Chief Inspector Casandra Martha
Central Police Department

Julie M. Pasquini, Director, Office of Public Safety
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services

Captain Paula Pellizzari
Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department

Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti
New York City Police Department

Assistant Deputy Chief Kim Rehbein
Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department

Chief Margaret Ryan
Dryden Police Department

Deputy Chief Theresa Shortell
New York City Police Department

Deputy Regional Director Mary Smith
New York State Division of Parole

Captain Rebecca Thompson
Syracuse Police Department

Chief Lianne Tuomey
University of Vermont Police


Col. Deborah Campbell, the highest ranking female in the New York State Police and chairwoman of this year’s conference, said the National Center for Women and Policing is an organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women in law enforcement throughout the United States and abroad. 

 “While both men and woman are an important part of law enforcement, because women have different life experiences than men, they approach policing with a different perspective, bringing a diversity which only serves to make the profession stronger,” Col. Campbell said.  “Conferences like this one serve to raise awareness of the important role that women play in the law enforcement profession and we hope will encourage many young women to consider policing as a career choice.”  

As Governor David A. Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Ms. O'Donnell oversees 11 public safety agencies, 42,000 employees and a $4.7 billion budget. Among the agencies in her portfolio are the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Office of Homeland Security, the Division of State Police, the Department of Correctional Services, the Division of Parole, the Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the State Emergency Management Office, the Crime Victims Board, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, and the State Commission of Correction.

Ms. O'Donnell was appointed United States Attorney by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and became the first woman ever to hold the position of top federal prosecutor in upstate New York. She was appointed commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services in 2007 by Governor Eliot Spitzer and promoted to deputy secretary for public safety by Governor Paterson.

Ms. O’Donnell was inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards and honors, including the New York State Bar Association's Ruth G. Shapiro Award and the State Bar’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.