NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Joseph J. Esposito was an award-winning New York City police chief at the time of his retirement, a year before being appointed Office of Emergency Management commissioner in 2014.
Esposito joined the NYPD as a trainee in 1968. During the four decades in uniform, he held “every job in the department” and had been NYPD chief for 13 years. During his tenure, Esposito earned some of the NYPD’s highest medals and commendations, including the Combat Cross and Medal for Valor, and oversaw the department during the tragedies of the 9/11 attacks and Superstorm Sandy.
When he reached the NYPD’s mandatory retirement age of 63, Esposito was the only four-star chief in the NYPD and the highest ranking uniformed member of the department.
New York’s Emergency Management Department evolved into its current role in 1996 and elevated to department-level status reporting to the mayor in late 2001. After becoming commissioner, Esposito led the city’s response to its first ebola patient in 2014, the East Village explosion and collapse in 2015, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, and the Chelsea bombing in 2016.
In a CBS2 exclusive in 2016 regarding allegations of connections to a political campaign donor, Esposito recieved praise for his merits behind his OEM appointment.
“Commissioner Esposito’s unrivaled credentials were the only reasons he got this job,” said Eric Falk, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio.
While Esposito handled past weather events that threatened to cripple traffic and transit in the city, criticism about preparations for the nor’easter on Nov. 15 put his future with the department in question.