Joe Esposito, NYPD Chief During 9/11, Remembered As a Friend of the Jewish Community

By Matis Glenn

Joe Esposito (Department of Homeland Security/Barry Bahler)

Joe Esposito, the longest-serving NYPD Chief of Department, who was at the helm during 9/11 and superstorm Sandy, died last week. He was 73 years old.

Esposito is remembered as a dear friend to the Jewish community since the 1980s, when he became a sergeant in Boro Park’s 66th Precinct. He remained so as he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Chief of Department — the highest ranking officer in uniform — in the year 2000.

“Esposito was accessible. He took care of things for us whenever we needed help,” a longtime law-enforcement chaplain told Hamodia, referring to the Jewish community. “Whether it was helping us arrange large-scale levayos, working together with Jewish community organizations … when the community reached out to him, he took care of whatever needed to be done.

“He was very sensitive, compassionate, and yet tough and fearless at the same time … He was a leader who led from the front, not from the back.

“I remember seeing him at Ground Zero after 9/11 multiple times. If it was 3 a.m., and they recovered a victim of the attacks, he didn’t miss any of it. One night, there were three different recoveries, and he was there at each one. He took it personally.

“His love for fellow cops was legendary; they knew he cared deeply for every single cop, and every single community. He was just that type of person.”

Mayor Eric Adams praised Esposito on social media. “He worked hard for his city right up to the end. And he left it a better place,” Mayor Eric Adams wrote.

Despite suffering from cancer, Esposito continued to serve the city as Commissioner of New York City Emergency Management. He remained in the position from 2014 until 2018.

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