John Aloysius Gaffney

Dec. 22, 1943 - Aug. 15, 1953
John Aloysius Gaffney

When Supt. John A. Warner was called to active service in the U.S. Army in August 1943, Governor Thomas E. Dewey appointed Capt. John A. Gaffney, commander of Troop K, as his successor.

Supt. Gaffney was born Aug. 28, 1900 in New York City. He joined the NYSP on Jan. 1, 1923 after service in the U.S. Marine Corps and served for more than 30 years. He was promoted to corporal in 1926, sergeant in 1927, 1st sergeant in 1929, lieutenant in 1930, captain in 1937, and deputy superintendent in July 1943, one month before his appointment as superintendent.

Supt. Gaffney instituted several major organizational changes in the first year following his appointment, including moving BCI headquarters from Troy to Division Headquarters in Albany, relocating the Laboratory from Schenectady to a new facility in Albany and forming a Central Information Bureau in Division Headquarters to modernize and improve the Division's criminal record files.

Manpower and material shortages associated with World War II afflicted the NYSP during the early years of Supt. Gaffney's tenure. The years immediately after the end of hostilities in August 1945 saw the state police work hard to make up for lost time. Of the 305 men who left the NYSP for military service, 110 returned after the war. They needed to be retrained, and the New York State School for Police, suspended in 1941 for the duration of the war, was reopened. Similarly, to maintain the skills of veteran troopers, all personnel who had not attended the basic school in the previous five years were required to participate in a two-week refresher course, the forerunner of today's "in-service" school. Meanwhile, the Basic School for recruit troopers, also on hiatus during the war, was re-instituted and extended to a six-week course.

Elsewhere, Supt. Gaffney, in a major departure from NYSP tradition, established a new manual entitled, New York State Police Rules and Regulations, replacing Supt. Chandler's General Order Number 1 of 1917 as the guide for conduct and discipline of New York State Police members.

Failing health forced Supt. Gaffney to retire Aug. 15, 1953, and he died Dec. 14, 1954, after dedicating more than 30 of his 54 years in service to the New York State Police. He and his wife Janet had six children.