NEW YORK - Charismatic. Intelligent. Quick with a joke. And, at heart, an Irish-born police officer who loved the city streets.
Those were words spoken at a Funeral Mass on Tuesday morning to describe former Philadelphia Police Commissioner John F. Timoney, who died last week after a battle with lung cancer.
Speaking to family, law enforcement brass, and hundreds of police officers inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, where Timoney immigrated as a child, a star-studded list of mourners remembered the brash and outspoken law enforcement official as a "cop's cop" - thoughtful but tough, intellectual but also street-smart.
"He did so much in so many different facets of policing, and the results were significant," said former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who in 1998 recruited Timoney, a veteran of the New York Police Department, to lead the force in Philadelphia.
William Bratton, the New York City police commissioner who was Timoney's boss in the late 1990s, said Timoney belongs in history books for his dedication to using statistics and data to modernize the way police departments operate. CompStat, the system Timoney helped pioneer as a chief with the NYPD, remains in wide use today.
Timoney "got the best out of everyone," Bratton said. "It was his gift."
The ceremonies Tuesday morning were befitting someone who commanded respect.
Traffic was barred from Fifth Avenue in Midtown starting at the tail end of morning rush hour. Hundreds of NYPD officers in midnight blue uniforms stood shoulder-to-shoulder for five blocks leading to the cathedral. Tourists lined barricades to watch as Timoney's casket - draped in the flag of the NYPD - was slowly driven up on a vintage green fire engine.
And after Mass, a half-dozen NYPD helicopters thundered overhead, causing workers in nearby skyscrapers to peer out their windows toward the sky.
Timoney "was a great man," said Mayor Kenney, who attended wearing a shamrock-emblazoned tie. "The likes of him will never be seen again."
Kenney met Timoney during his tenure as commissioner, from 1998 until 2002. While in Philadelphia, Timoney earned praise from city officials and beat cops alike for his push to modernize the department while introducing new crime-reduction approaches, such as the use of CompStat.
Many of Timoney's approaches were successful: annual murder totals, for example, were as low as they had been in a decade.
In 2000, however, Timoney was criticized after police infiltrated protest groups and arrested about 400 people during the Republican National Convention. The city faced several lawsuits and had to pay an undisclosed amount in settlements for unlawful arrests.
Timoney began his career in the NYPD, spending three decades there and becoming Bratton's top deputy in the late 1990s. After spending four years in Philadelphia, he stepped down to take a job in private security in 2002.
But he quickly returned to public life, becoming Miami's police chief in 2003 and serving until 2010. He was applauded for professionalizing a scandal-plagued department, but criticized for his aggressive approach to policing large-scale events.
In addition to pushing for high-minded innovations, Timoney was embraced by Philadelphia's rank and file for his hard-charging attitude. The blunt-spoken commissioner regularly patrolled the city by bike, and during his first week on the job, he apprehended a suspected purse-snatcher while jogging near Rittenhouse Square.
That story was repeated Tuesday by the author Tom Wolfe, a friend of Timoney's who wrote a foreword for the commissioner's memoir, Beat Cop to Top Cop.
John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD, noted that few police officers had the combination of toughness and intellect that could endear them to police officers and renowned authors alike.
Timoney was unique, Miller said - a Renaissance man who loved his identity as a police officer.
"If you close your eyes to picture an old-time New York cop," he said, "you very well might be picturing John Timoney."
After several decades leading big-city police departments, Timoney rounded out his career by working with the Ministry of the Interior in Bahrain, where there was widespread civil unrest, and also consulting with the Camden County police.
Near the end of Tuesday's ceremonies, his children, Sean and Christine, and his granddaughter, Leah, thanked the crowd for honoring their father, a man who they said retained his fighting spirit whether in Dublin, New York, Philadelphia, or Miami.
"He was still the toughest man I ever met," said Christine, choking back tears. "I am so honored to call him my dad."