NYPD veteran joins Secret Service in first of its kind role in the New York City field office

unnameddsdd (2)
James Byrne (left) with NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban.
Photo courtesy of NYPD

James Byrne first joined the NYPD in 2001, mere weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks that changed the way New Yorkers would live their lives forever.

Soon after the World Trade Center was destroyed and thousands of lives were lost, the police department would see a boom in new recruits. However, Byrne was already fresh out of graduation and was assigned to stand guard not far from ground zero where he would check local resident’s IDs to ensure they could pass back and forth. It was here when he said he discovered the true meaning of the career he had chosen.

“I remember a woman, she pulled over while I was on a traffic post on Canal Street, she couldn’t go any further — it was early on. It was like the first couple of days after 9/11. She rolled the window down and she said to me: ‘Thank you so much for being here, thank you so much for your service,’” Byrne recalled. “I was 23 years old, I was like, wow, okay.”

Over a 23-year career, Byrne worked his way through the ranks from a beat cop to the police commissioner’s communications adviser. Now he is joining the United States Secret Service in a newly created position.

James Byrne with his mother after NYPD graduation. Photo courtesy of James Byrne

Byrne described the early 2000s as a time during which the Big Apple pulled together, which only reinforced the feeling that he had chosen the right line of work. Over his tenure, Byrne reached the rank of detective and worked many different roles, including at the department’s internal magazine and within the media section of the police department known as DCPI (Deputy Commissioner of Public Information) before becoming the communication advisor to top cop Edward Caban. In this role Byrne would work closely with Caban aiding him with his numerous public appearances and working with the commissioner on helping him write his speeches.

“I took on a larger role as a speechwriter for him. You know, he went to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of events and he would speak,” Byrne recalled. “I got to hear from him his thoughts on things and make sure that we captured that in the messaging. It was truly a great adventure.”

However, Byrne says that adventure has come to an end. Feeling he has reached the pinnacle of his career and having experienced what he cites as unforgettable moments during his journey, the detective says he feels the time was right to move on to the next big adventure, something Caban himself lamented.

“During my tenure, James led my Executive Communications Team and served as chief speechwriter. An integral member of my staff, he will be missed greatly. On behalf of the entire NYPD, I wish him all the best in his new role with the United States Secret Service,” Caban said.

“I got to hear from him his thoughts on things and make sure that we captured that in the messaging. It was truly a great adventure,’ Byrne said of Caban. Photo courtesy of NYPD

For the very first time, the United States Secret Service has established the role of public affairs officers in select field offices across the nation, including New York City. In this brand new office, Byrne will be working in public affairs, handling inquiries and other matters when it comes to the agency’s work locally in conjunction with their national work battling crimes from cyber attacks to financial misdeeds.

“I have the opportunity to help shape the role,” Byrne said while reflecting on both his time in the NYPD and his new role with the Secret Service. “I feel blessed. I couldn’t have planned where I ended up, you have to show up every day and try and do the right thing.”

“We are excited to have James join the New York Field Office team,” Special Agent Patrick J. Freaney at U.S. Secret Service’s New York Field Office said. “His experience as a professional communicator will be an invaluable asset as we strive to keep the public informed about our office’s investigations and engagements.”