Patrick Murphy, the son of a New York City policeman who led the city’s police department in the early 1970s, steering it through one of its rockiest periods as he instituted reforms to root out corruption, died Friday at 91, the New York Times reports. Murphy was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay in 1970 after the so-called Knapp Commission, an independent body headed by lawyer Whitman Knapp, had begun investigating explosive allegations by Frank Serpico, David Durk, and other whistleblowers of pervasive corruption.
Murphy later held leadership positions in Washington, D.C., and Detroit. In Washington, he got attention for his “fleeing felon rule,” ordering officers not to shoot at looters in 1968 in the riots after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Murphy's emphasis on better education and training helped transform U.S. police work from a journeyman trade into a profession. “He is perhaps the most influential police leader over the past half-century,” said Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.