Meet The Founder

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Founder & Executive Director
SSA Joseph Occhipinti (Ret)

 

Joseph Occhipinti is a native New Yorker where his desire to be involved in community service led him to a career in law enforcement. He graduated from Brooklyn College after attending night classes that earned him a Bachelor of Arts degree.

    • In January 1969, Joe joined the United States Army Reserves where he served as a Military Policeman in the 812 M.P. Company at Fort Hamilton, New York and was honorably discharged six years later.
    • In March 1972, Joe joined the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Customs Patrol Officer where he was assigned to investigate international drug trafficking and organized crime in the New York City tri-state area. In less than five years, Joe compiled one of the highest felony arrest and contraband seizure records in Customs service history.
    • In 1974, Joe became the elected President of the Federal Agents’ Police Benevolent Association where, for eighteen years, he developed that fledgling association into one of the largest federal police organizations in the tri-state area. He was credited with the introduction and passage of a New York-New Jersey law that granted peace officer status to federal agents.
    • In 1976, Joe transferred to the Immigration & Naturalization Service and became one of the country’s foremost experts on ethnic organized crime and international smuggling. In 1979 he worked deep undercover, infiltrating a major Dominican drug cartel that led to one of the largest cocaine seizures in U.S. history.
    • In 1983, Joe became the youngest agent to be promoted to Chief of the New York City Anti-Smuggling Unit. In 1990, Joe retired on disability that was attributed to his five-year undercover work infiltrating a major drug cartel.
    • In 1990, Joe retired on disability that was attributed to his five-year undercover work infiltrating a major drug cartel.
    • In 1995, Joseph Occhipinti established with his wife, Angela the National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF) where he now serves as its volunteer Executive Director. The NPDF has grown to be one of the largest police foundations in the United States that has extended internationally to twelve foreign countries.

Awards & Accolades

Joe’s has been recognized internationally as a humanitarian due to his lifesaving efforts on “Operation Kids” and for  his efforts which resulted in saving the lives of dozens of critically ill children worldwide.

    • These successes have been profiled on the “CBS Early Show” and recognized by key elected officials, state legislatures and foreign governments.
    • In fact, Joe has received prestigious international humanitarian awards in Italy, had a historic private audience with Pope Benedict, received an award at the United Nations.
    • In May 2005, Joe Occhipinti was commissioned as an Honorary “Colonel Aide De Camp” by the Governor of Tennessee and in December 2006 received a Special Achievement Award from the Governor of North Carolina.
    • In January 2013, received Ecuador’s highest award, “Sol De Oro” from their Vice President.
      Over the past decade.
      • 2016 Received Humanitarian Award from “The Gift of Life”
    • Joe Occhipinti has been the recipient of numerous international, legislative and Police Association Awards for his many accomplishments with the NPDF. These distinguished awards were presented by the:
        • New York State Shields, Columbia Association, American Society for Public Administration, New York Detectives Crime Clinic, New York State Police Chiefs Benevolent Association, Ministers of Harlem, USA, among others.
        • Additionally, he was recognized via Congressional Proclamation by Members of Congress.
        • New Jersey and New York General Assemblies and Senate, Mayor of New York City, the Governments of Ecuador, Peru and Dominican Republic.
        • Today, Joe Occhipinti is considered one of the most decorated federal agents in United States history, credited with three U.S. Attorney General Awards and 78 official commendations for meritorious service and valor.
        • He served on several executive boards and is a proud member of the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Association (FLEOA) New York City Police Department Honor Legion, New Jersey Police Honor Legion, among others.


      Joe Occhipinti resides in New Jersey with his wife, Angela of 41 years and three daughters where he continues to volunteer as the Executive Director for the National Police Defense Foundation.The NPDF membership exceeds over 200,000 members and supporters worldwide. The basic mission statement of the National Police Defense Foundation is to “Protect & Support” the efforts of law enforcement. This is being accomplished through the important Medical and Legal Support Services provided the national law enforcement community, as well as several NPDF law enforcement programs involving public safety and child safety programs.

      It was Joe’s foresight that he established the congressionally recognized “Safe Cop” program that posts rewards for public information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who shoots a member law enforcement officer. This successful reward program is credited for bringing many cop killers nationwide to justice.

      Joe also established the internationally renowned  “Operation Kids”, program which has (1) distributed over 250,000 free fingerprint/DNA kits to parents (2) posted rewards for missing children (3) established  “Project Pedophile” (4) funded many youth athletic events and other related charitable endeavors for children (5) granted over 50 scholarships to college bound students and (6) arranged life-saving operations and medical treatment to critically and severely handicapped children.