After attending New York City Catholic schools for K–12, Timlin applied to several local Catholic colleges. The oldest of seven kids, going away to college was not an option. Neighborhood friends had attended SFC and he visited the college several times and liked what he saw.
“I studied business management, which I found very interesting,” Timlin says. “I’ve always been a people person. I was active in team sports and I liked teamwork. I grew to love building teams and managing people. I always had an interest in leadership. I studied leaders and I thought a business management degree would give me a broad enough experience that I could do a lot of different things with it. I’m very grateful that I did because it worked out exactly that way.”
During his college years, there were a few key people that took an interest mentoring him. One of them was Brother George, who Timlin remembers greeting students as they arrived in the morning.
“The Franciscan spirit truly informed the core culture at St. Francis College,” says Timlin. “I remember being encouraged to expand my horizons, such as taking electives I wouldn’t normally take. … To go to a college that was small enough, but big enough to get a good education, I felt very privileged.”
The year after graduating SFC, Timlin joined the NYPD, serving for 22 years. He worked in operational roles his entire police career. He was stationed in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, moving up the ranks from police officer to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy inspector, inspector, deputy chief and assistant chief, and says he truly enjoyed his work. His final position was commanding officer of the Bronx. During these years, he also attended New York Law School at night, earning his law degree.
He retired in 2002 and went to work in the private sector in corporate security. In 2010, then-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly asked him to return to the NYPD as Deputy Commissioner, which he did for two years.
Today, Timlin is the CEO of Silverseal, a corporate security consultancy. The company’s mission is to support its clients with leading edge technologies and create the safest and most positive environments possible.
“It’s a global company and we do all types of protection, risk management and consulting work,” says Timlin.
Silverseal has partnered with a company called StoneTurn for The New Blue, a project designed to bring about transformational change in law enforcement by repairing relationships between police departments and their communities. This is done through open dialogue among community members, police leaders and elected officials to develop a new framework for public safety efforts.
“My company are the subject matter experts, both on the law enforcement side and on the community side,” Timlin says. “I developed very deep relationships with community members all over New York City during my time in the police department.
“My role in putting together this service offering is to come in and talk to community people one-on-one, do surveys and town halls,” he continues. “Do an analysis of the police departments as well—their operational demands, but also the efficacy or lack thereof of community outreach.”
There are current discussions with municipalities and police departments all over the country to utilize The New Blue. The goal is to understand underlying issues and areas for improvement; then set goals and objectives to manage expectations and align efforts. Customized tools are developed to help police departments integrate changes. Timlin says the Franciscan mission fuels his work in “a big way.”
“Outreach is very important,” says Timlin. “There’s never a time in our history where we need to reach out to bridge gaps like we do now. I like to have everybody have an opportunity to be heard. The Franciscan mission very much informs that.”
During the time of COVID-19, Silverseal has done consulting for corporations and government and given guidance on safety precautions in a diverse range of situations and environments. It’s always important for people in leadership positions to lead by example, like wearing masks. “A collective, group conscience as I like to call it,” Timlin says.
As for building stronger ties between police departments and communities, Timlin says dialogue is key.
“You can’t separate perception from reality unless you have dialogue,” he says. “The number one thing we need at this moment in time is dialogue.
“I think it’s critically important to be as open and transparent as you can be,” he adds. “There needs to be a concerted effort for elected officials to champion that cause. Let’s talk. We need to come together.”