Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Director, Civil Matters for the New York City Police Department
Favorite Professors: Richard Garner, Nicholas Rizopoulos
Advice for current students: “Take advantage of the many opportunities the University has to offer.”
“It’s an around the clock job,” said Elizabeth Daitz ’02. “But, I love every second of it.” Daitz is the first ever director, civil matters for the New York City Police Department. The position was created in 2014 to combat the influx of frivolous civil litigation against police officers. As the inaugural director, civil matters, Daitz advises the NYPD on policies and procedures and she was tasked with conceptualizing, developing and leading the Police Action Litigation Section (PALS), a first of its kind unit. PALS strives to create an environment where the law can be properly enforced by officers without the constant fear of civil liability. “I go to bed every night knowing that what I do is important,” Daitz said about her current role.
Daitz’s skills and experience as a trial lawyer made her the ideal person to take on this colossal challenge. For almost nine years, she worked for the New York City Law Department’s Office of the Corporation Counsel. During her time there, she served as a lead attorney on many significant cases, including the high-profile “Central Park Jogger” case. “To me, there is nothing cooler than walking into a federal court room,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some very important cases, some of which have even affected constitutional law.” Her impressive law career may never have become a reality, however, had she not attended Adelphi. “It wasn’t until Dean Garner said I should go to law school that I thought I could even do it,” she said.
Daitz began her Adelphi journey in the fall of 1998. She enrolled in the University’s Honors College as a sociology major with a minor in art and commuted to classes from her home in East Rockaway. She received the Presidential Scholarship and was on the Dean’s List all four of her years at the University.
In addition to being her mentor, Dean Garner was one of Daitz’s favorite professors at Adelphi, as was Professor Nicholas Rizopoulos. “In his classes, Professor Rizopoulos plants these seeds that stay with you forever,” said Daitz who went on to say, “The professors at Adelphi really see the best in their students.”
That is why Daitz chooses to give back to the University by making regular contributions to the Nicholas X. Rizopoulos Honors College Endowment. “I’m glad to do it because I know my money is going to kids who need it,” she said. “I always think back to being that kid sitting in Dean Garner’s office. I was working two jobs and I needed help. At Adelphi, they were always there for me. I never slipped through the cracks. ”
Daitz credits Adelphi for preparing her for law school and her career. “The ability to read and absorb large volumes of information was a skill I learned at Adelphi,” she said. “And, I would not have been able to get through law school without the discipline I learned at the University.” Despite attending classes at other prominent institutions such as Oxford University, Daitz said, “I received a better education than many of the people I know who went to other prestigious schools.”
Daitz says that she still sees many of the friends she made while at Adelphi, “Those bonds never go away.” As for regrets, she has only one: “Although I got so much out of my college experience, I wish I took advantage of even more of the many opportunities the University had to offer.”
Published December 2016