Daniel Higgins

Place of birth: Buffalo, NY.

What is your profession? Retired from NY State DOCCS/Parole and working part time for the Town of Tonawanda Municipal Court as a Court Security Officer.

How do you celebrate your Irishness? With friends and family whenever possible. Weather at home or at a favorite watering hole, nothing better than time with friends and family.

Name a hero you admire and why? My dad, Thomas Higgins. He led an exemplary life of public service, from his time in the USMC to his 40+ year career in law enforcement. 12 of those years he was the elected Sheriff of Erie County, NY. He was a good dad and role model and the reason I chose law enforcement as a profession. He worked had to provide for our family and I have tried to live my life as he did.

Something people would be surprised to know about me... I am a pretty sensitive and emotional person. I do my best to hide it most times.

Biography: I was the second born to my parents, Thomas and Shirley Higgins, and grew up in a tight knit neighborhood in South Buffalo. I attended St Thomas Aquinas for grade school and was an altar boy at our parish church. I graduated from St Joseph's Collegiate Institute in 1982 and went on to Canisius College where I graduated in 1987 with BA in Communication.

I began my law enforcement career in 1988 with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service/Buffalo as a Detention Enforcement Officer, working in the Deportation and Detention Office.  In 1990, I began my NYS employment with NYS Division of Parole working as a Warrant and Transfer officer in both Rochester and Buffalo. In 1996, I began as a Facility Parole Officer at Gowanda and Wende CF’s. In 2000, I went on to the Rochester Parole Office as a Parole Officer and eventually transferred to the Buffalo Parole Office in 2004. During my time in Rochester, I completed the DCJS Instructor Development School as well as Firearm Instructors School and received a collateral assignment in the NYS Parole Staff Development Bureau. After my transfer to Buffalo, I went on and completed the DCJS O/C (pepper spray) training course and became an O/C instructor as well.  During my time as a PO in both Rochester and Buffalo, I supervised both regular caseloads and the Electronic Monitoring/GPS caseloads as well. In 2016, I interviewed for and was selected to fill a vacancy in the Bureau of Special Services in Buffalo, to take on warrant apprehension efforts of certain Parole cases. Shortly thereafter, I was received a collateral assigned to the United States Marshal Service as a Task force Officer with the Western District of NY Regional Fugitive Task Force. I retired in May of 2022 after a 35-year career in state and federal law enforcement. Since my retirement, I have been working at the Town of Tonawanda Municipal court as a court security officer. 

I am an active member of the Police Emerald Society/A.O.H Division #4 in Buffalo. This is a fraternal organization of Irish/Catholic law enforcement officers, both active and retired, from in and around the WNY area.  I currently serve as the Health and Welfare committee chairman, and I also help to organize our post St Patrick's Day parade celebration for our members and their families. I was honored to be named Man of the Year by this esteemed organization in 2009. 

In 2005, I was honored to be inducted into the St Joseph's Collegiate Institute Sports Hall of Fame. Some years after my induction, I was asked to serve on the Sports Hall of Fame committee and I'm still an active member to this day. 

I have been married to my lovely wife Julie for 31 years and together we have 2 outstanding sons, Ben (27), Quinn (23) and our most beautiful daughter Emma (21). Our son Quinn has carried on in service to our country as he is a 2nd LT. in the USMC.

2024 Heroes of Irish America Awards