From the Digital Archives Maintained by the NYCHS
DOC shield A NYC DOC Boldest web page in early 1999 featured a brief bio on then newly-appointed Chief of Department William J. Fraser. It included a photo from his first departmental identification card as a new Correction Officer 22 years ago. That color identification photo and the text below are from that former Boldest web page now in the NYCHS digital archives. NYCHS logo

The black and white photo below is from an issue of DOC newsletter On the Gate reporting on the New Year's Day 1997 visit of Mayor Giuliani to Rikers.

Brief Bio of Chief of Department Fraser

In this On the Gate newsletter archives photo, among those taken during Mayor Giuliani's Jan. 1, 1997, visit to Rikers, then Warden Fraser points out a feature in the island's oldest jail, the James A. Taylor Center, originally the city Penitentiary. In background center is then DOC Commissioner Michael P. Jacobson. A DOC Boldest web page on the mayoral visit also has been digitally archived by NYCHS and can be accessed via a link listed below.

Though not foreseen at that time, William J. Fraser may have started his path to the city jail system's top uniformed management position

Timeline on
Chief Fraser

Academy Recruit

C.O. at CIFM

Capt. at JATC


Exec. at Bk. Cts.

Exec. at EHPW


Warden at MDC

Warden at JATC

Div. II Asst.Chief

Bureau Chief

Acting Chief
of Dept.

Chief of Dept.

-- Chief of Department -- when he organized a union where he worked before taking the Correction Officer exam.

After joining DOC in 1978, he continued his labor relations interest as he advanced through the ranks: first as a Correction Officers' Benevolent Association delegate, later as a Correction Captains Association delegate, and still later as president of the Assistant Deputy Wardens Association.

"With my labor background, I never thought advancement onto and up the uniformed management ladder would ever be open to me," Chief Fraser observes.

"But this Department generally, and this administration in particular, offers opportunities to anyone willing and able to work at getting the job done well, and if possible, done better. In fact, the union experience counts as a plus since it adds insight into how people working together can improve things. Also, I'm lucky to have been in the right place at the right time."

Of Scottish, Irish and English heritage, Fraser and four sisters grew up in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen section near where John Jay College of Criminal Justice now stands. His father was an administrative staffer 46 years with Charles Pfizer company; his mother, a homemaker and later also a nursing home worker.
[chief's CO photo]
C.O. Fraser's
ID Card Photo
Although the family moved to Rockaway Beach when William was still a teen, he continued at Power Memorial Academy despite the long commute to the West Side. He pursued his later studies at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.

Among jobs Fraser had before joining DOC was that of youth counselor with St. John's Home for Boys in the Rockaways. "I ran a housing unit for youngsters sent there by the courts," the Chief recalls.

"You could say it was a forerun of what was still ahead for me,

Other web pages on
the 2 new Commissioners

Links to related
mayoral web pages

Mayor Giuliani Swears in Bernard Kerik as Police Commissioner

Mayor Giuliani Appoints William J. Fraser Correction Commissioner

Links to web pages on NYCHS site referencing Mayor, Wm J. Fraser & Bernard B. Kerik

Mayor Starts '97
With Rikers Visit

Rudolph W. Giuliani Becomes First Mayor to Land on Rikers Via DOC Harbor Unit Boat

William J. Fraser sworn as Chief of Department in Feb. 1999

Link to related
NYPD web page

Updated NYPD Bio
of Police Commissioner
Bernard B. Kerik

Links to related web pages on NYC DOC Boldest site

Bernard B. Kerik displays
Police Commissioner shield
after Mayor Giuliani
announces appointment

Mayor Giulini
Swears in Bernard B.
Kerik as the 40th
Police Commissioner

Farewell Message
from former Correction
Commissioner Kerik

Updated DOC Bio of
Correction Commissioner
William J. Fraser

though when I took the post I didn't know when I'd be called from the Civil Service exam."

Recruit Fraser took the then three weeks of training provided by the Correction Academy "atop the old Tombs."

In the years and roles that followed (including tour commander, executive officer, warden, division chief, bureau chief) he served at or over various commands: Correctional Institution for Men (CIFM), James A. Thomas Center (JATC), Brooklyn House of Detention for Men (BkHDM), Brooklyn Courts (BkCts), Elmhurst Hospital Prison Ward (EHPW), Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward (BHPW), Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC), Division II, and Department-wide Security.

Chief Fraser is proud of having helped implement a standardized and centralized system for gathering and analyzing statistical information measuring performance at individual facilities. He stresses, as his two main interconnected goals, enhancing DOC's Total Efficiency Accountability Management System (TEAMS) and the Department's own sense of professionalism.

Away from the agency, Fraser enjoys reading and sports. He used to help coach community youth basketball teams and still gets in an occasional round of golf ("low 90s"). He and his wife, who have two grown daughters, live in Queens and will observe their 25th wedding anniversary next June 8th.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT: We gratefully acknowledge NYC DOC's permission to post here material used in creating the original version of the NYC DOC web page posted on NYC LINK.
-- Thomas McCarthy, NYCHS webmaster