Press Release

New York Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan to Receive Robert S. Tucker Prize for Prosecutorial Excellence

June 4, 2024
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University will bestow the 2024 Robert S. Tucker Prize for Prosecutorial Excellence on Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of criminal prosecution and excellence in prosecutorial practice.

“Bridget Brennan has had an impressive career demonstrating her commitment to the pursuit of justice as a narcotics prosecutor and as an advocate for alternatives to prosecution,” said Haub Law Dean Horace E. Anderson Jr. “Her tenacity in leading the fight against drug abuse in New York is truly admirable. A prestigious jury of prosecutors, former prosecutors, criminal law experts and law professors has selected her for the Tucker Prize in recognition of the imagination and compassion with which she deals with a serious social issue, one that touches all too many lives in the New York area and beyond.”

New York has long been at the forefront of the drug crisis and fueled by the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has grown substantially worse. A recent report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 3,156 overdose deaths occurred in New York City in 2023.

Under Brennan’s leadership, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor has developed expertise to meet challenges posed by each new phase of the deadly opioid epidemic. She established the Heroin Interdiction Team, the Digital Forensic Services Unit, the Criminal and Investigative Analysts Unit, the Prescription Drug Investigation Unit, the Narcotics Gang Unit, the Money Laundering and Financial Investigation Unit, the Community Outreach Unit, the Discovery Compliance and Litigation Unit, the Post Judgment Litigation Unit, the Conviction Review Committee, and the Educational Outreach Committee.

Brennan was appointed as New York City’s Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor on May 1, 1998. She oversees a staff of approximately 200 legal and support personnel. The agency has its own budget for operating expenses and receives funding from the city, state, and federal government. She is New York City’s longest serving Special Narcotics Prosecutor. She joined the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in 1993.

Brennan has worked to raise public awareness about the heightened risk of overdose, most recently linked to lethal synthetic opioid drugs that saturate the supply of narcotics in New York City. She has been a longtime advocate of alternatives to incarceration and has worked with District Attorney Offices of the five boroughs to promote treatment alternatives, Judicial Diversion, Prosecutor-Led Diversion Programs and Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Court.

The Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor strives to reduce demand for narcotics by raising public awareness and facilitating alternatives to incarceration and drug treatment, and is in regular communication with providers in the fields of education and drug treatment. It is committed to ensuring that the criminal justice system is fair for all. As head of the office, Brennan has implemented a strategic approach to protecting and saving lives that reduces arrests and incarceration. By intercepting large amounts of lethal narcotics at the top of the supply chain, and investigating and prosecuting high-level traffickers, the office prevents countless overdoses and street-level arrests.

Brennan was appointed by the five New York City District Attorneys to investigate and prosecute citywide, national, and international drug trafficking in partnership with city, state, and federal law enforcement. She blends tough and fair prosecutions with compassion and empathy. She has been a strong voice in calling attention to the rising rates of drug overdoses and has given needed recommendations for reducing these tragic deaths. In 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, more than 3,000 New York City residents died of overdoses – the highest number on record.

A native of Wisconsin, Brennan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and she graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1983. Before her legal career, she was a print, radio, and television reporter in her home state. Brennan joined the New York County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney in 1983. She served as the Chief of the Special Investigations Bureau during her time with the D.A.’s office.

Brennan has been a speaker at international conferences and in academic settings throughout the United States, and has been interviewed as an expert on national and local media. She was recognized as Outstanding Prosecutor by the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association, and for her leadership by the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York County Lawyers Association, and numerous community organizations, enforcement agencies, and substance use treatment providers. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Police Defense Foundation.

“Bridget Brennan’s remarkable career as a narcotics prosecutor is a reflection of the values and commitment in criminal prosecution that we aim to recognize with this award,” said Robert S. Tucker, Chairman and CEO of T&M, whose generous gift has endowed this annual award at Haub Law. “We are delighted to present her with the Robert S. Tucker Prize for prosecutorial excellence and to celebrate her accomplishments among her peers and the broader legal community,” said Tucker, a Haub Law alumnus and Pace University Board of Trustees member.

The Robert S. Tucker Prize for Prosecutorial Excellence is awarded annually to an individual or a group of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of criminal prosecution and who demonstrate excellence in prosecutorial practice. Honorees are selected each year by a jury comprising former prosecutors and Haub Law faculty members. The award ceremony brings together prosecutors from across the region and state, civic leaders, members of the judiciary, New York City government and the Haub Law community to recognize these distinguished individuals for their work. Past Award Recipients include Republic of Moldova Anticorruption Prosecutor Veronica Dragalin, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and the Office of the Bronx District Attorney, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, former New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, and Richard A. Brown, the late Queens District Attorney.

The ceremony for the Robert S. Tucker Prize for Prosecutorial Excellence will take place on September 23, 2024 at Pace University in Manhattan, NY. For additional information about attending the ceremony, please email Rachael Silva.