HOME . Whereas Tom Constantine has brought great honor and distinction to his family, his country, his Irish heritage and the profession of law enforcement, we believe he has earned the grant of a distinctive coat-of-arms in recognition and celebration of his character and achievement.

He is of the famed O Consaidins of County Clare who trace their lineage back to Constantine O'Brien, who died in the year 1193 A.D. So we take as our starting point the arms of the O Consaidins, which feature three lions passant guardant.

The number three has great significance in the history of Ireland and in Mr. Constantine's career.

When the sons of Mil first came to the island, they landed three times and each time were met and welcomed by a woman, each of whom told them her name and asked that the land be forever called by that name. The three names Banba, Fodla and Eriu have been on Ireland ever since.

Centuries later, when St. Patrick brought the Christian faith to the the people of Ireland he drew on the native three-leaved shamrock to explain one of the central mysteries of that faith.

Mr. Constantine himself is a citizen of the world, and so we find resonances from the world's many traditions surround him. Millions of people in the Orient look to the twelve year cycle of the zodiac in gaining insight into human character. Mr. Constantine was born in 1938, a year of the tiger. The Chinese believe such years to be years of great achievement. Indeed, in 1962, another year of the tiger, Mr. Constantine was graduated first in his class as a New York State Trooper. Again, in 1986, another year of the tiger, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York chose him to lead the state police.

And so, we grant Mr. Constantine the tiger as his heraldic beast.

The Hindus have a powerful goddess named Durga. She is depicted riding on the back sometimes of a lion and sometimes of a tiger. She carries in her many hands the weapons the gods have given her with which to prosecute the struggle to drive evil from the world. We grant Mr. Constantine three tigers to represent the three weapons that he has in his hands: faith, hope and love. And those three weapons are given him to confront the three evils that plague the world today: drugs, violence and intolerance.

In commemoration of Mr. Constantine's historic mission in Northern Ireland where he has undertaken to oversee the reform and rebirth of the police service, a task essential to the achievement of lasting peace, we grant him as his crest the phoenix, the magical bird that rises out of the conflagation reborn and renewed because we have faith that under his oversight, the men and women of Northern Ireland's police service will find the way to reconstitute and renew their organization and it will become the most powerful and trusted instrument of the peace process. And in her beak his phoenix shall bear the olive branch of peace.

In honor of the loving family that has steadfastly supported Mr. Constantine and generously shared him with all the world, we grant him the seven stars of the Pleiades, representing his wife Ruth Ann and their six children.

And in honor of the essence of democratic government and freedom of expression which he, as a law enforcement officer, has supported and defended with unstinting loyalty and devotion, we grant him the motto of the free press of his ancestral town of Ennis, County Clare, The Clare Champion: Eirim chun mo ghniomh a chriochnu; I arise to complete my task.

And finally, in honor of the New York State Police, the shield on which these arms are emblazoned will be on the left, where the heart is, purple; and on the right, gray.


Origin: Custom
Arms: Party per pale pourpre and argent, three Tygers passant reguardant per pale or and blanc.
Crest: A phoenix in flames holding an olive branch in its beak
all proper, encircled by three mullets in dexter,
three in sinister, and one in chief, the last
enlarged, all or.
Motto: In the language of the Irish people: I arise
to complete my task.

Historical Interpretations of the Symbolism:

Argent (silver, gray or white): Peace and Sincerity.
Pourpre (purple): Royal Majesty, Sovereignty, and Justice.
Argent and Pourpre Together: The New York State Troopers.
Or (gold): Generosity and Elevation of the Mind.
Proper: Natural Colors.
Per Pale: Military strength.
Tyger: Fierceness and Valour; Dangerous if Aroused.
Phoenix: Symbol of Resurrection.
Olive Branch: Peace and Concordance.Mullets (Stars):
Divine Quality from Above.

Constantine coat of arms

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