Danino: The ‘thinking man’s cop

Veteran police officer investigated some of the country's top leaders, including Olmert and Katsav.

Yochanan Danino GOOD 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Yochanan Danino GOOD 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The next police chief, 51-yearold Cmdr. Yochanan Danino, is a veteran police officer who oversaw some of the most sensitive investigations into the country’s leaders, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former president Moshe Katsav as head of the Operations and Investigations Branch.
Described by colleagues as a highly thoughtful and sensitive commander, Danino, currently head of the southern police district, enjoys an image of a gentleman officer.
In his little spare time, he is fond of watching thought provoking crime movies such as The Usual Suspects – one of his favorite movies of all time.
As head of the southern district, Danino has pursued a twopronged approach to bringing crime levels down in the South, by reaching out to the general public on the one hand and working local communities to prevent crime, and aggressively pursuing criminals on the other.
Danino served as an IDF paratrooper, completing his service in 1982, and joining the police in the same year.
He went on to obtain an MA in law, and in 1992, Danino was appointed to head the police’s prosecution unit in the Sharon sub-district.
In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of deputy commander and was appointed as a special investigator there, where he is credited with solving some of the most complex cases of the time involving organized crime families from Netanya and Taibe.
In 1998, he was appointed deputy head of a new police unit dedicated to combating a wave of car thefts that was sweeping the country. He was promoted to the rank of assistant commander, and oversaw a dramatic decrease in vehicle thefts.
In 2002, Danino was appointed head of the elite National Serious and International Crimes Unit, and established task forces aimed at tackling white collar crime.
He was then asked by then police chief Shlomo Aharonishki to set up the Anti-Economic Crimes Unit, and was involved in forming the new Lahav 433 Unit, which investigates organized crime. Danino promoted his view that financial attacks on the assets of crime organizations were crucial for success.
In 2004, Danino was promoted to the rank of commander, and was appointed to head of the Operations Bureau of the Public Defense Ministry by former minister Gideon Ezra.
In 2006, he was appointed head of the police’s Investigations and Operations Branch, where he formulated policies for fighting organized crime, including the use of hi-tech law enforcement means by the 433 unit.
In the following years, Danino oversaw a plethora of highly sensitive investigations against former prime minister Ehud Olmert (on trial for three major cases), former president Moshe Katsav (on trial), former finance minister Avraham Hirschson (serving a prison sentence) and former justice minister Haim Ramon.
In December 2008, on the second day of Operation Cast Lead, as rockets from Gaza pounded Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod and the IDF was striking targets in Gaza, Danino was appointed head of the southern district.