The New York Police Department’s choice for its new commissioner is historic.
Keechant Sewell will be the first woman to lead the NYPD, Mayor-elect Eric Adams said this morning.
Here are five things to know about the announcement.
- In addition to being the first woman in the role, Sewell will be the city’s third Black commissioner. The first was Ben Ward, whom Mayor Ed Koch appointed. No. 2 was Lee Brown, selected by Mayor David Dinkins, New York City’s first Black mayor.
- Even for people who don’t live or work in New York City, the news is significant. The Big Apple’s police department is the largest in the United States. Since its founding in 1845, it’s grown to include some 36,000 officers, 19,000 civilian employees, 77 patrol precincts, and 12 transit districts for the subway system.
- Sewell is the chief of detectives for the Nassau County Police Department on nearby Long Island, She’s 49 and from Queens. “I have been doing this for 25 years, I am ready to hit the ground running,” she told the New York Post.
- Her new boss is a former cop. Adams, the incoming mayor, was an NYPD officer for 22 years.
- The officers’ union, the Police Benevolent Association of New York City, released this statement from its president, Patrick Lynch: “We welcome Chief Sewell to the second-toughest policing job in America. The toughest, of course, is being an NYPD cop on the street. New York City police officers have passed our breaking point. We need to fix that break in order to get our police department and our city back on course. We look forward to working with her to accomplish that goal.”