By Claire Gordon •
Published: 15 Dec 2021 • 19:25
Mayor-elect Eric Adams has named the first female New York police chief in the NYPD’s history today, Wednesday 15 December. Keechant Sewell, 49, has worked for the Nassau Police Department in Long Island for 23 years and became the chief of detectives there in September 2020. Mr Adams had promised during his campaign run to name a female commissioner and has now come good on his pledge.
BBC News reports that Mr Adams, a former NYPD captain, had spoken to the media on Wednesday morning and said he is stopping women from “sitting on the bench” when it comes to policing and this is finally allowing them to “get in the game”.
Ms Sewell hails from the New York borough of Queens and is a former hostage negotiator, as well as having time served in the Nassau County narcotics and major case units on her CV. She said she was “mindful of the historic nature of this announcement” and hopes to improve relations between the police and New York City’s residents.
“I bring a different perspective to make sure the department looks like the city it serves, and making the decision, just as Mayor Adams did, to elevate women and people of colour to leadership positions,” she said. Ms Sewell will be only the third black commissioner to take charge of the NYPD, as well as becoming the first female New York police chief.
Patrick Lynch, the president of the largest police union in the city, the Police Benevolent Association of New York, has praised the appointment. “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,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to accomplish that goal.”
The NYPD employs nearly 35,000 police officers, of whom approximately 18% are women.
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