NEW YORK (CBS NewYork) — A nationwide search for the NYPD‘s next top cop ends right here in New York.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams is expected to announce Wednesday that he’s chosen a woman to lead the NYPD for the first time in the department’s history.
She is Nassau County Chief of Detectives Keechant Sewell, who grew up in Queens and lived in public housing.
The day after the election, Adams told CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer the number one quality he was looking for in a police commissioner.
“The next commissioner must be really emotionally intelligent and have the empathy and compassion. Not only should they have worn a gun belt, but if they didn’t, they should understand that we need to boost morale,” Adams said.
Adams thinks he found that person in Sewell, who is going from running the 351-member Nassau County detective squad to running the NYPD with 35,000 uniformed officers and 18,000 civilians.
Sewell, sources tell CBS2, impressed Adams during the tough interview process that included a mock press conference about the shooting of an apparently unarmed Black man by a white police officer. She projected a calm confidence that impressed Adams, a former police captain.
“Keechant Sewell is a proven crime fighter with the experience and emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety New Yorkers need and the justice they deserve,” Adams said in a statement.
Sources say Sewell, who will be the 45th commissioner and the first woman, will report directly to Adams, who has made restoring public safety his top priority.
He has already pledged to bring back the undercover plain clothes unit that was disbanded by current police commissioner Dermot Shea during the Black Lives Matter protests. He also says he wants to bring back beat cops.
Sewell will have a tough job. The latest crime stats show overall index crime increased by 21% in November 2021 compared to the previous year.
Robbery increased 24%, felony assault increased 11%, transit crime rose 106% and hate crimes were up 97%.
Sewell got a welcome to the neighborhood from Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, saying she was taking over the “second toughest policing job in America.” The toughest, he said, “is being a NYPD cop on the street.”
Adams will introduce his new commissioner where she grew up, the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City.