STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Chief Kenneth Corey, the first Staten Islander in recent memory to be named chief of department of the NYPD, plans to retire at the end of November.
Corey, 53, of Prince’s Bay, was sworn in on Jan. 1 at police headquarters in Manhattan as the third-highest ranking position on the force, behind the commissioner and first deputy commissioner.
In this role as chief of department, Corey was tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of the police force of nearly 35,000 officers.
“From day one, I have seen Chief Corey conduct himself with unparalleled integrity and I have marveled at his strength and vision,” Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a statement Thursday. “Chief Corey has been a beacon of excellence for officers in every rank – at every station. The light of his leadership will remain a shining guide forward for all of us and his contributions to our profession will be everlasting.”
Corey joined the NYPD in June 1988 as a police cadet and became a police officer two years later, according to the NYPD.
Over the course of his career, he led patrol boroughs including in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Gang Squad Manhattan South, and the District Attorney Squad-Queens.
Prior to his promotion to chief of department, Corey was the chief of training for the NYPD, and was instrumental in the training of new police officers.
“Policing is among the great passions in my life,” Corey said in a statement. “And I have always committed myself to doing everything possible to improve policing in New York City.”
“I have spent more than three decades serving New York City, and I will miss the NYPD every day. But I know the department is well-positioned under the leadership of Commissioner Sewell,” Corey added.
Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon called working with Corey a “true honor.”
“He is a dedicated public servant, a cop’s cop, a man of the highest ethical standards and work ethic, a devoted family man, and we will sorely miss him as a partner in law enforcement,” he said. “To have served with such distinction, during a period of time filled with so much turmoil, is a reflection of the inspiring leader he is and the unwavering commitment he gave each and every day to the people of this city. He has made the people of Staten Island incredibly proud and we wish him all the best on his future endeavors.”
The Police Benevolent Association praised Corey on his 34-year-long career in the NYPD.
“We salute Chief Corey on his rock-solid career as both a police officer and a leader of police officers. In every command he held, he was willing to engage with us, to have the debate and try to find solutions, said PBA President Patrick Lynch in a statement. “And find them he did, for both cops and the city we serve. We wish him the best in his next chapter.”
Sewell is set to announce the appointment of the NYPD’s next chief of department in the coming days, according to the NYPD.
In the years Corey served Staten Island, the borough saw a decrease in several major crimes.
Over a two-year span, prior to his departure, robberies saw a 29% decrease, burglaries an 11% decrease and rapes a 35% decrease, according to NYPD figures.
Corey often highlighted the importance of collaboration between the community and the NYPD.
During a police reform and reinvention collaborative listening session the NYPD held on Staten Island in 2020, he addressed a spike in homicides in the borough, saying “the speed at which we solve cases sometimes is directly related to the amount of support we get from the community.’’
In 2020, Corey was forced to navigate dueling crises in the form of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — when crimes like shootings and homicides rose not only on Staten Island, but throughout New York City — and civil-rights protests.
In particular, Corey was hailed for his efforts building the bridge between police and the Black community during Black Lives Matter demonstrations. While most other boroughs saw violence during a summer of simmering racial tension, rallies on Staten Island remained peaceful.
Corey had one particularly poignant exchange with a young man during a protest at the 120th Precinct stationhouse in St. George, organized following the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis.
“I’m not the problem, I’m trying to bring about a solution,” 21-year-old demonstrator Isaiah Buffong shouted during the rally.
Corey responded: “So let’s work together and find a solution.”