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In an historic choice, incoming New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams has selected Keechant Sewell to be NYC’s next top cop. Sewell, who currently serves as the Newark County Chief of Detectives, will be the first woman to lead the NYPD. With the appointment, New York City also becomes the largest city in North America with a female police chief.
Mayor-elect Adams said his decision to pick Sewell to head the department was “a gut choice”.
Adams said Sewell stood out during the interview process when all candidates had to engage in a mock press conference. The press conference required candidates for chief to address a shooting of an unarmed Black man by a white officer.
Sewell, according to reports, was the only candidate who began the exercise by expressing condolences to the victim’s family.
“Chief Sewell will wake up every day laser-focused on keeping New Yorkers safe and improving our city. I am thrilled to have her at the helm of the NYPD,” Adams told the New York Post.
Adams introduced Sewell as the next chief of police at a press conference Wednesday near the Queensbridge Houses, the public housing project where Sewell grew up. There, he described Sewell as “calm, collected and confident”.
Adams, a former NYPD officer himself, said he was proud of Sewell’s “long and decorated career in law enforcement”.
Incoming Chief seeks to lead NYPD in tumultuous time.
Sewell is stepping in at a tumultous time for the department. Crime on the rise, community relations are tense and morale is low. Nevertheless, Sewell expressed confidence in her ability to lead the NYPD forward.
Some have expressed concern over Sewell’s appointment. Conservatives wonder about her readiness in leading a department of more than 50,000 members, while progressives are worried about her defense of the controversial “broken windows policing” strategy.
Regardless, Sewell’s appointment marks a milestone in the department and the country. It’s a milestone and a moment that Sewell feels deeply.
“To all the little girls within the sound of my voice, there is nothing you can’t do, and no one you can’t become,” Sewell said, according to NY1. “In this city, in this moment, I have come full circle. It is with a humble heart and clear eyes about the challenges ahead that I accept the position of New York City police commissioner.”