NEW YORK CITY — On Monday, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell surprised his colleagues by announcing his resignation. Sewell made the decision after meeting with New York Mayor Eric Adams on Monday. In a letter to her colleagues, she unexpectedly announced her resignation. We have gone through immense tragedies, hardships and accomplishments together in the nearly 15 months that I have been with you.
About a year and a half after becoming the first woman to command the nation’s largest police force on Jan. 1, 2022, Sewell stepped down from her post. The mayor promised to appoint the department’s first female commissioner, and after a long search, he found her. I see your selflessness, your bravery and your compassion every day. You are an incredible group of hard-working public servants committed to keeping this city safe, engaging our communities and sharing what we know with our partners for the good of the world; they confirmed to me what people all over the world have always known.
You and your predecessors made the NYPD the model for law enforcement around the world. I had the great privilege of getting to know the relatives of those in the line of duty. Their pain is unfathomable, yet they have shown remarkable resilience. I am grateful to have been able to know these people and to have learned of the sacrifices they have made for our country. Mayor Adams released a statement after the news broke. Despite rumors that other major city police chiefs were in the running, he ultimately went with her. Previously, Sewell oversaw Nassau County’s 2,400 uniformed police officers as Chief of Detectives.
Adams expressed his gratitude to Sewell, the police commissioner, for her “steadfast leadership” and “dedicated service” over the past 18 months. This administration’s relentless efforts to make New York City safer have been greatly aided by his efforts. When we took office, crime was on the rise; today it’s down, thanks in large part to the heroic efforts of the New York Police Department. We appreciate the almost uninterrupted work of the Commissioner for a year and a half. She deserves the thanks of all New Yorkers. It was reported that the mayor was taken aback by the announcement, but in reality tensions have been building for months.
When Sewell addressed a banquet for female police officers last November, the underlying tensions seemed to come to the surface. “Understand that you will be guessed, told what to say, told what to write, by some with half your experience,” Sewell warned the audience. Free, uninvited advice will be offered. I don’t like your new haircut because it makes you look old and exhausted after only a year. Five New York Police Department officers were shot during Sewell’s first month in office in January 2022, one of many problems she faced during her tenure. His administration reduced listed crime in his native Queens and introduced so-called Community Safety Teams.
Since June 11, annual crime rates have only increased by 0.92%. Meanwhile, homicides fell 12.5%, rapes 9%, transit crimes 7% and shootings 25%. Sewell won the respect of regulars by instituting measures to make officer discipline more fair and consistent. She also won a major pay rise for police officers as part of a union agreement. Sewell was praised by the heads of the Police Benevolent Association and the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
Commissioner Sewell, according to PBA Chairman Pat Lynch, “made a real impact” during her brief tenure at the NYPD. She inherited a failed police force and had to face serious problems immediately. She was ready to cooperate with us to improve the lives of police officers on the streets. The NYPD still faces significant obstacles. His influence as a leader will be greatly missed. “The DEA salutes Commissioner Sewell for leading the NYPD through some of the most tragic and difficult times in the department’s history,” said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
She truly cared about the detective community and her support for the union was unwavering. The historic appointment of Commissioner Sewell will not be forgotten. Mike Alcazar, a 30-year veteran of the New York Police Department, said the growing animosity with City Hall was nothing new. The mayor “really runs the show”, he added, adding that he has seen this happen with police commissioners. This was the case with de Blasio. Historically, summer is when the crime rate increases, so if she’s unable to do her job well, she’ll quit.