First Female NYPD Commissioner Appointed, Caribbean-American NYC Public Advocate Calls it 'Encouraging'

NEW YORK, New York – Caribbean-American New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Wednesday welcomed Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ appointment of Keechant Sewell as the first female commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

keeSEWELLKeechant Sewell will be the first female police commissioner of the NYPD. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)Sewell, 49, chief of detectives for the Nassau County Police Department on Long Island, a New York City suburb, will lead the NYPD and its 35,000 uniformed officers when Adams, the incumbent Brooklyn Borough President, takes office, as New York City Mayor, on January 1, 2022.

“I want to congratulate Chief Keechant Sewell on her selection to become the first female Commissioner of the NYPD,” Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). “I believe that new leadership from outside the department’s ranks could be crucial in bringing the changes in culture, policies and practices that are critical as the new administration takes office.

“We need a new era of transparency and accountability, and a new approach to co-producing public safety that recognizes law enforcement’s role without solely relying on it. This means more fully embracing and structuralizing successful strategies such as the crisis management system (CMS) as full partners in public safety,” added Williams, a candidate for Governor of New York in next June’s Democratic Primary.

He said it was very encouraging to see Sewell’s appointment announced at 696 Queensbridge in Long Island City, Queens, New York, a CMS site that has shown impressive results.”

The public advocate warned that amid a nationwide rise in gun violence and other crimes, the work ahead is real and daunting.NwilliamNew York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

“It will require ignoring the loudest voices that fearmonger against any kind of progress and resisting a push to return to failed over-policing policies of the past. There is an immense amount of work to be done to reimagine and protect public safety, and I look forward to speaking with the incoming commissioner about what the role of police will be in our city, and how we can create new systems to make and keep New York safe without relearning painful lessons,” Williams added.

Sewell, originally from Queens and a 22-year police veteran in Nassau County, New York, has served as the Nassau County chief of detectives since September 2020, where she oversees a staff of about 350 people.

Adams said that 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.

“Chief Sewell will wake up every day laser-focused on keeping New Yorkers safe and improving our city, and I am thrilled to have her at the helm of the NYPD,” he said.

Sewell told the press conference, marking her appointment: “In this city and this moment, I have come full circle. The NYPD has an important role to play in making our communities safer, but we cannot do it alone.”