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NYPD's First Female Police Commissioner Has Strong Opinions On Tackling New York's Rising Crime Rate

Photo: Nassau County Police Department
who is keechant sewell

The NYPD has picked its first Black female commissioner. Keechant Sewell was chosen by the Mayor-elect and a former NYPD Captain, Eric Adams who had been vocal about wanting to hire a female commissioner for a while now. 

After searching among the highest ranking female officers, Sewell was chosen for the position. Adams says, “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”. 

Due to the rising violence and crime in New York City, the role of comissioner is becoming increasingly challenging but Adams believes that “she is the woman for the job”.

Adams also said, “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”. 

In the 176 years of the department, Sewell will be the first woman to head it. She will be beginning her post in the new year where she will be leading more than 52,000 people.

Who is Keechant Sewell?

49-year-old Keechant Sewell lives in Long Island and is currently the Chief of Detectives at Nassau County where she has been in charge of 351 people. She has been on the force for 25 years and feels confident that she will be able to do well in leading more than 52,000 people. 

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“I’ve been policing for 25 years, so, I’ve actually got some sort of a grasp on what I think works and doesn’t work,” says Sewell.

When she lived in Queens, she met a retired NYPD detective, John Wesley Pierce. She considered him as her grandfather and looked up to him. He taught and inspired her about “what it meant to be a person of honor”.

She says, “He always took the time to talk to me about what it meant to be a person of honor and a person who cared about the communities and those around them.” 

She is on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Adams stated that Sewell has been trained in counterterrorism at the FBI Academy in Quantico and is a part of the New York-New Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Along with being a Task Force member, she has also been an undercover cop. 

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It was one of the issues discussed during her interview and she had been quite upfront about her opinion, mentioning how NYPD's plainclothes team “were doing it wrong."

She also said, “If you start busting heads, they [the community] are never going to work with you”. 

Adams was impressed by her “emotional intelligence” and stated that she showed compassion during the interview. 

Sewell is “focused on violent crime."

“I want to let them know that we are absolutely focused on violent crime. Violent crime is the No. 1 priority,” says Sewell. She seems determined to bring a change and leave her mark. 

She believes in the “broken windows theory” and hopes to implement it. This is a theory where if someone committing a small crime as breaking windows isn’t punished, someone else will do the same to another window or commit a more severe crime.

“You have to make sure you’re using the broken windows theory, the enforcement of those low-level crimes, in a way that’s not discriminatory, in a way that addresses the problem and doesn’t actually over-police it in some respect,” says Sewell.

She also mentioned how thankful she is for the opportunity, “I’m very humbled to even be considered for this and it’s an extraordinary opportunity. And I take it very seriously, the historic nature of this”.

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Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer and an Editorial Intern at YourTango who writes on entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.