Keechant Sewell becomes New York’s first-ever Woman police chief

New York will appoint Keechant Sewell as its first-ever woman police chief to head the largest force in the country, US media reported Tuesday, at a time when the city’s trust in law enforcement has been shattered.

 

Sewell will also be only the third Black person in the post, and will have to restore faith in a police department that has faced accusations of harboring violent, racist and corrupt officers in its ranks.

 

Former police officer and Democratic mayor-elect Eric Adams, who will become New York’s second Black mayor, announced the appointment two weeks before formally taking office on January 1, 2022, with security one of the main issues during his campaign.

Keechant Sewell becomes New York's first-ever Woman police chief
Keechant Sewell becomes New York’s first-ever Woman police chief

“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,” Adams told The New York Post.



Commanding approximately 36,000 police officers in the largest city in the United States, Sewell, 49, will shoulder the tough task of maintaining security in New York at a time when a surge in crime has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“We welcome Chief Sewell to the second-toughest policing job in America. The toughest, of course, is being an NYPD cop on the street,” said Patrick Lynch, head of the main police union in the city, the Police Benevolent Association.

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Sewell is currently chief investigator in Nassau County, east of New York City.

 

The New York Times reported that she has served on the department for 23 years, working in the narcotics and major cases unit, and as a hostage negotiator.

 

“We are absolutely focused on violent crime,” she told the Post. “Violent crime is the number one priority.”

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In 23 years with the Nassau Police Department, Keechant Sewell worked in the narcotics and major cases units, and as a hostage negotiator. She was promoted to chief of detectives in September 2020.Credit…



A person close to Mr. Adams said he had been impressed by Chief Sewell’s confidence and competence, and her experience working undercover. Her interview process was rigorous and included a mock news conference about the shooting of an unarmed Black man by a white police officer, the person said.

 

Chief Sewell has been viewed as a rising star in policing circles, said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which advises departments on best practices.

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