NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ nationwide search for a police commissioner has ended in his own backyard.
He picked the 49-year-old Nassau County Police Department chief of detectives to be the first woman to lead the NYPD in its 175-year history, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.
READ MORE: Mayor-elect Eric Adams to appoint Keechant Sewell as NYPD’s first female Police Commissioner
Before even finding the best cop of his dreams, Adams told Kramer it had to be someone with what he called “emotional intelligence.” He said he found it at Keechant Sewell, who grew up in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City.
âChief Sewell’s appointment today is a powerful message to girls and young women across town. There is no cap on your ambitions, âsaid Adams.
âWe are at a pivotal moment in New York. As our city faces the twin challenges of public safety and police accountability, they are not mutually exclusive, âSewell said.
Watch: Mayor-elect Adams appoints new NYPD commissioner
Even before being elected mayor, Adams vowed to appoint a woman of color to lead the nation’s largest police force, and he was smiling from ear to ear as he introduced Sewell as the woman he will partner with to restore peace. public safety, something he calls a prerequisite for the prosperity of the city.
He called her “the personification of emotional intelligence”.
âI think my point of view is different. I bring a fresh look. We keep using the term âemotional intelligenceâ, but I think sometimes the first thing people say is, âwomen are a little sensitiveâ. I think sensitivity is a strength, âSewell said.
This aspect of emotional intelligence was so important to Adams, as part of the grueling multi-level interview process, the mayor-elect and his team involved Sewell and all the candidates in a mock murder press conference. of an apparently unarmed black man by a white policeman.
He said the test was important.
âWe wanted to get under his skin. We wanted to ask him tough questions. We wanted to see if she would be shaken. We wanted to see how you deal with being in the great New York City lights, âAdams said. âWhen you have a terrorist attack, when you have a shooting, when you have riots in the streets, when you have demonstrations, when you have disturbances, the people of the city look to the police commissioner to say: are we going to be okay? “
Kudos to Keechant Sewell, the next New York Police Commissioner.
I want to extend a warm welcome to him to the NYPD family. And I know the people of New York and all the brave men and women in blue are in good hands with her at the helm. pic.twitter.com/5kjTB2jzdD
– Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) December 15, 2021
So why did Sewell rise above all the other candidates across the country?
âShe began by responding that it was a tragedy to lose a young person. She showed this compassion. Others have looked at the technical aspects of policing, âAdams said.
âIf I wanted someone to continue doing what we’ve always done, I would have picked some of the top police chiefs across the country so they could do what we’ve always done. I needed a visionary. I needed someone who was ready to transform our department. â¦ He’s a real winner. We have a real winner, âadded Adams.
READ MORE: NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea discusses challenges, his future and more ahead of the December 31 retreat
By accepting the job, Sewell made it clear that she was aware of the important message her selection was sending.
âI am here today because a man made a bold and shameless decision long before his monumental and successful election, a decision that gave women in police forces across this country an opportunity, not a favor, but a chance to work with him, âSewell said. .
Sewell’s rise to the Nassau County Police Department shows that she’s not afraid to tackle burning issues.
Kramer asked her about a controversial program that dates back to the years of former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“I wonder how you feel about something, the quality of life crimes, and if you think these crimes, the ‘broken window’ crimes should be enforced in the city as a way to bring the city back. to prosperity, âKramer said.
âI do. I think lower level crimes should be applied when appropriate, when they can be balanced with the needs of the public and the needs of the community,â Sewell said.
She also said she supported strengthening bail reform laws that have too often seen people committing crimes on the streets on the very day of their arrest.
“I think judges should have the discretion to be able to take dangerous people off the streets, but it’s really a balance, isn’t it?” We have to be able to balance what is important to the community and what is safe for the community, âSewell said.
Outgoing Police Commissioner Dermot Shea greeted her successor, saying he believed the men and women in blue would be in good hands with her at the helm.
Sources told CBS2 that Sewell, who will be the department’s 45th commissioner, will report directly to Adams, who has made restoring public safety his top priority.
Adams has already pledged to bring back the undercover unit that was disbanded by Shea during the Black Lives Matter protests. He also said he wanted to bring the beat cops back.
Residents of the Queensbridge community of Sewell said they were delighted she got the job.
“It’s so important that she sets up a platform for young women of color to understand that they can reach the top, nothing is stopping us, and the fact that she has compassion is is just extremely important because we need it in our community, âStephanie told Chauncey.
âThis is a good thing. It shows that this is a sure sign of advancement, as far as the black community is concerned and as far as women are concerned, as women have been eclipsed for centuries and it is time that ‘they get the fair respect they deserve,’ added Noel Merritt.
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John Dias of CBS2 contributed to this report.