On Wednesday morning, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced Keechant Sewell as his pick for NYPD police commissioner.
Sewell, 49, will be the first woman police commissioner in the department’s history.
“I bring a different perspective to make sure the department looks like the city it serves,” she said.
Keechant Sewell, a 23-year veteran of the police department in Nassau County, was appointed as the first woman to serve as New York City's police commissioner for the first time in its 176-year history
— Poli Alert (@polialertcom) December 16, 2021
Adams had long said the next police commissioner would be a woman, but Sewell was a surprise choice.
“This is the personification of emotional intelligence,” Adams said of Sewell. “Commissioner Sewell’s appointment is a powerful message to girls and young women across the city – there is no ceiling to your ambition.”
She beat out other candidates with more experience leading large departments like Philadelphia and Seattle.
“She exudes what it means to be emotionally intelligent, calm, collected, confident,” Adams said.
Sewell promised to break down barriers between the community and police and said, “policing is about people.”
She said that she is laser-focused on guns and getting them out of the hands of criminals.
“We’ll arrest violent criminals, take them off the street, and help build the cases to keep them off the street,” Sewell said.
She said that “plain-clothes units and anti-crime units work,” and she is ready to look at what is being done in the department. She said that the right people with the right temperament need to be chosen to work in those departments.
“It is said that the NYPD is the best of the best and we are about to get even better,” Sewell said. “I will have the backs of my officers, but they must have the backs of the public.”
Sewell is the long-running chief of detectives in Nassau County. She’s now leaving that post supervising hundreds of detectives for a major promotion to lead a force of 36,000 come January 1.
“Scaling up the skills you need to lead, you can scale up,” Adams said. “We need to think differently and the skills that Chief Sewell, who will be the chief of the department, the skills that she has, everywhere that she traveled to in the police department in Nassau, she improved.”
He added, “This is a real winner. We have a real winner in our city.”