Dermot Shea, a nearly 30-year NYPD veteran from Sunnyside, was sworn in as the 44th police commissioner at One Police Plaza on Monday.
Shea is taking over the reins from retired Police Commissioner James O’Neill, a 36-year veteran of the NYPD, who also started a new position on Dec. 2 as the Global Head of Physical Security at Visa Inc., the global credit company.
“Thank you to all my friends, family, co-workers – past and present, uniformed and civilian – and all the elected officials and other dignitaries here,” said Shea. “It is truly humbling, and I’m looking forward to working with everyone who lives, works, and visits here, to make New York City even safer.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio swore in Shea and the former chief of detectives was proud to be chosen as the new “top cop.”
“When you think about it, this is all about what direction we will take,” said de Blasio. “I had a tremendous advantage of having watched Dermot Shea in action for six years. And if you watch him, if you’ve ever seen him at a CompStat meeting, if you’ve ever seen him in a strategy session, you see an extraordinary, active mind. You see a man who believes we can go much farther, not just a little bit – we can go much farther.”
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway) wants that to be true in terms of police reform, the chair of Public Safety.
“We have had a productive relationship with then Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, where we did not always agree, but we never stopped talking,” said Richards. “I congratulate Commissioner Shea and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new capacity, but our Committee will continue to push for more police reforms, including improving their internal discipline process, amending their use of various databases and providing better access to body-worn camera footage, to ensure that the dream of true police-community relations becomes a reality and hope he will be a strong ally in that effort.”
In 2014, the NYPD started shifting itself away from using stop-and-frisk practices, which garnered much criticism under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s (2002-2013) administration because of its targeting of mostly black and brown folks, to neighborhood and precision policing, models of law enforcement that Shea is more interested in continuing.
“Neighborhood Policing and precision policing are seamlessly blended together, and serve as a model of American Policing – and proof that, yes, you can have it all. No one is better than NYPD police officers at fighting crime. And no one is better than NYPD detectives at solving cases,” said Shea. “To the members of the Detective Bureau: you are the epitome of professionalism. You are the heart and soul behind our precision policing, and a major reason that we can lay claim to the title, ‘Safest big city in America.’ You have no rivals.”
Shea wants to bolster the existing relationships that neighborhood policing brought while engaging more residents, communities, clergy, private-sector entities and community-based organizations through that framework.
“We’re not done – far from it. Now is NOT the time to look back at all we’ve accomplished. Now is the time for us to look ahead to what we can accomplish – what we will accomplish,” said Shea. “We must also be resilient and remember that declines in crime are never to be taken for granted. Whether it’s murder, shootings, robberies, sexual offenses, or assaults in our transit system, we must remain vigilant. We must remember that we are the advocates for the victims – for the survivors – and we are the ones who must ensure they are never left behind.”