Keechant Sewell, the Nassau County chief of detectives, will become New York City’s first female police commissioner, taking over the nation’s largest police force.
The Mayor-elect Eric Adams selected the 49-year-old chief of detectives of the Nassau County Police Department to be the first woman to lead the NYPD in its 175-year history.
“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 said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”
Chief Sewell’s appointment was seen as one of the most important decisions for Eric Adams, the incoming mayor, as he begins to fill out his administration.
“We 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,” Sewell said.
The Eric Adams promise
Even before he was elected mayor, Eric Adams promised to name a woman of color to lead the largest police force in the country.
Chief Sewell comes from a department that has about 2,400 uniformed officers – less than a tenth of the size of the roughly 35,000 officers employed by the New York Police Department.
“We wanted to get under her skin. We wanted to ask her difficult questions. We wanted to see if she would be shaken. We wanted to see how do you deal with being under the big lights of New York City,” Adams added.
For her part, Sewell made it clear that she was aware of the important message her selection was sending.
I stand here today because a man boldly and unapologetically made a decision well before his monumental and successful election, a decision that gave women in policing across this country an opportunity, not a favor, but a chance to work with him,” Sewell said.
Chief Sewell will also be the third Black commissioner to lead the city’s Police Department Sewell said she would be focused on stopping violent crime with an emphasis on guns.