New NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell joins mayor-elect at Queensbridge Houses, where she grew up

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NEW YORK:____ The Long Island police chief returned to the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City where she grew up Wednesday morning as Mayor-elect Eric Adams named her the city’s first female NYPD commissioner.

“She carried a sledge hammer and she crashed and destroyed every glass ceiling in her way,” Adams said Wednesday. “And today she has crashed and destroyed the final one we have in New York City. We have a strong, powerful new police commissioner.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams selects Keechant Sewell to be named the first black female NYPD commissioner at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams selects Keechant Sewell to be named the first black female NYPD commissioner at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. (Brittainy Newman/AP)

Sewell said she was honored to be working with Adams.

“Your personal message motivates me as we endeavor to provide New Yorkers with the public safety they need and the justice they deserve,” Sewell said.

“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 an opportunity. Not a favor, but a chance to work with him, the citizens and the finest and most storied police department in the world to make New York City a safer city, a more inclusive city where the community feels connected, heard and served.”

The 49-year-old cop is currently chief of detectives for the Nassau County Police Department. When she moves to 1 Police Plaza early next year she’ll become the first female commissioner in the department’s 176-year history.

Keechant Sewell, the first black female NYPD commissioner, listens to Mayor-elect Eric Adams speak at the Queensbridge houses on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York.
Keechant Sewell, the first black female NYPD commissioner, listens to Mayor-elect Eric Adams speak at the Queensbridge houses on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. (Brittainy Newman/AP)

Adams announced his pick for police commissioner on Tuesday evening.

“Chief Sewell will wake up every day laser-focused on keeping New Yorkers safe and improving our city,” Adams said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have her at the helm of the NYPD.”

In a video sent out to all NYPD officers early Wednesday Adams said he was “particularly proud of the historic choice we have made — our first woman commissioner.”

“She is a native of our city from the great borough of Queens,” he said, before firing off a list of Sewell’s accomplishments, which includes working patrol, undercover investigations and a stint in Internal Affairs. “She not only brings a diverse set of experiences to this moment but the emotional intelligence needed to lead at this challenging and hopeful time in our city.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams arrives with Keechant Sewell to be named the first black female NYPD commissioner at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams arrives with Keechant Sewell to be named the first black female NYPD commissioner at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. (Brittainy Newman/AP)

The selection of Sewell, who lives on Long Island, came after Adams and his team conducted a months-long search for the next commissioner.

Among those under consideration were Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and Philadelphia Chief Danielle Outlaw. Juanita Holmes, the NYPD’s current chief of patrol, was also in the mix.

Sewell was picked for the top NYPD post after doing a “fantastic” job in interviews with Adams and his team, according to a police source.

“She was out-of-this world good,” the source said. “They couldn’t believe how well she interviewed.”
Mayor-elect Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. Adams named Keechant Sewell, a Long Island police chief, as the city's next police commissioner, making her the first woman to lead the nation’s largest police force.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. Adams named Keechant Sewell, a Long Island police chief, as the city’s next police commissioner, making her the first woman to lead the nation’s largest police force. (Brittainy Newman/AP)

Adams, a retired NYPD captain, promised on the campaign trail to be the first mayor to put a woman in charge of New York’s Finest.

In her Nassau County job, Sewell oversaw 351 uniformed officers. As NYPD commissioner, she’ll lead more than 35,000 cops in uniform. She will play a key role in making Adams’ vow to beef up the NYPD a reality — including by reinstating the department’s controversial plainclothes anti-crime units.

Keechant Sewell speaks during a news conference at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York.
Keechant Sewell speaks during a news conference at the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in New York. (Brittainy Newman/AP)

Sewell, whose grandfather was an NYPD officer, joined the Nassau County Police Department in 1997 as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks. She also was trained at the FBI National Academy and has taught at Nassau’s police academy.

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