Nov. 4, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new NYPD Police Commissioner Monday.
Dermot Shea, who was raised in Sunnyside along with his four siblings by Irish parents, will take over as Commissioner on Dec. 1.
Shea, currently the NYPD’s Chief of Detectives, began serving as a police officer with the NYPD in 1991, a year when New York City faced more than 2,000 murders. He rose through the ranks and took command of the 44th and 50th Precincts in the Bronx before becoming Chief of Detectives.
“Dermot Shea is a proven change agent, using precision policing to fight crime and build trust between police and communities,” de Blasio said in making the announcement. “As Chief of Crime Control Strategies and then Chief of Detectives, Dermot was one of the chief architects of the approach that has made New York City the safest big city in America.”
However, Shea’s background was not universally lauded, with Assembly Member Catalina Cruz–who represents Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona–tweeting:
“At a time when the relationship between police and communities of color couldn’t be worse – we chose yet another white guy? We have many qualified men and women of color within the @NYPDnews
who could lead the force in the right direction. What gives?” she tweeted.
Shea, at a press conference today, said that he aims to target gang-related violence, take guns off the street and continue to reduce crime in his new role.
“Every New Yorker deserves to be safe and feel safe, and that has been my mission since I took the oath and became a police officer 28 years ago. As Police Commissioner, this will be what drives me,” Shea said.
De Blasio also paid homage to Shea’s predecessor James O’Neill, who announced his resignation on Monday.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to express deep gratitude to Jimmy O’Neill for dedicating his entire career to keeping our city safe,” de Blasio said. “Jimmy transformed the relationship between New Yorkers and police, and helped to make the Department the most sophisticated and advanced in the country.”
O’Neill has served as Police Commissioner for three years and presided over the lowest crime rates in New York City since the NYPD started tracking crime rates in the 1950s.
The outgoing commissioner said that his replacement would continue his work in lowering crime rates in New York City.
“Dermot Shea has exactly the experience and skill to continue to drive down crime, strengthen relationships with the community members we serve and make sure every neighborhood has the safety they deserve,” O’Neill said.
At a time when the relationship between police and communities of color couldn’t be worse – we chose yet another white guy? We have many qualified men and women of color within the @NYPDnews who could lead the force in the right direction. What gives? 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️ #ICantEven https://t.co/FvGGYctL6L
— Catalina Cruz, Esq. (@CatalinaCruzNY) November 4, 2019