NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill stepping down, the new police commissioner will face a number of challenges both inside and outside the department.
From the rash of police officers taking their lives to people disrespecting the NYPD, Shea has a lot to cope with.
“When you speak of morale within the department, I can tell you a different side of the story. Being out there, speaking to police officers and detectives every day proud of the work that they’re doing,” Shea said.
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When CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer asked Shea, who has been chief of detectives under O’Neill, what he thought the challenges were, he said that his focus would be on improving police and community relations.
“It’s got to be broadened and deepened so we’re not counting crime. Maybe one day we’ll be counting crimes preventing,” he said.
It’s another way of saying he wants the department to be more responsive to the needs of the minority community.
The mayor spoke of that, too.
“We’ve got a lot more to do in terms of building a tighter bond between police and community,” de Blasio said.
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In that regard, the mayor is taking heat from Councilman Donovan Richards, chair of the public safety committee, for not picking a black or Hispanic individual to head the NYPD.
“There was a missed opportunity to ensure that the top cop in the department certainly reflected the diversity of the department and of the city of New York,” Richards said.
The mayor addressed that Monday night.
“You will see an intensification of diversity in the leadership ranks in the coming years,” de Blasio said.
Sources say first deputy commissioner Ben Tucker was in the running for the job but was passed over by de Blasio.
“Dermot is one of the best-prepared incoming police commissioners this city has ever seen,” de Blasio said.
Shea will have to deal with a host of issues from homeless on the streets and subways, the increase in rapes and the increase in the number of police taking their lives.
“If there’s one, that’s one too many,” Shea said of the recent NYPD suicides.
He’ll also have to deal with complaints from advocates like the Legal Aid Society, which said in a part in a statement Monday, “Under Chief Dermot Shea’s watch [as chief of detectives], the NYPD has expanded its rogue gang database to ensnare thousands of Black and Latinx men and women.”
Hours after the announcement, protesters called on the commissioner to get to work addressing the recent altercation between the NYPD and a group of teens at the Brooklyn MetroTech station.
“We don’t know Dermot Shea, but we’re sending him a clear message,” one protester said. “Fix the NYPD by getting rid of that officer that assaulted this young man.”
Shea takes office on Dec. 1. He says some of his most cherished days were as a beat cop in the south Bronx.