NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In an attempt to tamp down criticism about a lack of diversity in the upper ranks of the NYPD, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea welcomed two minority officers to top leadership positions on Thursday.
First came the photo op — the mayor and his new commissioner — meeting with neighborhood policing cops in the Bronx. Then came the press conference to introduce the new leadership team, laced with references to the neighborhood the Yankees call home, CBS2’s marcia Kramer reported.READ MORE: Storm Watch: Officials Hoping To Avoid Repeat Of Ida With Preparations For Nor'easter
“This time of year in this area, the 44th Precinct in this part of the Bronx, any time you were normally here in December for a press conference, it’s usually a free agent pitcher signing at Yankee Stadium. Different draft picks today. Two new free agent pick-ups,” Shea said.
Shea was referring to his decision to name Rodney Harrison to succeed him as chief of detectives, the first African-American to serve in the post, and Fausto Pichardo as the new chief of patrol. He’s the first Dominican in that job.
With Chief Rodney Harrison taking the helm as @NYPDDetectives, and Chief Fausto Pichardo taking over as our new @NYPDChiefPatrol, the NYPD’s efforts to strengthen relationships throughout NYC while precisely targeting the real drivers of violence are taking a giant step forward. pic.twitter.com/Kjo1vz7Olp
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) December 4, 2019
Mayor de Blasio was happy to take a victory lap on the appointments.
“This is a moment to celebrate and it’s a moment to recognize as real progress and change at the NYPD,” de Blasio said.
The mayor relished the moment because he had taken heat for picking Shea to lead the department, skipping over First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, who openly admitted he was disappointed not to get the top job.READ MORE: NYPD: Man Shot Inside Union Square Subway Station
The new chief of patrol broke the place up when he admitted he was stunned to get the job.
“I’m speechless,” Pichardo said.
“Fausto id lying to you. He’s rarely speechless,” de Blasio said in response.
“It’s remarkable both personally and certainly professionally. Where I came from … I was born in the Dominican Republic. I came here at an early age. I’mjust a kid from the Lower East Side,” Pichardo added.
Harrison was equally floored.
“I’m humbled. I’m very grateful but also excited. It’s bittersweet. I loved being the chief of patrol. We did some great things,” Harrison said. “Chief of detectives is something I always had a passion about.”MORE NEWS: Exclusive: CBS2 Cameras On Hand At Unannounced Security Screenings At Troubled New York City High Schools
The mayor and police commissioner promised more leadership changes to come, and greater diversity for the Department.