This month Keechant Sewell made history, becoming the first female commissioner of the New York Police Department.
Sewell became the 45th commissioner of the country’s largest police force. The NYPD was founded 176 years ago. She is the third Black person to lead the department and the first Black person to lead in almost three decades.
“This oath reflects my deep commitment to our great city — and the individuals who are ranked as New York’s Finest,” Sewell after the swearing-in ceremony. “I’m privileged to be here and ready to work!”
Sewell previously served as chief of detectives in the Nassau County Police Department. She had been with the department for 25 years. Sewell tapped Edward Caban, a former commanding officer of the Harlem district, to be her second-in-command, while Kenneth Corey was selected as the new chief of department.
“First and foremost, I want the city to be safer,” Sewell said per Syracuse.com. “I want there to be a better quality of life. I want the police department to collaborate with the community, because they’re part of the community.”
The new commissioner wants her success to be an inspiration to others.
“What I’ve been able to accomplish, I hope it inspires women, young girls, men — anyone who wants to be an officer and be able to take advantage of the things that have been afforded to me,” she said last month. “I would hope that they see representation. And representation matters.”
And Sewell fully understands the assignment:
“I am mindful of the historic nature of this announcement as the first woman and only the third Black person to lead the NYPD in its 176-year history,” Sewell added. “I bring a different perspective, committed to making sure the department looks like the city it serves and making the decision, just as Mayor-elect Adams did, to elevate women and people of color to leadership positions.”