Keechant Sewell
Source: Getty

Keechant Sewell was announced as the new NYPD Commissioner on Dec. 15, 2021.

Keechant Sewell: New NYPD Commissioner Is First Female in the Role


Dec. 16 2021, Published 10:39 a.m. ET

The mayor-elect of New York City has officially named a new police commissioner to be installed at the beginning of 2022. Eric Adams, himself a former NYPD captain, is making good on his campaign promise to select a woman for this top law enforcement position.

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Keechant Sewell is Adams’ pick to lead the New York Police Department. Among her qualifications, he cited Sewell’s years as a “proven crime fighter” as well as her “emotional intelligence,” CNN reported. Sewell has spent 23 years serving with the Nassau County Police Department. Here’s what to know about the new NYPD commissioner.

Sewell press conference
Source: Getty

Keechant Sewell greets officers at the press conference announcing her appointment to head of the NYPD.

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Keechant Sewell’s has a solid career in law enforcement.

Keechant Sewell, the 49-year-old chosen by the mayor-elect to lead the NYPD, has a long track record in the field. Currently, she's the chief of detectives in Nassau County in Long Island. Adams announced Sewell’s appointment at an anti-violence organization in the Queens neighborhood where she was born, The New York Times reported.

CNN reported that Sewell comes to the position with over 25 years of experience with the Nassau County police. She was appointed as the chief of detectives in September 2020. She will move from a police department of about 2,400 officers to overseeing one with 35,000 officers.

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Sewell also attended the FBI's National Academy in 2008 and was elected president of her class there, said the NYT.

Eric Adams
Source: Getty

NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams speaks about Keechant Sewell as the new police commissioner.

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Sewell will focus on public safety and police accountability.

The incoming commissioner was named by Adams, a Democrat. Sewell said that in her role she will focus on the “twin challenges of public safety and police accountability,” MarketWatch reported.

An emphasis on curbing violent crime, particularly gun violence, will be essential to Sewell's time as the head of the NYPD. CNN reported that NYPD data shows 443 murders so far in 2021, up 45 percent from two years ago.

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In addition to tackling the massive challenges of lessening violence and increasing accountability for officers, Sewell also promised to diversify the force by elevating women and people of color to top positions.

How will Keechant Sewell break barriers?

Sewell was the first Black woman to be chief of detectives in Nassau County, and her new appointment is another breakthrough in police leadership. She is the first woman and third Black person to take on the role of NYPD commissioner. The last Black commissioner, Lee Brown, served in the role from 1990–1992.

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The mayor-elect is fulfilling a campaign promise by selecting Sewell. He also considered former Seattle chief Carmen Best, Philadelphia Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, former Newark chief Ivonne Roman, and NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes, according to PBS.

Sewell will replace Dermot Shea as the commissioner and will be sworn in when Adams is inaugurated as the city’s mayor at the beginning of 2022.

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Keechant Sewell is likely single.

Sewell isn't married and there isn't any public record of her having a partner.

What's the NYPD commissioner’s salary?

The salary for the head of New York City's police department can fluctuate based on the mayoral administration’s budget and the person’s experience. Considering the size of the police force Sewell will be leading, the NYPD commissioner salary should be significant.

Shea, the outgoing commissioner, reportedly earned $239,092 in 2020, according to the website GovSalaries.


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