New York City police commissioner, first woman to lead department, resigns after 18 months
Jun 12, 2023, 2:39 PM
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, the first woman to hold the position, is stepping down after 18 months on the job.
Sewell, who was appointed by Mayor Eric Adams, announced the resignation in an email to department staff Monday afternoon.
“While my time here will come to a close, I will never step away from advocacy and support for the NYPD, and I will always be a champion for the people of New York City,” she wrote.
Adams, a Democrat, confirmed the move in a statement, thanking Sewell for her “steadfast leadership.”
Sewell took over as commissioner when Adams became mayor in January 2022, having pledged beforehand to name a woman to the post.
Adams, a former police captain, took an outsized interest in the department’s operations compared with other mayors. Since Sewell’s appointment, Adams has faced questions about whether she has been granted the autonomy of past commissioners.
Almost immediately after taking office, Adams hired former NYPD Chief of Department Phillip Banks as his deputy mayor for public safety, somewhat diminishing Sewell’s authority. Banks has been holding weekly public briefings on crime, often without Sewell in attendance.
Sewell started with the Nassau County Police Department as a patrol officer in 1997, then became a precinct commander, head of major cases, a top hostage negotiator and finally chief of detectives, where she oversaw a staff of about 350 — about 1% the size of the NYPD’s unformed ranks.
In his statement, Adams said Sewell deserved credit for combatting crime in New York City.
“The commissioner worked nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a year and a half, and we are all grateful for her service. New Yorkers owe her a debt of gratitude.”