Dermot Shea, schooled in policing on the Bronx’s mean streets of the early 1990s, began his tenure Dec. 1 as the city’s 44th Police Commissioner.
At his ceremonial swearing-in the following day, Mr. Shea, born in Sunnyside, Queens, of Irish working-class parents, called on cops to always consider the effect and impression they and their work leave on residents in their day-to-day interactions, some of them on occasions that are among the most trying.
'Don't Forget Your Impact'
“Never forget for a second—not one second—the impact you make on others’ lives,” he said. “It’s not always easy to measure, but I guarantee to you it is happening”
Mr. Shea, who started his NYPD career as a patrol officer in the South Bronx’s 46th Precinct in 1991, recalled the borough and the city as different places that they are today, scarred as they were by killings and burned-out, garbage-strewn buildings and streets.
“And while the city has been absolutely transformed, and policing too has changed in many respects, there are some constants that are as true today as they were 29 years ago: Policing is about more than public safety, it’s about service,” he said.
Although he did not specifically mention the criminal-justice reforms that go into effect in the new year—diversion and pre-trial programs and bail reform among them—he said “significant challenges” ahead would “test” the NYPD, and expressed confidence the department could meet them. He also sounded a note of warning to those who would defy officers.
“I know we will adapt and work with all of our partners to seek changes as necessary, in order to keep everybody safe, including our police officers,” Commissioner Shea said. “But I want to remind everyone something that closer connectivity will never mean the NYPD is soft on crime. There’s the adage, ‘Don’t mistake our kindness for weakness.’ So let me be very unequivocal: there is—and always will be—zero tolerance for any sort of violence against our police officers.”
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