Rodney Harrison

DEPARTING: In what is likely to be the first of several high-profile moves at the NYPD as the de Blasio administration concludes and Eric Adams begins his mayoral tenure, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 30. Above, Mr. Harrison addressed the media at City Hall during Mayor de Blasio’s Sept. 7 press briefing. 

Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, who over a 30-year career rose through the ranks from Cadet to become the NYPD’s highest uniformed officer, is retiring. 

Commissioner Dermot Shea, who is also likely to depart within a few weeks, announced Mr. Harrison’s planned exit on Thanksgiving. He did not name a successor.

Chief Harrison’s Dec. 30 departure from the department he has commanded since earlier this year is likely to be the first of a series of ranking leadership changes at the NYPD. Mayor-elect Eric Adams is said to have winnowed his choices to replace Commissioner Shea to just a few candidates, all of them women. 

Led in Turbulent Period

Mr. Harrison, who facilitated the citywide launch of the neighborhood-policing initiative as the NYPD’s Chief of Patrol and in borough commands in Brooklyn and elsewhere, succeeded Terence Monahan as top cop in late February. He oversaw CompStat, the department’s crime-data tool, during a period of increased violent crime and as the NYPD continued to contend with widespread criticism and investigations of the department’s role during the George Floyd protests.

He joined the NYPD as a Cadet in 1991 and began his department career patrolling the 114th Precinct in Astoria. He also worked undercover and in commands in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, Patrol Borough Brooklyn North and Patrol Borough Bronx. 

He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2014 while Commander of the Internal Affairs Bureau and then to Assistant Chief in 2016. He was named Chief of Patrol in January 2018 and Chief of Detectives a few days after Mr. Shea--his predecessor in that post--was promoted to Commissioner in December 2019. He is the only Cadet to have become Chief of Department.

Daughters Joined NYPD

“I’m extremely proud to have worked tirelessly, over my entire career, protecting people and giving back to the city’s communities,” Chief Harrison said in a statement. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this great police department, to carry out our intelligence-driven policing strategies, to help develop several lasting reforms, and to build meaningful dialogue with our city’s young people. And I am privileged that two of my children will carry on this important work.”

Chief Harrison’s wife is a retired NYPD Lieutenant, and two of their daughters are newly minted city cops. 

“Rodney has been not only a trusted adviser, and friend, but exactly the kind of innovative leader our city and our department has needed in these challenging times,” Commissioner Shea said in a statement. “He has performed in every rank—from patrol officer, to undercover officer displaying tremendous valor, to Chief of Department—with knowledge, skill, integrity, and a great passion for our continuing mission to always protect life and property and to build lasting relationships with those we serve. We will miss him, but we wish him well.”

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