“She’s the best”: a woman will lead the New York cops

from Massimo Gaggi

The choice of Mayor Adams: black, outsider, passed a “brutal” selection

NEW YORK The new mayor of New York, Eric Adams, relies on a black woman to fight the criminals who have raised their heads in the metropolis, to restore a relationship of trust between agents and citizens and to regain the respect and commitment of a body angry and demoralized police officers: accused, especially after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, for the sometimes brutal methods used against African Americans.

The appointment of Keechant Seawell, 49, 22 of whom spent in the police force, It is surprising. What is striking is not so much the fact that a woman has been chosen as head for the first time in the 172-year history of the Department, the Nypd, or that Seawell is black. The city has already had two other African-American police chiefs, and Adams has always said that, had he been elected, he would have chosen a woman, considered more empathetic, to head the police. But you were thinking of a well-known, experienced person with important positions: you bet on one of the two women who lead the police in Philadelphia and Seattle or, staying in New York, on Juanita Holmes, head of the police patrols that guard the city.

Instead to lead an army of 36,000 policemen which, in New York, also has its own secret service, counter-terrorism units and, even, of an air force, the mayor chose one policewoman who now commands 125 Nassau County detectives on Long Island, extreme eastern outskirts of the metropolitan area (the Kennedy airport area). Adams knows he has made a choice that will expose him to criticism if things go wrong, but, before deciding, he examined the “eligible candidates” by subjecting them to various tests, including a mock press conference in which the candidate was asked brutal questions hypothesizing episodes. of terrorism, kidnappings and killings of unarmed blacks by white policemen.

Seawell is the one who convinced him the most to the point of publicly defining it «The personification of emotional intelligenceWhen, yesterday morning, he introduced her to the city during a ceremony in front of the Queensbridge Houses, the public housing in Long Island City, Queens, where Keechant grew up.

It is clear that Adams, a former police captain who has been in politics for the past 15 years also becoming president of the borough (neighborhood) of Brooklyn, he pointed about a character he considers capable of mending the relations, torn today, between police and citizens.

But Seawell with her life dedicated to the Nypd (she is not married and has no children) he’s not just a PR guy: he has done counter-terrorism courses at the FBI academy in Quantico, has served as an undercover agent and is head of the team in charge of negotiating when hostages are taken.

His main challenge will be to win the respect of the agents, raise their morale and convince them to return to do their work effectively but also more respectfully of the citizens. Not an easy task, given that for more than a year the agents, offended for the hostility they perceive around them and fearful, given that their every intervention is filmed by passers-by and put on social media, they do as little as possible.

This is also why crime is on the rise again. The powerful police union which, hostile to the outgoing mayor De Blasio, had instead supported Adams’ candidacy, welcomed Seawell with a warm message of good wishes which, however, contains an implicit warning: “We hope you are successful in carrying out the second toughest job in New York: the first, you know, is that of a policeman. ”