Keechant Sewell to Become New York City’s First Female Police Commissioner

In 23 years with the Nassau Police Department, Keechant Sewell worked in the narcotics and major cases units, and as a hostage negotiator. She was promoted to chief of detectives in September 2020. (Credit…Nassau County Police Department)

Keechant Sewell, the Nassau County chief of detectives, will become New York City’s first female police commissioner, taking over the nation’s largest police force at a critical moment.

Chief Sewell’s appointment, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, was seen as one of the most important decisions for Eric Adams, the incoming mayor, as he begins to fill out his administration.

Her selection was confirmed on Tuesday night by Evan Thies, a spokesman for Mr. Adams. Chief Sewell, 49, was chosen from among a field of rumored candidates from within the New York Police Department and from larger police departments around the country.

Mr. Adams, a former police captain, ran as a centrist in the Democratic primary, promising to address a troubling rise in violence and to rein in police abuse. He will be counting on Chief Sewell to help him strike that balance.

Mr. Adams said in a statement that Chief Sewell was “a proven crime fighter with the experience and emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety New Yorkers need and the justice they deserve.”

Chief Sewell comes from a department that has about 2,400 uniformed officers — less than a tenth of the size of the roughly 35,000 officers employed by the New York Police Department.

A person close to Mr. Adams said he had been impressed by Chief Sewell’s confidence and competence, and her experience working undercover. Her interview process was rigorous and included a mock news conference about the shooting of an unarmed Black man by a white police officer, the person said.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Ali Watkins and Ashley Southall