Keechant Sewell, the Nassau County Police Department's chief of detectives,...

Keechant Sewell, the Nassau County Police Department's chief of detectives, will be the next NYPD commissioner, the incoming mayor's spokesman said.   Credit: NCPD

In a surprise move, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Wednesday will name Keechant Sewell, the chief of detectives for the Nassau Police Department, as the next NYPD commissioner — the first woman to lead the department and its third Black commissioner.

The selection of Sewell, a 23-year Nassau police veteran and the first Black woman to hold her current job, stunned many in law enforcement who believed Adams had narrowed his search to NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, and former Seattle police chief Carmen Best.

Sewell’s name surfaced in the past few days among law enforcement officials. Late Tuesday, Adams' spokesperson Evan Thies answered "yes" when asked by Newsday if Sewell was the choice to be the city's top cop. The New York Post first reported earlier Tuesday that Sewell was the choice. Thies also said that a formal announcement will come Wednesday.

Sewell has led the Nassau police division of 351 detectives since September 2020. Reached earlier Tuesday about reports she would be the new NYPD commissioner, Sewell, through a NCPD spokesperson, declined to comment.

She will replace outgoing Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who took the job in December 2019 and is retiring on Dec. 31 after 30 years with the department. Sewell’s selection as the department's 45th commissioner comes one day after a top NYPD commander, Rodney Harrison, was nominated to be the new commissioner for the Suffolk County Police Department.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Adams made the right call.

"The choice of Chief Keechant Sewell to be Commissioner of the New York City Police Department is a huge compliment to the Nassau County Police Department, but the biggest compliment goes to Chief Sewell," Ryder said in a statement. "She is one of the finest and most trustworthy people with the most integrity I’ve ever met in law-enforcement. It is because of those attributes that I promoted her to Chief of Detectives. I wish her the very best in her new position."

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams is expected to announce the...

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams is expected to announce the appointment officially Wednesday.   Credit: Howard Schnapp

After Sewell was confirmed as the chosen candidate, New York City Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch issued a statement of congratulations and welcome, with the caveat that she was inheriting a big job.

"We welcome Chief Sewell to the second-toughest policing job in America," said Lynch. "The toughest of course, is being an NYPD cop on the streets."

Lynch said Sewell, who has overseen several hundred investigators, takes a job commanding nearly 35,000 officers who have "passed our breaking point" in the nation's largest police department.

"We need to fix that break in order to get our police department and our city back on course," Lynch said. "We look forward to working with her to accomplish that goal."

Adams has said for months that he wanted to pick a woman to be the next NYPD commissioner. The mayor-elect had said he hoped to meld his desire for good community relations and fair policing with innovative crime-fighting at a time when some violent crimes have been on the rise for many months.

Earlier Tuesday during a television interview, it was a coy Adams who said he made his choice for the NYPD job but wouldn’t reveal the name until later in the week.

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