NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell has announced a major realignment of her command staff, a move viewed by some in the department as a sign she is close to releasing plans to deal with escalating city violence.
In a key move, signaled in an internal message to all NYPD commands late Tuesday, Sewell confirmed that Chief Kathleen O’Reilly, head of the transit bureau since October 2020, will be the new chief of patrol, a job that puts her in direct command of the department’s approximately 22,000 patrol force.
Police officials confirmed the appointments Wednesday.
O’Reilly, who joined the NYPD in 1995, replaces Juanita Holmes, who is moving over to take command of the training bureau, which has responsibility for the police academy. Holmes returned to the NYPD in 2019 after retiring and was reportedly one of the candidates vying for the commissioner spot before Mayor Eric Adams named Sewell, the former chief of detectives for the Nassau police department.
Another key appointment is that of Chief David P. Barrere, currently housing bureau chief who is taking command of the Internal Affairs Bureau. The bureau's previous leader, Joseph Resnick, retired earlier this month.
Taking over the housing bureau command is Chief Jeffrey B. Maddrey, the current head of the community affairs bureau. All appointments take effect on Monday, according to the internal message. Officials said other appointments would be announced in the coming weeks.
O’Reilly’s appointment was greeted with enthusiasm by the Police Benevolent Association, the main union for cops. In a statement, PBA head Patrick Lynch lauded O’Reilly’s experience.
"No matter how many stars she has on her shoulders, Chief O’Reilly has remained a cop a heart," Lynch said. "Her experience directing patrol in some of our most challenging policing environments — especially the transit system — leaves her well prepared [to] meet our citywide challenges."
Lynch was alluding to recent high profile crimes in the subway system, the most recent being the death of 40-year-old Michelle Go after she was pushed in front of a train at Times Square by a homeless man, police said.
Nearly three weeks into Sewell’s tenure, some high-level commanders were privately expressing concern that no leadership team had been named to implement a strategy against gun violence and increased crime. During a news conference early Wednesday outside a Bronx hospital where a NYPD officer was being treated for a gunshot wound, Sewell and Adams said a plan was in the works.
The cop was shot in the right leg late Tuesday as he struggled with a 16-year old boy armed with a handgun that fired and hit them both, police said. Both the officer and the teenager were treated at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. The officer was released from the hospital early Wednesday. Charges against the suspect, whose name was not released, were pending.