New York City Police Chief of Department Terence Monahan, who has been the top NYPD uniformed officer during three years of tumult and change, said Thursday he will be resigning to take on a new City Hall post as a special advisor for post-pandemic recovery, a move which is setting off a round of changes in the police hierarchy.
Monahan’s appointment, and the promotion of Chief Rodney Harrison as his replacement in the NYPD, were announced at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea after word of the appointments leaked out earlier Thursday. Officials said Monahan and Harrison start their new jobs in 30 days.
After spending nearly 40 years in the NYPD, the 59 year-old Monahan, who had been looking for a new private sector job, said that his new position as advisor was to entice companies to feel confident about resuming business in the city.
"In this new role I will have an opportunity to make sure these businesses know that they are in a safe city and they can return," Monahan said. "And with businesses booming New Yorkers thrive."
Monahan will be working with de Blasio’s recently appointed recovery czar Lorraine Grillo and focusing on public safety issues at a time when the perception of increased crime is a public issue, despite the fact that most major offenses are down by 25 percent this year compared with 2020. However, shootings, up 100% in 2020, still are rising and subway riders continue to be rattled by killings and stabbings.
Monahan, who lives upstate, was an early proponent of community policing, which has become the major focus of the NYPD since 2016. After being promoted to chief of department in 2018, Monahan and the rest of the department enjoyed continued declines in crime until early 2020, when things collapsed and several crime categories saw unexpected increases, including homicides.
During the summer protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Monahan was in the thick of things and was credited with cooling tensions when he decided to take a knee with protestors in Manhattan, a move some of his colleagues privately criticized. Monahan was also injured during protests on the Brooklyn Bridge. He and Shea are defendants in a lawsuit brough by State Attorney General Letitia James over NYPD handling of the protests.
Harrison is the third Black person to be chief of department and hails from Jamaica, Queens. His replacement has not been named.
In a statement, the Police Benevolent Association, the police union, applauded Harrison’s appointment.