In a festive ceremony not unlike a noisy pep rally, the NYPD officially promoted its new chief of department and several other ranking uniformed officials who Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill believes can help expand his neighborhood policing strategy and build upon 2017’s record-breaking drop in crime.
Terence Monahan, a 36-year NYPD veteran born in the Bronx, was sworn in as the four-star chief of department, the highest uniformed official. Taking over Monahan’s old job as chief of patrol is Rodney Harrison, a former police cadet who was promoted to three-star chief and is now the highest- ranked uniformed African-American in the NYPD.
“Now is the time to redouble our sense of urgency to make every neighborhood in New York City safe at all times,” O’Neill told a packed auditorium at police headquarters in Manhattan. “Part of this push ahead is completing the NYPD’s transformation . . . today’s promotions are a major step toward that goal.”
O’Neill told the audience, which included Mayor Bill de Blasio and former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, that his neighborhood policing strategy was up and running in 56 of the city’s 77 police precincts. The strategy is aimed at engaging cops with citizens as a way of fighting crime and building better relations with communities, particularly those of color.
Monahan, 56, and Harrison, 46, have been instrumental in rolling out since late 2016 what O’Neill has deemed a “transformative” neighborhood strategy. As both men were introduced, they were met with boisterous applause and cheers.
Also greeted with applause were other new chiefs: Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre, Chief of Community Affairs Milda Irizaary Hofmann, Chief of Training Theresa J. Shortell, Chief of Special Operations Harry J. Wedin, Chief of Personnel William T. Morris and Chief of Strategic Initiatives John K. Donahue. Named assistant chiefs were Stephen Hughes and Fausto B. Pichardo. Maria C. Otero was tapped as assistant commissioner for administration.
Monahan, a married father of three who comes from a long line of police officers, sounded ebullient as he reminisced about his time in Bronx’s once dangerous 46th Precinct, at times drowned out by cheers.
“All my education was through the Bronx,” said Monahan. “This is what I always wanted to be . . . a cop.”
Monahan said neighborhood policing is “a fundamental change for the entire agency, followed by all 36,000 uniformed members of the service and all 15,000 civilians members of the service, each of us working toward reducing crime and building trust.”
Harrison, also a married father of three, spoke about how his family sustained him in a 25-year career. He also acknowledged his former partner Michael Stoney who, although wounded in a shootout in September 1995, returned fire and saved his Harrison’s life.
The promotions followed the retirements of four former chiefs and new promotions in lower patrol commands.
Responding to criticism that the latter appointees didn’t have enough experience, O’Neill told reporters later that “the people selected to these positions are absolutely qualified.”