Out of sight: Mayor Adams announces new NYPD program combatting elder abuse without outgoing commish Sewell

NYPD first Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban substituted for departing top cop Keechant Sewell for an elder abuse awareness announcement alongside Mayor Eric Adams on June 15.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Eric Adams announced on Thursday a new NYPD program targeting elder abuse — and once again, outgoing Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell was nowhere to be found. 

Instead, NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban substituted for the departing top cop — who announced her resignation Monday amid reports of strained tensions with City Hall — for the announcement at the Hamilton-Madison House on the Lower East Side.

It seemed to be yet another sign of turmoil between the mayor and outgoing commissioner. Two days earlier, on Tuesday, Sewell attended a Pride celebration at One Police Plaza which Mayor Adams was scheduled to attend — but abruptly canceled his appearance some 24 minutes before he was due to arrive.

“We make adjustments to the mayor’s schedule regularly,” Mayor’s Press Secretary Fabien Levy told amNewYork Metro in response.

Ahead of Thursday’s event, the mayor’s office announced that Caban would appear with Adams — without mentioning Sewell at all.

NYPD first Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban. Photo by Dean Moses
Caban and Adams. Photo by Dean Moses

Both Caban and Adams arrived Thursday separately at the Hamilton-Madison Houses community center, both flanked by their own security detail.

When asked outside of the facility if he has a desire to serve as the new police commissioner, Caban responded: “One police commissioner at a time.”

The pair were careful to maintain a distance between one another and didn’t speak off the cuff before or after the event, which publicized that older adult liaisons have been designated to every police precinct in the city, as well as every police service area covering New York City Housing Authority developments in the five boroughs.

“Having a representative in each precinct that is going to specifically deal with the issues of older adults around neglect or abuse of financial crisis is crucial,” Mayor Adams said. 

These liaisons will apparently be tasked with relaying possible victims of elder abuse to support services, while also serving as educators who will inform the public on older adult programs available, and the steps they can take to keep themselves safe from crime that could target them.

Photo by Dean Moses

“Every complaint report involving older adults is carefully reviewed,” Caban said. “Our liaison officers are also spending time in the community providing safety tips and keeping the public informed on our ongoing efforts.”

According to the mayor’s office, this new program was born out of conversations that took place within the “Cabinet for Older New Yorkers,” a collective to better serve residents over 60 that Mayor Adams created last year. The NYPD and over 20 other city agencies are members of the cabinet.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear as to who will run the NYPD after Sewell’s resignation takes effect at the end of the month. Caban is the next in line for the job, and could serve in an acting capacity until a permanent replacement is named.

With Sewell’s last day edging closer on June 30 and tensions mounting amidst the mayor and top cop’s deafening silence on the matter, it is unclear if the two will meet again in public before her departure.