Edward Caban will have the “acting” label removed from his job title as the NYPD’s 46th commissioner, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday — less than a month after his predecessor Keechant Sewell abruptly resigned.
With the July 17 appointment outside the 40th Precinct in the Bronx, Adams elevated Caban from his status as acting commissioner to the NYPD’s official next top cop. The Bronx precinct is where Caban made his bones as a rookie in 1991.
Formerly serving as Sewell’s first deputy commissioner, Caban assumed the acting title July 1, after Sewell suddenly stepped down last month over reported tensions between her and the mayor. He makes history as the first Latino to lead the department.
Adams also appointed Deputy Chief of Patrol Tania Kinsella to replace Caban as the new first deputy commissioner of the NYPD. She will be the first woman of color to hold the post.
During the announcement, Adams drew a parallel between his own story, of struggling with dyslexia as a child to becoming mayor, and Caban’s ascent to being the first Latino to helm the NYPD.
“I think about every mother, who right now is cleaning someone’s office, cleaning someone’s home, who’s cleaning the streets and hoping one day that this dyslexic child that they have can grow up to be the mayor of the city of New York,” Adams said. “And one day, this young man of Puerto Rican ancestry can go from watching his dad be a transit cop to being the top cop in the city of New York.”
The mayor said Caban is the “right choice for right now” due to the fact that he was “instrumental” in helping Sewell bring crime down over the past 18 months.
“We knew we had to appoint the right person,” Adams said. “I saw in Eddie, long ago, the possibilities. I knew that there was something special about Edward Caban. I watched him, his discipline, his attitude, the diversity of the people who constantly told me what he meant to them … all I kept hearing was Edward Caban.”
After taking a moment to soak in his new position, Caban thanked the mayor and said the role is the “honor and privilege of a lifetime.”
“To all the uniformed and civilian members of the NYPD, to lead such a distinguished group of people is the honor and privilege of a lifetime,” Caban said. “It is a daily inspiration that will help shape my purpose as your commissioner.”
Caban hails from a police family; as a Transit Police Detective his father served as the President of the Transit Police Hispanic Society. Caban followed in their footsteps when he became a patrol officer in the South Bronx over three decades ago in 1991. He was promoted to sergeant three years later and then again promoted to lieutenant in 1999. Caban continued to rise through the ranks of the NYPD until he became the NYPD’s First Deputy Commissioner in 2022.
When he joined the NYPD 32 years ago, Caban said he could not see anyone who looked like in the department’s leadership.
“In those days, the top bosses of the police department didn’t really look like me,” Caban said. “Police Officer Eddie Caban could not walk into the 4-0 Precinct, look up at the leadership photos hanging on the wall and envision his future.”
Caban, however, also carries a history of misconduct complaints from his many years on the force. The incidents include a 1997 complaint, substantiated by the city’s NYPD watchdog — the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), that Caban had abused his power by not divulging the identities of two officers a woman was seeking to file a complaint against.
Then in 2006, Caban was hit with several complaints for stopping and frisking an unnamed man in East Harlem. Among the charges were that Caban allegedly pushed the man face-first into the patrol car and hit him in the lower back. He then allegedly kicked the man’s legs apart and put him in handcuffs.
The man also alleged that Caban then told him he’s “getting ready with the broomstick,” which appeared to reference the infamous 1997 incident where several NYPD officers brutally beat and raped a man named Abner Louima with a broken broomstick.
Caban was cleared by the CCRB of most complaints connected to the incident, including the use of force and broomstick allegations, which were both deemed “unfounded.”
The review board did, however, substantiate a complaint that Caban had issued a “retaliatory summons.” Caban was disciplined with “instruction” — where cops are retrained on police procedure — for that complaint.
Sources within the department told amNewYork Metro that Caban is well-liked and respected, much like his predecessor who resigned after reported friction between her and Adams hit a breaking point. Sewell’s unceremonious exit after just 18 months on the job came amidst what sources reported as frustrations over her power being undermined by men in her orbit, namely Adams’ Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III.
Things seemed to hit a point of no return when Sewell recommended discipline against NYPD Chief of Department Jeffery Maddrey, a close ally of the mayor, for intervening in a 2021 gun arrest involving one of his former colleagues. After that move by Sewell, Adams reportedly started having her run all departmental promotions by City Hall, effectively handcuffing her in one of her job’s core functions.
Sources say they believe Sewell was a great loss to the police force and the ghost of her swift resignation hung heavy over Monday’s announcement.
Under Sewell’s brief tenure, the city saw a nearly 25% decrease in shootings when compared with the same period last year, according to NYPD crime data released earlier this month. That’s a trend Caban hopes to maintain as he makes history with his appointment.
Adams, who has fiercely denied the reports of strife between himself and Sewell, heaped praise upon the former commissioner, crediting her with double-digit declines in shootings and murders since he took office in January 2022.
“You’re seeing a city that’s not coming back, you’re seeing a city that’s back,” the mayor said. “And part of the partnership of the return of the greatness of this city is due to the partnership with Keechant Sewell and our incoming police commissioner Edward Caban.”
Additional reporting by Ben Brachfeld