Precinct councils will vote on NYPD precinct commanders, mayor says

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, shown speaking at Jamaica Hospital in Queens on Nov. 26, 2020.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The city is changing how it selects frontline leaders of the New York Police Department, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. 

Now, police precinct councils will interview candidates for precinct commander roles. Once a spot for a precinct commander opens, the NYPD will provide councils between three to five candidates who are “ready to serve and lead” and “represent the diversity of the city” to choose from. 

After interviewing each candidate, council members will give feedback to the police commissioner who has the final say on commander role appointments. De Blasio added that the precinct council will have an ongoing role in evaluating the commander leader’s performance in “making the community safe and bringing the larger community in.” 

“We’re bringing voices of the community forward to determine who would be the right leader and I think that is going to help in a myriad of ways,” said de Blasio. “It’s going to improve dialogue, it’s going to improve accountability, it’s going to give folks a sense of real, real buy-in.” 

Commission Dermot Shea, who joined the mayor for the announcement,  voiced his support for the move. 

“People want to feel a connection to their NYPD and especially at the leadership positions. And this, I think, really goes very far into building that trust both ways. I think from the PD perspective and from the executive perspective, it really lends to an environment where it’s a team process,” said Shea. “This is exactly what we’re trying to build here and I think this is going to be a real, real positive step”