By Steve Pomper
I’ve said this before. Now, I must repeat it. Oh, and I’ll probably say it again in the future. Liberal mayors/city councils across the U.S. don’t appoint chiefs of police; they appoint chiefs of mayor. This assertion is abundantly clear with the recent resignation of the first female NYPD police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, after less than a year and a half as Gotham’s top cop.
I’ve also said, if the cops like a police chief or commissioner, that’s reason enough for a mayor and city council not to like him or her.
The New York Post reported that the NYPD Police Commissioner Sewell, 51, “after being appointed by Mayor Eric Adams,” suddenly resigned from a position leading the largest police department in the world, with some 36,000 sworn officers and 19,000 civilian employees.
Sewell, a native of Queens, was a veteran of the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) with 22 years of service prior to becoming “the 45th NYPD commissioner.”
According to a FOX News headline, “NYPD commissioner resigns after battling city bureaucracy from day 1….”
“‘New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell has been mired in city bureaucracy and lacked autonomy over the NYPD since her first day on the job, which likely led to her resignation,’ policing experts told Fox News Digital.”
Bill Bratton, a former NYPD Police Commissioner, said, “It seems like there were too many people ‘clouding’ Sewell’s decisions.”
In what began as a likely “woke” (from Adams perspective) appointment for NYPD Commissioner, Mayor Eric Adams having promised to appoint the first woman to the position, the Gothamist wrote, ironically, “[I]t seemed like the men around her were making many of the decisions [that should have been hers to make].”
FOX also reported that retired NYPD Lt. John Macari, who hosts the podcast “‘New York’s Finest: Retired & Unfiltered,’ argued that Sewell ‘was not given the authority that all her predecessors had’ and that Adams and Banks had taken the reins in leading the department.”
If this doesn’t show the disingenuousness of liberalism ruining blue cities, nothing does. It’s all about maintaining the narrative and doing it for show—for virtue signaling.
To that point, Macari also told FOX New Digital that Adams’ appointing Sewell, a female, “was clearly a show.” He added, “As a female police commissioner, she was not given the authority that all her predecessors had. I don’t know whether she took the job knowing that or not, but obviously, it became too much. I applaud her for stepping down, and it really is another stain on Eric Adams’ administration and shows their true feelings about women in power.”
Though reportedly blind-sided, Adams issued the lengthy, typical political blather about how much he appreciated Sewell’s “steadfast leadership,” even as he apparently hijacked her authority whenever it suited him.
Despite Mayor Adam’s honied words about her exit, according to the Gothamist, “members of law enforcement and policing experts told Gothamist his actions told a different story — saying Adams, a former officer himself, regularly undermined his commissioner — a habit that may have finally driven her from her post.”
In practice, “At public safety-related press conferences, [Deputy Mayor and also former NYPD Phillip] Banks and Adams often speak before Sewell, and the mayor typically takes the mic for longer. Banks has also been leading weekly public safety briefings — not Sewell.”
To be fair, the mayor having the “mic for longer” is not surprising for Adams who is an unabashed publicity hog and because Sewell has a reputation as quite the opposite, avoiding the spotlight when possible.
According to another story in the Post, “Sewell’s relationship with City Hall had seemed to sour in recent months, with the commissioner finding herself increasingly handcuffed when trying to make key department decisions.”
Former NYPD officer and national radio talk show host, Dan Bongino brought Sewell’s departure up on his national radio show recently. From experience, he said she probably got tired of Mayor Adams usurping her authority to make department and personnel decisions.
Contrarily, she apparently wanted to promote based on her criteria, which appear to be merit-based. For example, promoting a patrol officer to detective or detectives to higher grades for stellar performance. Typically, department promotions are within the commissioner’s purview.
“They tied her up,” one source said. “There’s no executive choices on her behalf. If a cop distinguishes himself and she wants to promote him, she can’t do it.” Everything must go through the mayor’s office first. Reportedly, that’s not how it used to work.
Bongino also said something to the effect it likely had to do with Adams, himself a former NYPD captain, wanting to use some promotions as part of a favor-giving grift.
Sources told the Post that Sewell was “a proponent of her cops and for ‘the rule of law,’” which shows why she was apparently not popular with Adams. They also said if she’d been allowed to use her authority, “she would have done great things for this job.”
Gothamist also reported that some observers like John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor Michael Alcazar said he’d “been hearing rumors…” she intended to resign. He said, “I was actually surprised she stayed on this long.”
Adams attempted to defend his management style regarding Sewell, saying, “Some people may call that a micromanager,” apparently referring to his alleged bullying ways. Still, she has plenty of support from those who matter—the cops.
President of the NYPD police union (PBA), Patrick Lynch said, “She took over a police department in crisis and faced tremendous challenges from day one. She cared about the cops on the street and was always open to working with us to improve their lives and working conditions. There are still enormous challenges facing the NYPD. Her leadership will be sorely missed.”
The NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) said, “The DEA salutes Commissioner Sewell for leading the NYPD through some of the most tragic and difficult times in the department’s history. Her love of detectives was genuine and sincere — and her support of the union never wavered. Commissioner Sewell’s historic appointment will not soon be forgotten.”
Gothamist also said that the rank and file at the NCPD also spoke highly of her. NCPD Detective Christopher Muchow, 2nd VP of the Nassau County Detectives Association, said, “I believe that that’s the NYPD’s loss. And sadly, that’s the loss of the residents in New York City because they had one of the greatest in law enforcement. I think somebody’s wasting her talents.”
Another chief whose department rank and file generally spoke highly of, whom many believe was also forced to resign due to political meddling from above, was Carmen Best, the former Seattle police chief. Best was Sewell’s primary competition for the NYPD commissioner job.
Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best
In fact, the Post noted Sewell’s appointment had some “controversy,” which had Best as “the odds-on favorite to replace [former Commissioner Dermot] Shea when he stepped down.”
Reportedly, Best was (it appears correctly) concerned “that Adams would be more hands-on…,” essentially appointing her as a “deputy commissioner… to oversee the NYPD,” apparently, while Adams led it.
She nailed it! (Full disclosure: I worked for Carmen when she was an SPD patrol sergeant. I still consider her a friend). Then again, after working for former radical leftist Seattle Mayor Jenny “Summer of Love” Durkan, the former chief was wisely gun-shy about Adams.
It can’t be emphasized enough that Sewell and the officers she commanded had a mutual admiration society relationship. Reportedly, Sewell fought against so-called “bail reform” out of Albany “and was very liked by the rank and file,” who abhor “bail reform.”
“Since I joined you almost a year and a half ago, we have faced tremendous tragedy, challenges, and triumphs together,” Sewell emailed her troops.
She added, “I have witnessed your compassion, heroics, and selflessness on a daily basis.”
Adams said he has a “short list of… replacements…” for NYPD Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office… Oh, sorry. I mean Commissioner of the NYPD (yeah, right).
Sewell’s First Deputy Edward Caban will fill in until Adams finds an authentic sycophant to fill the position. Mr. Mayor certainly doesn’t want to make the mistake of appointing another strong, intelligent, and competent professional who has her own mind and knows how to use it—Oh, and knows very well when a mayor is insulting her.