The New York Police Department, the largest police force in the United States, has appointed a Black woman in the person of Chief Juanita Holmes to be its chief of patrol.
It was announced on thursday by the NYDP Commissioner Dermot Shea who said he is “beyond proud” to name Chief Juanita Holmes to serve in the post.
That makes her not only the first African-American woman but the first woman ever to hold the seat that manages most of the department’s uniformed officers patrolling the city.
She will become the highest ranking African-American woman in NYPD history and the highest ranking uniformed woman ever. according to the presentation Shea put forward at a press conference.
Chief Holmes who serves alongside 16 other immediate family members, also oversaw the department’s School Safety Division and commanded both the Domestic Violence Unit and the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Training.
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“She has walked the walk, and she talks the talk,” Shea said. “I think she is the complete package.”
Holmes replaced outgoing Chief Fauto Pichardo, who submitted his retirement papers earlier this month.
Holmes rose through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy inspector, inspector, deputy chief, and finally assistant chief in 2016 — the first African American woman to serve as borough commander in that role.
In every role she has played thus far in her tenure “equality, fairness, transparency, has always been at the very heart of what I do” Holmes said.
“And as chief of patrol this is how I will lead every day” she said.
Addressing race relations in the city by “strengthening” relationships, stating that “community engagement is ever evolving in the NYC police department.”
“People want to be heard, and we’re there to listen to them, but they have to play an intricate part in crime reduction as well as improving quality of life,” Holmes said. “Strengthening those relationships is my plan.”
“New York City police officers desperately need competent leaders like Chief Holmes who can effectively push back against the politicians, empower us to do our job and help us to stop the city’s backward slide. That is the challenge facing Chief Holmes. we give her our support as she takes it on,” Lynch said.