Inside the NYPD: Shea on mayoral campaigns, state of stop and frisk, his future


NEW YORK — Police Commissioner Dermot Shea took his post at the NYPD in the end of 2019, following the departure of then-Commissioner James O’Neill.

But Shea’s tenure with the NYPD spans decades.

Watch part one of Kori Chambers’ interview with Dermot Shea here

“Basically out of college” is when he joined the department. “Just past 30 years,” he said.

And even though he’s about halfway into his second year atop the NYPD, his appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio might not mean as much to whoever moves into Gracie Mansion next.

But whether he stays or goes during a Sliwa or Adams administration is hypothetical, he said. But he knows what’s to come.

“I am well aware of my surroundings,” he said. “Well aware.”

His surroundings, at least politically, are different than they were back in 2019.

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Crime — and a violent surge in crime — was a cornerstone of both Eric Adams’ and Curtis Sliwa’s primary campaigns for mayor; each man described himself as the “law-and-order” candidate of his party.

And as the general election nears, crime and policing will continue to be front and center.

In an interview with PIX11 during a mayoral forum, Brooklyn Borough President Adams said he’d want to bring back stop and frisk, the controversial police tactic that has historically disproportionately affected New Yorkers of color. Sliwa said he’d bring it back, too.

But Shea said that’s a “misnomer.”

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“Stop, question and frisk never went away. It’s a constitutional policy that exists. What, really, the discussion is about was it [being] misused,” Shea told PIX11 during an interview with Kori Chambers, who pushed the issue again:

“Well, they both want to use it more than it’s used now.”

“Honestly, I don’t even know what that means,” Shea said.

“Wouldn’t that mean stopping, questioning and frisking more people?”

“Yeah, but you can’t do that,” Shea said, before addressing the crux of the issue. “You can only constitutionally stop somebody when you believe they’re committing a crime or about to commit a crime. I think that we’re into the campaign trail and you just put that in a box on the side and say, things get said during campaigns. Of course people want cops to engage and keep crime lower and everything else but you gotta do it the right way.”

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