NYPD commissioner talks leadership changes, attacks against Asian community

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There have been major leadership changes within the NYPD as the city grapples with random attacks on the subway and a spike in hate crimes within the Asian community.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea spoke to PIX11 News about the recent leadership changes, addressing the police relationships with communities of color, shootings and gun arrests and vaccines within the department. 

Leadership changes

Chief of Department Terence Monahan’s retirement and taking on a new role with Mayor Bill de Blasio caught many people by surprise. However, Shea said recent criticism over the NYPD was not a factor.

“I think he saw the end coming, if you will,” the police commissioner said, adding an opportunity came up, and he took it. 

There are now three African Americans in leadership roles, including the newly promoted Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes and Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey.

75th precinct shakeup

Precinct Commander Inspector John Mastronardi has faced criticism following a video surfacing of him slamming an inmate’s head to the ground.

Despite reports he would be transferred, the police commissioner said there is no current plan to transfer him for disciplinary reasons.

“He’s been at the toughest precinct in the city for about two years,” Shea said.

At some point he will be transferred, but it won’t be due to discipline, according to Shea.

When transfer gets under way, the community will have chance to help pick the new precinct commander.

MTA and rise in crime.

NYC Transit Authority Interim President Sarah Feinberg requested more uniformed officers.

The police commissioner said the NYPD made a commitment to put 500 officers in and the force has surpassed that commitment with adding more cops in addition to others working overtime.

“ It’s a balancing act,” he said.

Shea said crime is currently down, but any incident that occurs is one too many. 

Shootings in NYC

There has been a 60% increase in gun arrests for the first two months of the year, Shea said.

There has been a 42% increase of shootings for the year, but Shea said small numbers of people driving violence. 

Attacks on Asian community

The police commissioner said the NYPD takes attacks on the Asian American community seriously. Anyone with info should come forward, no matter how slight you think it is

“Stand up for each other, protect each other.”

Vaccines for dept.

Over 30% uniformed and civilian officers vaccinated, according to the police commissioner.

Though he’d like to see the number higher, he said factors that may attribute to the lower number could be due to the high number of officers who contracted COVID-19 over the year.

Shea said he intends to get the vaccine in the near future.

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