NEW YORK – Commissioner Keechant Sewell of the New York Police Department abruptly announced her resignation on Monday. She is stepping down less than 18 months after taking the reigns and becoming the first woman at the helm of the largest police department in the world.
“I have made the decision to step down from my position,” Sewell wrote in an email to the agency Monday afternoon. “While my time here will come to a close, I will never step away from my advocacy and support for the NYPD, and I will always be a champion for the people of New York City.”
Sewell, 51, came to NYPD from the Nassau County Police Department, a major jump from the standpoint of police personnel. NYPD has about 55,000 officers. Nassau County has about 2,500. She was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2022, after being appointed by Mayor Eric Adams. Sources said her sudden departure caught City Hall and the mayor off guard, according to the New York Post.
She did not provide a reason for her departure, and it was not immediately clear who would be taking over to lead the mammoth law enforcement agency.
In the absence of a commissioner, the first deputy, in this case Edward Caban, would step into the role.
However, in an opinion piece written by Bob McManus for the Post, he said the real shot caller is “Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, and former cop, Phil Banks.”
“She (Sewell) may have been sitting behind former top cop Teddy Roosevelt’s famous mahogany desk at One Police Plaza — but calling the important shots for the past 17 months has been a fellow known throughout the NYPD as Unindicted Co-Conspirator Number One (Banks).”
McManus said that Banks is “a longtime confederate of Mayor Eric Adams who was caught up in an extensive federal investigation of police corruption a decade ago. Named as a co-conspirator, he resigned from the department in 2014 — but was never charged.”
According to McManus, One Police Plaza will be run by Banks, “no questions asked.”
“Doubtless it’ll take time for all the details to leak out — but there clearly was no space for a self-respecting police professional between Adams and his crony of the moment,” McManus wrote.
Sewell exits with her dignity intact, McManus noted. He then opined, “Why she took the job in the first place is a mystery.”