During her final public appearance as the Police Commissioner of New York City, Keechant Sewell was moved to tears as she was praised and applauded at an NYPD promotion event.
The emotionally charged ceremony took place at the NYPD police academy, where several hundred officers were in attendance.
Despite the crowd’s enthusiasm, Mayor Eric Adams and the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks were notably absent.
Sewell, who had been at the helm of the NYPD for a year and a half, delivered an inspiring address to the newly promoted officers. She urged them to lead with integrity, courage, and compassion and reassured them that she would continue to “keep an eye on their progress.”
Sewell had surprised Mayor Adams with her sudden resignation two weeks earlier following mounting tensions with City Hall. The mayor’s office stated that the mayor’s absence at the ceremony was due to a private engagement.
The tribute included a video presentation of Sewell’s significant role in reducing gun violence and subway crime during her tenure, which brought her to tears.
Nevertheless, her term also saw an increase in overall crime, including felony assault and car theft, particularly in early 2022.
Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the Chief Advisor to Mayor Adams, alongside the deputy mayors, presented Sewell with a bouquet. Lewis-Martin acknowledged Sewell’s groundbreaking role as the NYPD’s first Black female leader and thanked her for her exemplary service.
She said, “She broke the glass ceiling, she paved the way for young girls, who know that anything is possible and we wanted to let her know that we love her.”
Lewis-Martin continued, “She came to New York City from Long Island and she did something,” Lewis-Martin said. “She has been the face of the NYPD for 18 months. We thank you. No one could have done a better job.”
Edward Caban, the current acting Police Commissioner, expressed gratitude for Sewell’s leadership and partnership and wished her well. He said, “I want to thank her for her partnership, her mentorship, her leadership, for everything she did on behalf of all the men and women of the NYPD, everything she did on behalf of the citizens of the city of New York.”
Sewell did not speak to the media after the ceremony, a practice that has been a hallmark of her time as Commissioner.