NYPD commissioner resigns after battling city bureaucracy from day 1: experts
Sewell has not publicly cited why she’s stepping down from the position, but former NYPD members and policing experts told Fox News Digital that Sewell was never granted the authority to take charge over the department, arguing that Eric Adams took on a dual role as mayor and commissioner.
“I don’t think that [Adams has] ever let her hold the reins to this department,” Jillian Snider, a former NYPD officer and current professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.
“This is the mayor that really just wanted to be the police commissioner,” she added.
Snider previously argued in a comment to Fox News Digital that Sewell had repeatedly been “put off to the sidelines” during press conferences, and that Adams’ involvement in the NYPD was “hurting” the department, because officers questioned how much power Sewell held despite generally liking her as a leader.
Snider told Fox News Digital that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” leading to Sewell’s resignation was likely over the commissioner looking to strip NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey of up to 10 vacation days over him allegedly abusing his authority and overturning the arrest of a retired officer back in 2021.
“There’s been a lot of talks that Mayor Adams, and especially Deputy Mayor of Public Safety [Philip] Banks, were not at all happy that Police Commissioner Sewell was deciding to go along with the CCRB disciplinary recommendation,” Snider said, which likely compounded the alleged internal contention that had already been brewing.
Snider said despite Sewell not having clear control over the department, she did “tremendous” work for the force, including for officer wellness and providing the often-overlooked basic life necessities for cops in precincts.
“She’s made a focus of officer wellness, because if you don’t have mentally… well officers, you’re not going to have positive community interaction. So she’s prioritized ensuring that her officers have what they need to be successful. Have the tools, have the training, even simple things like precinct accommodations,” Snider said, pointing to necessities such as bunk beds in precincts.
“She made a point to try and get officers just like the basic life necessities in their precincts because you spend a lot of time there if you’re on an arrest or you’re on an overtime detail. And it was trying to give officers that feeling that someone supports them. Someone has their back and someone’s watching out for them.”
Sewell’s accomplishments while in the job have been praised by Adams, but in a “minimal” way, Snider said, pointing to the mayor’s press release thanking Sewell for working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’re all actually sworn to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We all do it. He didn’t give her the credit for all of the tremendous things she’s done,” Snider said. “We still do have low morale. But the morale from January of 2022 to today, within the NYPD, at least has gone up.”
Sewell will officially step down from her role at the end of June, when First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban is expected to temporarily take over the role. Caban, Banks and Maddrey have all been tossed around by experts and the media as potential permanent replacements.
Adams’ “defining moment” in office will likely come down to who he chooses to take the position, Snider said.
“His big defining moment will be who is the next police commissioner, who does he choose to take on that role? And if he gives them the availability and accessibility to do their actual job. If he puts someone in place that he just wants to be a figurehead, and then he does the same exact thing with this new commissioner… as he did to Sewell, I think that’s going to be his defining legacy,” Snider said.
Sewell’s resignation will also likely have repercussions for other females on the force, with Snider arguing the resignation is “going to be a complete turnoff to any executive female in law enforcement to take this job because they’ll just feel like they’ll be stifled as well.”
“We’ve been seeing a lot more appointments of women to high-ranking positions and chiefs of other agencies. But NYPD, the largest metropolitan agency in the country, having their first ever female police commissioner, that’s just a milestone in a generation… We’ve seen police commissioners in the past leave at the two-year mark, the two-and-a-half year mark. So she did 18 months. But I definitely think that she had the potential to do so much more had she not been just put off to the sideline on a constant basis,” Snider said.