History was made in New York on Thursday (October 29). Juanita Holmes became the first Black woman to become the Chief of Patrol for the New York Police Department (NYPD), the largest police force in the county, CNN reported. Officials appointed Holmes to run most of the department's uniformed officers patrolling the city.
"Chief Holmes will break the glass ceiling as the first woman in American history to lead a police force as large as the NYPD," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Thursday. "She isn't just an historic choice, she's the right choice." Holmes' appointment, which goes into effect Friday (October 30), comes after former Chief Fauto Pichardo submitted his retirement papers earlier this month, according to CNN.
The new Chief of Patrol has 30 years of experience with the NYPD. Starting in 1987, she rose through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy inspector, inspector, deputy chief, and finally assistant chief in 2016. She was also the first Black woman to serve as borough commander in the assistant chief role, as well. Sixteen of Holmes' family member is also in the force. Her other credentials include overseeing the department's School Safety Division and commanding both the Domestic Violence Unit and the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Training.
Holmes said that in every role she has played thus far in her tenure "Equality, fairness, transparency, has always been at the very heart of what I do," Holmes said, referring to her career in law enforcement. "And as chief of patrol this is how I will lead every day."
The officer also plans on addressing race relations in the city, stating that "community engagement is ever evolving in the NYC police department." "People want to be heard, and we're there to listen to them, but they have to play an intricate part in crime reduction as well as improving quality of life," Holmes said. "Strengthening those relationships is my plan."
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said he is "beyond proud" to name Chief Holmes to serve in the post. During a presentation, he noted that she will become the highest ranking African-American woman in NYPD history and the highest ranking uniformed woman ever. "She has walked the walk, and she talks the talk," Shea said. "I think she is the complete package."