With the appointment of Captain Steven Griffith to lead the West 126th Street’s 26th precinct, Harlem’s police precincts are now under the command of African-American NYPD officers for the first time ever.
Captain Griffith joins Deputy Inspector Kevin Williams of the 28th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Ruel Stephenson of the 30th Precinct and Inspector Rodney Harrison of the 32nd Precinct.
According to DNAinfo, the historic milestone, which has been hailed as evidence of increased diversity in the NYPD, has however been met with skepticism by some of the department’s veterans.
“Is any of this all an accident? … Or is it a reaction to the department’s problems over stop and frisk and other community issues?” said an unnamed black police official in an interview with DNAinfo.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who appointed the first African-American New York City Police Commissioner back in 1984 said, “It is terrific that the force has now probably doubled in terms of minorities, which gives the commissioner the authority to select captains and above in larger numbers.”
Koch added, “There is no question you want to expand the number of African-Americans in leadership positions, and no question black communities will respond with a greater sense of security to a black commanding officer than to a white one.”