Story at a glance

  • Chief Holmes is the highest ranking Black woman in NYPD history, with 30 years of experience.
  • In September 2016, Chief Holmes became the first Black woman to serve as borough commander when she was promoted to assistant chief.

The largest police force in the nation made history Thursday after appointing a Black woman to be its chief of patrol.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea named Chief Juanita Holmes to serve as chief of patrol following the abrupt resignation of outgoing Chief Fausto Pichardo. 


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Holmes, who currently serves as chief of collaborative policing, is the highest ranking Black woman in NYPD history and has 30 years of experience with the department. 

Now she’ll be the first female chief of patrol. 

“I think she is the complete package, I couldn’t be more proud to be here with her,” Shea said during a news conference alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). 

“I’ve seen her work up close, I’ve seen her leadership skills. I can tell you that she has walked the walk and she talks the talk,” he said. 

Holmes began her career on patrol in 1987 and made her way through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy inspector, inspector and deputy chief.

In September 2016, Chief Holmes became the first Black woman to serve as borough commander when she was promoted to assistant chief. 

“As Chief of Collaborative Policing, and in every role I think I’ve played in this department, equality, fairness and transparency have also been at the very heart of what I do, and as Chief of Patrol, this is how I will lead every day,” Holmes said during the news briefing. 

Holmes’ appointment comes at a time of heightened tension between law enforcement and communities of color. Demonstrations against police brutality and racial inequality have taken place over the past several months in cities across the country, including in New York City, following the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. 

Her appointment goes into effect Friday. 


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Published on Oct 29, 2020