Speaking to Fox News Digital from the 14th floor of New York Police Department Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, Shea – a nearly 31-year veteran of the force – said the first step in reducing gun violence and crime in the Big Apple is to acknowledge that there is a problem.
Addressing a question about whether he thinks criminals are emboldened and feel police might not respond to crimes like they normally would, Shea said he doesn’t think “there’s any doubt” 罪犯 “do feel emboldened.”
“There is a problem right now, and criminals are emboldened. Criminals have no fear of anything happening to them,” Shea explained. “To pretend that’s not the case, we’re going to have more bloodshed. I think you have to acknowledge it.”
Shea added that he feels most people have come to that realization by now. He lauded incoming Mayor Eric Adams for having acknowledged the issue and for recognizing “that people are fed up with pro-criminal laws and their lives not mattering.”
“People are tired of having to stay inside and not go out on a warm summer night because they’re worried about kids getting shot,” 他说.
He urged legislators to “put politics aside” 和 “come around a table” 至 “get to a place where we can have fair, transparent laws, we can have a reforming progressive police department and we can have historic lows in crime.
“但是现在,” Shea added, “you have individuals that have zero fear because of poorly written laws. And they’re right.”
DERMOT SHEA, 44TH NEW YORK CITY POLICE MISSIONER
Shea met with Fox News Digital on Tuesday for a 30-minute interview covering everything from his plans for his first day off the job to his thoughts on the state of the city and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s relationship with police. He smiled as he sat down in a conference room across the hall from the office he’s kept during his time at the helm of the largest police force in the country.
Having just finished a morning of media interviews, he took a break for lunch before returning to his spot in front of the camera. He smiled, adjusted his blue tailored suit and joked as he took a swig from a water bottle before rapid-fire questioning began.
Shea’s tenure as the Big Apple’s top cop was not without its bumps. He took on the role of police commissioner in December 2019 and led the force through the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed the lives of 至少 63 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel, and amid protests that stemmed in part from the killing in Minneapolis of 乔治·弗洛伊德, a Black man who died after a White police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Shea was in charge during several 抗议 against police brutality and systemic racism, and his department was, 有时, under fire for its handling of that unrest.
Shea’s last day on the job will be Dec. 31, 2021, when he’ll be sent off with arguably the biggest going-away party of the year: the New Year’s Eve Christmas celebration in New York City’s Times Square, 他开玩笑. 基昌特·塞维尔, the chief of detectives for nearby 长岛’s Nassau County Police Department, was named Wednesday as Shea’s successor.
She will become New York’s first female police commissioner.
RATING THE MAYOR’S, CITY’S PERFORMANCES
Shea steps back at a time when murders and shootings are up year to date, according to the NYPD’s CompStat data released 十二月. 12. 曾经有 454 murders this year citywide as of Sunday, 10 more than reported by the same time in 2020.
And as of Dec. 1, year-to-date total index crime was up 3.4%, 从 88,173 在 2020 至 91,185 今年.
When asked this week about his department’s performance in keeping the city safe, Shea said the answer should be broken down into two parts — pre- and post-pandemic.
“You go back two years, we had accomplished a lot in this city, and I think it’s really important that people keep hearing that … not for credit or anything else, but that’s what we want. We want to get to a point where New York is as safe as it possibly could be, where people don’t have to think about crime,” 他解释, referring to a time the crime rate was at near-historic lows.
“Then you take a look at what’s transpired since, and we have a lot of work to do. 所以, it’s kind of a tale of two worlds there right now. I think we’re skewing the other way, where I think that there are obvious alarm bells and problems that need to be addressed, that people are not moving towards quick enough,” 他继续. “Hopefully that changes.”
He described himself as someone who is “never satisfied.”
He said there were “always issues that you want to improve upon and smoke that is kind of festering that needs to be addressed. But right now we have an inferno. We don’t have smoke.”
He identified problem areas as incarceration, COVID and the court system.
When asked how he would grade Mayor de Blasio’s relationship with police, he acknowledged that there have been “periods of challenge for sure.”
“It’s been complicated. I don’t think it’s always been the healthiest relationship, but he’s done also – you have to take a look at the entire equation. Any time – you know, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17, all those years – any time the police department needed anything, we got [它],” Shea said. “Now unfortunately, we have the same opposite happened in the last couple of years. But resources for training, resources for new bullet-resistant vests … all of that cost money and all of that money came from council, the mayor.”
他加了: “Let’s be fair, all of that counts, 太. 所以, it’s certainly, the last two years, 我认为, has put additional stress on everyone. But I think you’ve got to look at the whole picture.”
CRIME UPTICK SHOULD SERVE AS ‘WAKE-UP CALL’
纽约市, the commissioner said, 是 “much safer today” than in when he was growing up in Queens in the 1970s and ’80s, when the city was “a different place.”
“We’ve had a bit of a crime, 你懂, increase of over the last two years, whether you talk violence or some of the property crimes. I think that should be a wake-up call for people that it is something that you can’t take for granted,” 他说. “It’s something that we all have to be vigilant about. But when you talk about New York City as a whole, it’s an incredibly safe place.”
尽管如此, the public and elected officials should not “ignore basic problems that we see,” 他加了.
“When someone … sets fire to a Christmas tree and then gets let out of jail; when somebody tries to set a police car on fire and was arrested for the same thing over the summer. 你懂, when a kid is now dead, and he had been arrested three or four times for possession of a firearm in the last two years,” 他解释. “It’s not about crime statistics, 就好像是, what are we doing right now? [它] doesn’t mean it has to be a deep political conversation about incarceration or anything else, but let’s learn from incidents that are happening now.”
In one of the incidents Shea described, 49-year-old Craig Tamanaha allegedly set fire to a Christmas tree outside Fox News’ New York City headquarters and was later released without bail, despite charges of felony second-degree criminal mischief, misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment and misdemeanor fifth-degree arson. Criminal justice reforms enacted in the state in 2020 prevented a judge from ordering that Tamanaha be held on bail.
“I have been thinking about lighting the tree on fire all day long,” Tamanaha allegedly told a detective after being nabbed for the arson.
DEFUND THE POLICE MOVEMENT
Shea was asked about his views on the “退还警察” 运动. Does he attribute any rise in crime to the “defund” movement or a lack of funds allocated to the NYPD?
“Can you introduce me to somebody that says that’s not the case?” 他问. “I would love to debate that around the table.”
New York City Council reallocated or cut nearly $ 1 billion from the NYPD’s budget for fiscal 2021, adopting a budget of $ 5.2 十亿. The new budget moved school safety agents to be under the funding of the Department of Education and cut overtime spending, among other expenses. The NYPD’s fiscal year 2022 budget was increased by about $ 200 million from the previous year’s.
Shea pointed to three different law enforcement areas in which funds were cut – the police, school safety agents and Rikers Island correction officers.
“Welcome to defund law enforcement – which of these three has worked out well?” Shea wondered.
“We don’t have enough guards in jails. We have jails that are in disrepair. Pure politics in terms of saying we’re going to take school safety agents, this one actually bothered me last year.”
He called it “shameful to attack the men and women of the school safety division that work for the NYPD – overwhelmingly people of color, overwhelmingly women, overwhelmingly parents and grandmothers, and you’re calling them, 喜欢, a militarized force in schools.”
He said he did not think any group cared more about the safety of New York City children than the school safety agents.
“Did defunding matter? 好, you cut all three populations. How is it working out?” 他继续. “And not only did you cut them all, you cut them all when all three are already dealing with COVID. 所以, you have record numbers of people sick, then you cut the budgets. And that was on top of letting all the prisoners out of jail. That is not a healthy recipe for public safety.”
Before Shea rose from his chair and left for his next media interview – the second-to-last of the day – he was asked one last question related to the defund the police movement.
Without naming names, had anyone admitted to him in hindsight that the push to cut police funding might have been a mistake?
He paused as he thought about the question, then smiled.
福克斯新闻’ Kelsey Koberg and Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.