James P. O’Neill – commonly referred to as “JPo”, which is short for “Jimmy Police” – has been a police officer since 1983. After more than three decades, he will now become the next commissioner of the largest police force in the nation and, arguably, the most recognizable in the world – the NYPD.
According to Newsday, William Bratton announced that he’d be leaving the position in a shocking move. O’Neill, who’s a East Flashbush, Brooklyn native, will begin his tenure in September.
During a press conference, O’Neill said that he hopes “to help shift this nation’s largest police department away from a style of policing the city that sometimes lost focus.” He went on to say he’ll focus on “lowering crime, but not at the expense of losing the vital support of the people that we are sworn to protect and serve.”
O’Neill is walking into a high profile position at a time where the relationship between police and civilians is dishearteningly strained following multiple deaths of people of color at the hands of police. Who are most often acquitted. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the unreported instances that start with racial profiling and fortunately don’t end in death.
“I’m in full support of advocacy groups and everyone’s right to peacefully protest,” O’Neill said.
We’ll see if that remains true as time goes on.
Photo Credit: James O’Neill, Twitter