In de Blasio terms, he’s presided over a “perfect storm” of crime.
Mayor Bill de Blasio lauded the leadership of his police commissioner for the last two-plus years — who was at the wheel of the NYPD during one of the largest upticks in murders and shootings in recent memory.
“I honestly wouldn’t change a thing,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who is retiring at the end of the year as de Blasio leaves office, said Wednesday of his tumultuous tenure as the city’s top cop.
“I consider the work that [my executive team] did was the glue that held the city together through one of the toughest times the city has seen,” said Shea, adding, “Obviously, people make mistakes and things.”
In their last monthly press conference on crime statistics, de Blasio mostly whitewashed Shea’s time running the NYPD, saying, “I think the commissioner has a lot to be proud of.”
“Commissioner Shea was one of the architects of neighborhood policing and precision policing which worked in an extraordinary way through the end of 2019,” de Blasio crowed. “He then dealt with, as did all men and women of NYPD, greatest crisis in the history of NYC and managed to keep us moving despite it.”
De Blasio has repeatedly chalked up issues during his tenure as mayor to the “perfect storm” — especially since the pandemic.
Shea, whose first few months on the job were relatively quiet as crime held steady after he took over, quickly became an embattled leader of the NYPD as the coronavirus spread through the department and droves of protesters took to the streets rallying against police in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a cop in Minnesota just weeks later.
At the same time, shootings started to surge, as well as homicides.
So far this year, there have been 1,470 shootings, 40 more than the same time last year — but double that of 2019, NYPD data shows
Murders, which as of Sunday were 443 on the year versus 437 last year, were up 45 percent compared to pre-pandemic two years ago.
But after 20 months, those trends, which are not isolated to the Big Apple, have yet to reverse course, despite the narrative from police brass and the mayor’s office touting scores of gun arrests as progress.
At the same time, the city’s top cop has repeatedly claimed the court slowdown and lawmakers pushing bail reform were to blame for the spike in gun violence without much more than anecdotal evidence.
Shea was also criticized for his misinformation and leadership during the Floyd protests, specifically the Mott Haven police response, which sparked a lawsuit by the state attorney general.
The outgoing police commissioner will also be remembered for dissolving the anti-crime unit, a controversial unit that led to a number of police shootings as well as the chokehold death of Eric Garner — but which also got a lot of guns off the streets.
Incoming Mayor Eric Adams, though, has said he would bring back a revised form of such a plainclothes unit.
Shea filed for retirement last week while in Dubai representing the NYPD.