Dermot Shea sworn in as new New York City Police Commissioner

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Dermot Shea has been sworn in as the 44th commissioner of the New York Police Department, succeeding James O'Neill.

The 62-year-old O'Neill retired to take a job as Visa Inc.'s head of global security after 36 years with the NYPD, the last three as commissioner.

As commissioner, Shea has the ultimate responsibility for keeping crime low. He'll also have to contend with looming bail reforms and pressure to reduce arrests, along with dissent among some of the department's 36,000 officers.

The 50-year-old Shea started as a Bronx patrolman in 1991 and gained prominence in the department as a crime stats guru.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's "one of the best-prepared" incoming commissioners the city has seen.

Shea was promoted after it was announced that O'Neill would resign from the position of top cop.

De Blasio called Shea a "proven change agent" who has worked to build trust between police and communities and is "uniquely qualified" to serve as the city's next police commissioner.

As the next Police Commissioner, Shea will apply precision policing and Neighborhood Policing to target gang-related violence, take guns off the streets and continue the city's reduction in crime.

"This is a tremendous honor and a tremendous responsibility and I'm grateful to the Mayor for this privilege to serve," Shea said. "Police Commissioner O'Neill has been a mentor and a friend to me, and I am committed to building on the incredible success of Neighborhood Policing and precision policing, while continuing my life's work to eradicate gangs and guns from our streets. Every New Yorker deserves to be safe and feel safe, and that has been my mission since I took the oath and became a police officer 28 years ago. As Police Commissioner, this will be what drives me."

Shea joined the NYPD in 1991. He rose through the ranks working in narcotics, investigations and plainclothes units in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. He commanded the 44th and 50th Precincts in the Bronx
He grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, and was one of five kids in an Irish-American family.

His brother, James Shea, retired from the NYPD as a deputy chief. But he didn't go very far -- just across the Hudson River where he serves as Jersey City Public Safety Director. His other brother Paul is deployed with the U.S. Army.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.