NYPD Assistant Chief James Essig promoted to chief of detectives

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on Friday announced the appointment of Assistant Chief James Essig as Chief of Detectives.

He replaces Rodney Harrison, who was pronounced to Chief of Department after Terence Monahan's retirement.

In his new leadership position, Chief Essig will build on the department's critical work in furthering crime-reduction through Neighborhood Policing and the department's precision-policing efforts.

A 38-year veteran of the NYPD, Chief Essig has served in a range of assignments integral to the department's operations. He has led neighborhood precincts and police stations that cover NYCHA complexes, and he has been a pioneer in the NYPD's continuing efforts to investigate and suppress gun violence.

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Shea said Essig's work ethic has reflected the values and concerns of the citizens where he has served.

"Chief Essig's commitment to the public good, and his vision for fair, effective policing, has seen our city through to its historic crime reductions," he said. "His experience makes him uniquely suited to carry on the department's work in fighting violent crime. I am proud to announce his promotion to Chief of Detectives."

Essig was born Jamaica, Queens, and his first assignment was on patrol in Upper Manhattan, though he has also served in the Bronx, Brooklyn and in Queens.

He commanded the 41st and 44th precincts in the Bronx and led police divisions dedicated to serving the residents of city public housing complexes in areas of southern and eastern Bronx.

As commander of the Violence Reduction Task Force, Chief Essig was an early architect of the NYPD's use of precision policing to focus more intensively on the few individuals in our city considered the primary drivers of violence.

Those efforts included a December 2014 takedown of the GS9 gang in a 101-count indictment charging 15 members of the violent Brooklyn street gang with a homicide and a series of shootings.

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His work in that case reflected the NYPD's intelligence-driven response to a rash of shootings and violence in the 67th and 69th precincts.

"Throughout my career, my goal has always been to serve New Yorkers, to build ties between communities and their police and to prevent people from being victims of crime," Essig said. "My philosophy was - and remains - that if you are one of the few individuals who endanger our communities by carrying an illegal gun, firing one or using a gun to harm another person, you are our focus. Ascending to this important position as Chief of Detectives is a tremendous honor."

The core of Chief Essig's career has been combating violent crime and gun violence In New York City, but when he was awarded a medal for valor in 1985, it was for another kind of service: His valiant efforts to help a woman trapped in the midday collapse of a 35-ton crane in Upper Manhattan.

The chief, then a young officer on patrol in that neighborhood, rushed in to aid and comfort the 49-year-old woman, Brigitte Gerney, until Emergency Service Unit officers and others could arrive to begin rescue operations.

The woman told the officers that while she was pinned, with her legs seriously injured, her concerns were for the police officers risking their lives to stay by her side for several hours as they worked to free her.

Essig joined the NYPD in January 1983 and began his career on patrol in the 19th Precinct. He also served in Neighborhood Stabilization Unit 4; Police Service Areas 7 and 8; the 19, 41, 44, 84, 100 and 105 precincts; the Brooklyn Warrants Squad; Brooklyn North Narcotics Patrol Borough Brooklyn North; Detective Borough Brooklyn; the Gun Violence Suppression Division; the Violence Reduction Task Force; and the Office of the Police Commissioner.

He was promoted to Sergeant in April 1989, Lieutenant in December 1996, Captain in January 1999, Deputy Inspector in May 2002, Inspector in August 2005, Deputy Chief in December 2010, and Assistant Chief in June 2016.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College and is a 2002 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University.

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