"Build trust, work within the neighborhood policing, connect to the community, don't forget the crime fighting and keep crime down," he said. "100 percent, we can. 100 percent."
Shea, who was promoted from his role as chief of Crime Control Strategies, succeeds Robert Boyce, who retired after 36 years of service to the department.
"I grew up in Queens, and I remember the city as a very different place," he said.
Shea believes that a few thousand people, mostly repeat offenders, are responsible for most of the crime in New York City. His goal is to stop the cycle.
"There are countless things that I shake my head about in the criminal justice system," he said. "A lot of things make me crazy."
One priority is to conduct a detailed analysis of the entire Detective Bureau, including the Special Victims Division, which was recently criticized by the city's Department of Investigation for under-staffing and misplaced priorities. He says his first step is to conduct a "CAT scan" of the division, and he has not ruled out major changes.
"What I want to do is take a look at the entire Detective Bureau," he said. "Are there areas that are maybe not optimally functioning?"
In a strikingly candid admission, Shea said, "In an analysis of the Special Victims Division, we are never satisfied with how we deliver services to the victims of these crimes."
Shea is known as the NYPD's "numbers man," who walked the halls with algorithms running through his head. He worked late hours and even keeping a cot in his office at NYPD headquarters. He says his days of sleeping at 1 Police Plaza are probably over, but he is prepared for late night phone calls and the grim visits to crime scenes that come with being the department's top detective.
But he is hoping for fewer of them, thanks to the crime control strategies he helped implement.
He is particularly proud of the NYPD's ability to drive down crime while making fewer arrests, what he refers to as law enforcement "with a surgeon's scalpel." The goal? "Keeping crime down with a very light touch."
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