Edward Cabán, who joined the New York Police Department as a young patrolman in 1991 and rose through the ranks, took office Monday as police commissioner, becoming the first Latino to lead the 178-year-old department.
Mayor Eric Adams led the swearing-in outside the Bronx police station, where Cabán began his career, hailing his new police commissioner as “representative of this blue-collar city.”
Cabán, the son of a transit officer who served with Adams when the now-mayor was part of the transit force, said he joined the New York police as “a young Puerto Rican” at a time when “high command of the police department really didn’t look like me.”
His beaming father, retired detective Juan Cabán, and other family members joined Cabán as he was sworn in as the city’s top police officer.
Cabán thanked Adams for choosing him to head the 33,000-member police department.
“To be the first Hispanic police commissioner is the ultimate honor,” Cabán said.
Cabán, 55, has served as interim commissioner since the resignation of Keechant Sewell, who announced last month that he would step down after 18 months.
Sewell, the first woman to head the department, did not provide a reason for her resignation, but there was speculation that other officials, including Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III, an ally of Adams, were undermining her authority.
Adams and Cabán praised Sewell, who did not attend the swearing in of his successor.
“Sheriff Sewell broke a glass ceiling,” Cabán said, “and she did it with grace, confidence and honor.”
Adams noted that Cabán, who served as Sewell’s first deputy commissioner, had “worked alongside Commissioner Sewell to achieve double-digit reductions in shootings and murders.”
Cabán worked in various city delegations while rising through the ranks from patrolman to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, executive officer, commanding officer, deputy inspector, inspector, and first deputy commissioner.
The police department he will lead, the largest in the country, is more diverse than the largely white, male police force he joined 32 years ago.
According to department figures, 31% of those in uniform are Hispanic, a number slightly higher than the 29% of the city’s population identified as Hispanic by the Census Bureau.
About 11% of the department’s officers are Asian and about 16% are Black, compared to a city population that is about 14% Asian and 24% Black.