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The NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, is retiring in late December after a distinguished 30-year career, the agency said in a statement on Thanksgiving morning.
Harrison’s resignation, scheduled for Dec. 30, comes at a time of expected changes in the leadership of the NYPD, with newly elected mayor Eric Adams expected to soon appoint a new police commissioner.
The current commissioner, Dermot Shea, did not name a successor to Harrison, the only NYPD member who has ever risen from the cadet to the top of the department’s chain of command. Harrison had only become department head in February 2021, after his immediate predecessor, Terence Monahan, retired.
“Rodney has not only been a trusted advisor and friend, but exactly the kind of innovative leader our city and our department have needed in these challenging times,” Shea said. “He has performed in every rank – from patrol officer, to undercover officer showing tremendous bravery, to department head – with knowledge, skill, integrity and a great passion for our continued mission of always protecting life and property and building lasting “Relationships with those we serve. We will miss him, but we wish him all the best.”
Harrison, who grew up in Rochdale Village, Queens, became an NYPD officer in June 1991 at the request of his father. He was first attached to the 114th Precinct based in Astoria, Queens, but was later redistributed to the NYPD Narcotics Division, which worked to combat violent drug dealers along the way.
He achieved Departmental Combat Cross in the mid-1990s after being shot by a drug dealer while working undercover as part of an investigation. Harrison was later promoted to detective and worked in various Brooklyn commands.
Harrison was given a leadership position after being assigned as a senior officer to the Bronx’s 47th Precinct; he later served as commander of the 28th and 32nd Manhattan area. After being promoted to vice president, Harrison worked in the Internal Affairs Bureau, followed by positions in Staten Island and Brooklyn.
In 2018, Harrison became Chief of Patrol, where Shea said he became an influential figure in helping 20,000 officers adapt to the NYPD’s Neighborhood Policing Strategy. The following year, Shea Harrison was named Chief of Detectives, making him the first black member of the NYPD to hold that title.
Looking back on his career, Harrison said he is “extremely proud” of his service to the city and is honored that two of his daughters, Amber and Tyra, are continuing the family tradition of the NYPD, as they currently serve as patrol officers. . .
“It has been an honor to be a part of this amazing police department, to carry out our intelligence-driven police strategies, to help develop more lasting reforms and to build a meaningful dialogue with the young people of our city,” Harrison said. “And I am privileged that two of my children will continue this important work.”