By Tangerine Clarke
Commissioner of Police, James P. O’Neill told a large gathering of black police officers – “our great diversity brings us together in a beautiful way, and makes us a much better, stronger police department.”
The head of the New York Police Department lauded the hundreds of black officers including Caribbean-Americans nationals, for their dedicated work, during his remarks on Feb. 21, at the Annual NYPD Black History Month celebration, in the auditorium of 1 Police Plaza.
“You are not only representing your heritage, but the interest of your members, that is important,” he told the police officers.
O’Neill credits the hard work and sacrifice by law enforcement for the overall drop in crimes, applauding them for keeping families together who didn’t have to grieve, and saving lives.
“It is hard work but the only way we can get through this is by working together,” he said
“I am proud to be here tonight happy. I am proud to be the police commissioner. Have a good time, go back to work, keep the city safe, and keep the department safe,” said O’Neill who has today, served 35 years in law enforcement.
The decades-old NYPD Guardians Association, a fraternal organization, that has been at the forefront fighting discrimination within the NYPD, celebrated with National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive (NOBLE) and Africa Law Enforcement Organization (ALEO), also, Guyanese America Law Enforcement Association (GALEA), (Dept. Inspector Rhonda O’Reilly-Bovell, President), and the Haitian American Law Enforcement Fraternal (HALEFO) (Kidert Jean-Mary, President, NYPD, Ret.)
The hours-long BHM 2018 event, included the themed video presentation “We are the NYPD” that showcased the work and missions undertaken to enhance the lives of citizens in their communities, narrated by presidents of the various groups.
Performances by the Guardians string band, Lieutenant Acu Rhodes and Police Officer Charles Mack, Haitian-born Joycelyne Dorisme, Guyanese drummer Jeggae, and the Guardians Association Gospel choir were the high point of the evening.
The commemoration began with a ceremonial salute, followed by the National Anthem of America, the Negro National Anthem, invocation by Bishop Victor A Brown, and welcome and introduction remarks by Detective Felicia Richards, president of the NYPD Guardians Association.
The Benediction by Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Harris, made way for a lavish reception that served cuisine from various countries.
Senator Roxanne Persaud, Consul General of Guyana, NY, Barbara Atherly, and other police top brass, Deputy Police Commissioner, Benjamin Tucker, Chief Terence Monahan, Chief James Secreto and Chief Nilda Hofmann also attended the event.