Who is John Wesley Pierce? Meet the 'pop pop' behind new NYPD commish Keechant Sewell
NYPD's newly appointed first female commissioner says she learned about "service and honor" from her surrogate grandfather John Wesley Pierce
Nassau County Chief of Detectives and a 22 year veteran of the police force, Keechant Sewell, was named as New York Police Department's (NYPD) 45th commissioner. Reports emerged on December 13 revealing she is the first female to hold the position, breaking a 176-year tradition as she takes on the role. The 46-year-old spoke to New York Post and during the conversation credited a retired NYPD detective for setting her on the path to becoming the top cop. Mentoring her on this journey is her surrogate grandfather who she called "Pop Pop" while growing up in Jamaica. Continue reading to know more about him but before we do, here's what to know about Sewell.
Sewell was elected by mayor-elect Eric Adams after considering seasoned names like Ivonne Roman and Carmen Best. Sewell's "emotional intelligence" during the arduous interview process during which she also had to tackle a mock press conference for hours to address the shooting of an apparently unarmed Black man by a white police officer. Sewell who will assume her position on January 1, 2022, exhibited a calm and confident demeanor the whole time and was able to connect with the community during the pretend press conference. Sources told the outlet that Sewell said she was capable of confidently leading a force of 35,000 uniformed officers and nearly 18,000 civilian workers despite overseeing a much smaller team, precisely 351 uniformed officers during the past 15 months while serving as the Nassau County Chief of Detectives, reports Daily Mail.
Who was John Wesley Pierce aka Keechant Sewell's 'Pop Pop'?
According to the Post, Sewell met Pierce while growing up in Jamaica in Queens, New York where he assume the role of a surrogate grandfather to her. She recalled her 'Pop Pop' during the interview, a name she used to address him by, saying he mentored her and taught her about "honor and service" along with her dad who was a US Marine. Sewell's dad was dating Pierce's daughter for some time, that's when she met him. “He always took the time to talk to me about what it meant to be a person of honor and a person who cared about the communities and those around them,” she said.
Sewell revealed Pierce died in 2017, years after hanging up his boots as an NYPD detective in 1968. She currently lives in Long Island and will have to move back to New York as per city residency rules. Sewell said she plans to relocate for Queens, where her roots are. Speaking of her plans to combat gun violence in the city, Sewell told the Post that she's "hoping to kind of hit the ground running beginning January 1," before adding, "I've been policing for 25 years so I've actually got some sort of grasp on what I think works and what doesn't work."