BY KAREN MATTHEWS from the Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Edward Caban, who joined the New York Police Department as a young patrol officer in 1991 and rose through the ranks, was sworn in Monday as police commissioner, becoming the first Latino to lead the 178-year-old department.
Mayor Eric Adams administered the oath of office in front of the Bronx stationhouse where Caban started his career, and praised his new police commissioner as “representative of this blue-collar city.”
Caban, the son of a transit police officer who served with Adams when the now-mayor was on the transit force, said he joined the NYPD as “a young Puerto Rican kid” at a time when when “the top bosses of the police department didn’t really look like me.”
His beaming father, retired Detective Juan Caban, and other family members joined Caban as he was sworn in as the city’s top police official.
Caban thanked Adams for choosing him to head the 33,000-member police department.
“To be the first Hispanic police commissioner is an honor of the highest measure,” Caban said.
Caban, 55, has served as acting commissioner since the resignation of Keechant Sewell, who announced last month that she was stepping down after 18 months.
Sewell, the first woman to lead the department, did not provide a reason for her resignation, but there had been speculation that other officials including Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III, an Adams ally, were undermining her authority.
Adams and Caban both praised Sewell, who did not attend her successor’s swearing-in.
“Commissioner Sewell smashed a glass ceiling,” Caban said, “and she did so with grace, confidence and honor.” Adams said Caban, who served as first deputy commissioner under Sewell, had “worked side by side with Commissioner Sewell to deliver double digit decreases in shootings and murders.”
Caban worked in several precincts across the city as he climbed the ranks from patrol officer to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, executive officer, commanding officer, deputy inspector, inspector and first deputy commissioner.
The police department he will lead, the nation’s largest, is more diverse than the largely white and male police force he joined 32 years ago.
According to department figures, 31% of uniformed officers are Hispanic, a slightly higher number 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 with a city population that is about 14% Asian and 24% Black.