Cops in northern Brooklyn are making herstory.
Recently appointed Assistant Chief Judith Harrison is the first woman ever to run the NYPD’s Brooklyn North command, something she is keenly reminded of every time she walks into her Bushwick headquarters.
“Every day when I walk into the building, there’s a wall,” Harrison, 52, explained at a Thursday press conference. “I call it the wall of fame. On that wall is 23 men, all former Brooklyn North commanders. When my picture goes up there I’ll be the 24th person and the first woman.”
“It’s not lost on me how historic that is,” she said.
Harrison is one of four black women to reach the NYPD rank of chief. A Queens native, Harrison sees her appointment as an important sea change in light of all the civil unrest across the country over police brutality against African Americans.
“At this time, black voices matter,” Harrison said. “Black voices in leadership matter.”
Cops in Brooklyn North oversee 10 precincts that spread from East New York to Brooklyn Heights and cover some of the city’s most violence-prone neighborhoods.
Harrison, the former head of the NYPD’s Special Victims Division, replaces longtime Brooklyn North chief Jeffrey Maddrey, who was made head of the department’s Community Affairs Division.
She takes charge as Brooklyn North reels from a 43% jump in homicides and a 52% increase in shootings compared to last year.
As of Sunday, 50 people have been killed the neighborhoods Harrison is now responsible for — nearly a quarter of the 197 killings recorded in the city so far this year. There were also 156 shootings, about 27% of the the 585 that have occurred across the city this year, officials said.
“Certainly I am concerned about the violence in Brooklyn North. I am extremely concerned about it,” Harrison said, adding that most of the violence is committed by neighborhood street gangs.
“We are seeing a lot of gang violence in Brooklyn North,” she said. “We are also seeing a lot of retaliatory violence in Brooklyn North by gang members.”
“Obviously we are laser-focused on turning our attention to those individuals and making sure we build strong cases against them and bring those cases to court for prosecution.”