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A Civilian Running The NYPD? Sources Tell CBS2 Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Is Considering It

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Here's a provocative thought as Mayor-elect Eric Adams mulls what is arguably one of his most important appointments -- could New York City get a civilian police commissioner?

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, it at least seems like it's a possibility.

Adams has narrowed his search for a police commissioner to about six or eight women. Sources told Kramer that the list includes several who have run departments in other cities, a top-ranking NYPD chief, and candidates who do not have policing backgrounds.

When Kramer spoke to Adams, he seemed to hint a civilian could be in the running.

"The next commissioner must be really emotionally intelligent and have the empathy and compassion and only should they have worn a gun belt, but if they didn't, they should understand that we need to boost morale," Adams said.

Adams raised the possibility that his police commissioner doesn't necessarily have to have been a cop.

And while sources said that candidates who have never been cops are in the running, the idea of a civilian running the NYPD is not exactly new. It was first proposed by Andrew Yang during the Democratic primary. Yang said he thought a civilian would help reform the department and avoid some of the abuses.

"A civilian police commissioner would clearly send a message that the people are in charge of the police force, rather than the police force in charge of the people," said political expert David Birdsell, provost at Kean University.

With public safety one of the the top issues of the election, sources said Adams' short list also includes:

  • NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes
  • Philadelphia Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, who also ran the Portland Police Department
  • Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best
  • Former Newark Police Chief Ivonne Roman

Whoever gets the job will have to contend with the fact that Adams, a former police captain, has strong ideas about how the NYPD should be run, and will have no problem putting his own stamp on the department. In addition, he's going to send whoever he picks to get corporate management training.

"I want my police commissioner to get a quality training of what leadership is all about, what it is to be a CEO of a major police agency, and that's what we need, that type of leadership. And, unfortunately, in law enforcement, we don't do that enough," Adams said.

It's unclear how soon Adams will make a decision, but it will clearly be well before he is sworn in.

"We've narrowed it down. We're not at the final level yet, but we are excited about some of the prospects," Adams said.

When Kramer asked for hints about who the civilian candidates might be, she was told it could be someone like former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who seems to have taken herself out of the running for personal reasons.

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