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NYPD Appoints Juanita Holmes, Former Head of Queens North, as First Female Chief of Patrol

Chief Juanita Holmes and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea when she was promoted to Chief of Collaborative Policing last month (NYPD)

Oct. 29, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The New York City Police Department appointed its first female Chief of Patrol Thursday — Juanita Holmes, who has a long history of policing in Queens.

Holmes, the highest-ranking African American woman in NYPD history, has more than 30 years of experience with the department, including several stints in high-ranking positions across the World’s borough–including being the head of Queens North.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced her appointment at a press briefing today.

Shea, who was raised in Sunnyside, said he has a long history of friendship with Holmes and has seen firsthand her leadership skills.

“I can tell you that she has walked the walk and she talks the talk,” he said at the City Hall briefing. “She understands this city. She understands the importance of neighborhood policing. She also understands the importance of keeping people safe. I think she is the complete package.”

Holmes most recently served as Chief of Collaborative Policing, a position she was appointed to in September after returning to the department in December 2019 from a job in the private sector.

“As Chief of Collaborative Policing and in every role I think I’ve played in this department, equality, fairness, transparency has always been at the very heart of what I do,” she said. “And as Chief of Patrol, this is how I will lead every day. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Before she briefly left the NYPD, Holmes served as Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, which covers precincts in the northern half of the borough from Astoria and Long Island City to Flushing, from September 2016 to December 2018.

NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes (right) while commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North. Her successor, Assistant Chief Martin Morales (left), assumed the Queens North post on Dec. 22, 2018 after Holmes announced her retirement. (via NYPD Queens North/Twitter)

She was the first African American woman to lead a borough command in the NYPD, putting her in charge of the 108, 114, 112, 115, 104, 110, 111 and 109 Precincts as part of the role.

Holmes also started her policing career in Queens in 1987 when she was first put on patrol in the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway. She went on to work in the 100, 101, 103, 111 and 113 Precincts — all in Queens — as well as the 81 Precinct, Domestic Violence Unit and the School Safety Division.

The new Chief of Patrol comes from a NYPD family. She has 16 immediate family members that are employed by the NYPD — 14 of whom serve as uniformed members, including her son, brother, five sisters, two nieces and a nephew.

Juanita Holmes was in charge of Queens North from September 2016 through December 2018 (NYPD)

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