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NYPD Names Black Borough Commander

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Police Commissioner Ray Kelly named Gerald Nelson the new Brooklyn North borough commander Tuesday.

Gerald Nelson, 54, is currently an assistant chief in charge of school safety.

Nelson is not the first black man to serve as a borough commander, but he will be the only one currently serving in that position.

“I'm looking forward to working here to working with the community and keep crime down and also look out for terrorism and working closely with the community and having an open door policy,” said Nelson.

At a press conference Tuesday at City Hall, some leaders said Nelson's appointment is a good start, but they want to see more minorities promoted to higher office.

“One is good, but clearly one is not enough,” said Coucilmember Letitia James. “Particularly in a force where you have 38,000 officers. Someone of African American ancestry to the table, to a key leadership position is an important first step, but it's just a first step.”

“The issue here is making sure we have individuals who understand the policies and experiences and their different cultures,” said State Senate member John Sampson. “Because at the end of the day, when we're sitting at the table and trying to create and direct policies, we want individuals who have life experience to make those decisions.”

There has been a recent outcry to promote more minorities in the force, but Kelly insists he makes all appointments based on merit, not race.

Nelson will lead 3,500 NYPD employees in areas including Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and East New York. He will replace Joseph Cunneen who's retiring today after 12 years at that position.
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