The NYPD held a promotion ceremony Thursday for its newest Chief of Department, a 26-year veteran of the force who addressed the scrutiny surrounding the department's stop, question and frisk policy by saying it is "an effective strategy" when done correctly. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
New York's finest gathered at police headquarters Thursday to welcome their new Chief of Department.
Philip Banks, a 26-year veteran of the force, is now third-in-command of the NYPD.
He's not just the top crime-fighting strategist. He's also in charge of everything from overseeing security at big events to managing disaster response.
"We could not have chosen a better, more qualified leader to serve as the department's top operational commander," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Born in Crown Heights, Banks joined the force in 1986 and worked his way up through the ranks. He most recently served as Chief of Community Affairs.
Banks acknowledged that some are looking to him to build bridges in his new role.
"I think that the communication is very, very important, because I certainly believe that our differences are actually very minor," Banks said. "My strength is not just in the minority community, it's in all communities. And I'm going to share some of those secrets."
Banks' promotion comes amid controversy over the NYPD's stop, question and frisk policy, a strategy that supporters say lowers crime but opponents say unfairly targets minorities and puts a rift between police and certain communities.
Banks said he believes stop, question and frisk is effective when done correctly.
"We've looked at it. We've implemented some changes that take place into it," Banks said. "I certainly believe that we're going to continue to do it. I believe that we should continue it."
Banks now holds the highest-ranking uniformed position in the NYPD.
His promotion comes just one day after the retirement of Chief Joseph Esposito, who spent 12 years on the job and 44 with the department.
"Chief Esposito was my borough commander when I was a rookie captain in Brooklyn North, so he has certainly been a mentor to me for a very, very long time," Banks said.
Banks is the son of a retired NYPD Lieutenant, so Thursday was a very proud day for his family.