As part of the Columbia/NYPD: Executive Forum Series held on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, Commissioner James P. O’Neill joined Dean Jason Wingard for Talks@Columbia. The two discussed how the NYPD and SPS worked together to facilitate their joint-effort, the Community Policing Forum which engages police leadership and the local community to address concerns and improve relations.
Commissioner O’Neill’s shared details about his career path, efforts to improve community policing, and how the NYPD ensures that communities are safe - and feel safe.
Dean Wingard asked O’Neill how he navigates challenging leadership scenarios, particularly when balancing the needs of the police force and the needs of communities.
“Of course I’m responsible for all the people who work for the NYPD, civilian or sworn. I’m also responsible for the lives and safety of 8.6 million New Yorkers and I have to be an advocate for them also. That’s the difference between being the chief of the department and this job. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, but it is also an awesome responsibility. You can’t turn your back on the police officers, and you certainly can’t turn your back on the 8.6 million New Yorkers. It can be a difficult balancing act. But I go where my conscience leads me,” said Commissioner O’Neill.