(NEW YORK) — Edward Caban made history in July when he was named the first Latino police commissioner for the NYPD.
The 32-year police veteran and Bronx native has talked about his heritage throughout his career and has been open about his plans to keep New York City safe.
He spoke with “GMA 3” on Monday about the honor he feels with his new position and agenda.
GMA 3: Your father was a detective. So this must mean a lot to you to be the first Latino police commissioner.
NYPD POLICE COMMISSIONER EDWARD CABAN: Yes, it is. I remember my swearing-in ceremony. You’re out there and looking and in your mind, you’re thinking — you go from being a regular beat cop to the top cop. And I was very cognizant of the fact that I was walking down the stairs to look at him, break down. He was a trailblazer in my life. He was one of the officers who fought for Hispanics to get better assignments, [and] to get more promotions. So, for me, it was the honor –the highest.
GMA 3: Definitely filling some big shoes there. And we know that you’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s a migrant crisis facing the city. [About] 118,000 migrants have come to New York City since the spring of 2022. The mayor has said that this could affect every facet of life. How is the police department going to tackle this issue?
CABAN: So I tell you, from a police perspective, the New York City Police Department is going to enforce the laws. It doesn’t matter if you came into our city three hours ago or you came into our city three generations ago. We’re going to make sure we enforce the laws in every community.
GMA 3: Mayor [Eric] Adams has signaled, though, that this may slash overtime for police officers. Are you worried that this could affect policing in some way?
CABAN: It’s not going to affect policing. In the last couple of years, we have had diminished officers coming in on our job. But look at the work they’re doing. Since the administration began, officers on our job have taken over 12,000 illegal firearms off our streets. They’ve taken over 23,000 ATVs off our streets. Our cops are going to continue to work and make sure that New Yorkers are safe each and every day.
GMA 3: Commissioner, you call New York the safest big city in the nation. In fact, according to the NYPD, murders are down over 11%, shooting incidents are down over 26% and robberies are down over 5% compared to this same time last year. What do you say to those who disagree with you and say this is not the safest big city in the country?
CABAN: So first and foremost, I want to thank the men and women of the New York City Police Department for the work they do. They’re not called New York’s Finest for no reason. So, when the administration, came into focus in January 2022, crime was up historic levels both on our streets and our subways. So, that was part of our mandate to make sure we’re safe, both from violence and from subway crime. We want to make sure people are safe, not only that they are safe, but that they feel safe too. So, we deployed over 1,000 officers in our subway systems, and today we’re down over 5% in subway crimes.
Look at our streets from when we began. Crime in New York City was up over 40%. Now we’re down in every kind of crime category that we track, at least five out of our seven. As you mentioned, shootings are down, murders are down. That’s the great work the men and women New York City Police Department are doing and they’re going to continue to do.
GMA 3: Certainly a good trend. Not to pre-pandemic levels quite yet, but we know that in 2020 there was a racial reckoning and a lot of police departments across the country had to recalibrate their strategies. A recent report showed that the NYPD is still using controversial practices like stop and frisk. What do you say to those who may feel like police reforms haven’t gone far enough?
CABAN: I look back at my time growing up as a kid in the Bronx where myself and my brothers were stopped, questioned and frisked, and I didn’t like how that felt. So, I’m going to make sure that we have a police department that polices constitutionally.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.