Police Commissioner O’Neill’s Holiday Message to the NYPD

To the men and women of the NYPD:

Today is Christmas Day, a reminder that even the most humble among us can change the world for the better. And last night, Christmas Eve, marked the start of Hanukkah, eight days and nights celebrating freedom, renewal, and rededication.

Like you, I’ve worked many holidays during my 34 years on the job, and I recognize and appreciate the sacrifices you make for New Yorkers – especially when your duties take you away from your loved ones. I’ve long told people that cops have the best jobs in the world, but our families have the toughest. That’s as true today as it is any other time of the year.

None of us took this job because it would be easy; we took it to make a difference in people’s lives. And you do that, remarkably, every day. The past couple of years have been particularly challenging for us, and your performance has been exemplary – even on the darkest days, when officers here and elsewhere were killed, sometimes just for wearing police uniforms.

This year, directly attributable to the hard work of every one of you, overall crime in New York City is down more than 4% from last year, including a 4% drop in murders. And this year, shootings are down 11%, putting us on track for the lowest figure in NYPD history.

This is the best indicator that, as we continue to evolve and reinvent the way the NYPD patrols our great city, we have restored police officer to the role of problem-solver. We must constantly look ahead because the city will always demand more from us, just by the very nature of our profession. But I know each of you is up to the task. You prove it every day. And I’ve never been prouder to be a member of our department.

Thank you for everything you do for the NYPD, and for all New Yorkers. And as you work this holiday season, do what you already do better than anyone else, anywhere, in any other police department: Be kind, be compassionate and, in the face of sorrow, be reassuring. In the face of danger, be resolute. And, as always, be safe.

James P. O’Neill
Police Commissioner