NEW YORK (Xinhua) — The City of New York Police Department (NYPD), the largest police force in the United States long reputed for its capability to fight and prevent crimes, is seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of Asian American officers, particularly the ranking ones.
According to the latest statistics, there are now more than 3,000 officers of Asian descent in the NYPD, accounting for some 8.5 percent of the total 36,000 uniformed members of the service.
Moreover, currently there are 21 Asian American captains and four above the rank of captain, along with 13 lieutenants eligible to be promoted to captain. Once those eligible lieutenants get promoted, Asian-American executive members will take a more than 10 percent share of the total number of NYPD captains and above.
Reflecting this trend, an Asian-American Police Executives Council (AAPEX), which comprises Asian-American executive rank members at and above the captain level, was formed on Friday. It aims to promote leadership and encourage professional development through a unique mentoring program modeled after the NYPD’s rank structure.
Addressing a ceremony held at the NYPD headquarters in downtown Manhattan, Hugh H. Mo, former NYPD Deputy Commissioner-Trials, called the formation of AAPEX “a watershed event” for the NYPD and the Asian-American community.
Mo, a Chinese American born in Shanghai who became the first Asian American to reach the rank of NYPD Deputy Commissioner in 1984, recalled that at the time Asian American officers in the Department were less than 20 and “with not a single sergeant.”
Today there are some 550 Asian American sergeants and above in rank, said Mo, who attributed this “unprecedented growth” to the Asian community’s increasing embrace of public service, willingness to make sacrifice for public safety, as well as those officers’ talent, dedication and accomplishments.
Nevertheless, Mo, who put forth the idea of forming the Council and also co-chairs the AAPEX Advisory Board, noted that Asian Americans are “still underrepresented” in the NYPD, given the composition of the city’s overall Asian population that is about 15 percent.
“I believe it is incumbent for Asian-American police executives to have a strong voice in the NYPD and to advance leadership development and mentoring of junior Asian officers to be future leaders in the Department,” said AAPEX President Captain Stewart Hsiao Loo, who is Commanding Officer of Detective Borough Manhattan South, Group 2.
Founded in 1845, the NYPD is one of the oldest police departments in the country. Over the past decade, the department has successfully thwarted terrorist plots such as the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt, and prevented massive protests like the 2011 “Occupy Wall Street” movement from escalating into uncontrollable violence and chaos.