Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster, the first African-American woman to hold a top ranking position in the 170-year history of the New York Police Department, said in a speech recently, that the NYPD does not only intervene when there is criminal activity, but constantly engages the community and provides a service.
“Many people know the NYPD only on the perspective of criminal activity, but that is just a small percentage of what we do. We engage with people while providing information and service,” said Chief Royster, who was the keynote speaker at God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in Brooklyn, during a Black History Month celebraton.
“This is why the community should be informed that the NYPD is a resource, we are part of the community but we cannot do anything without you,” she said.
“You are at the frontline, the voice of what we need to do,” said Chief Royster, a recipient of the NYC Police Foundation’s Hemmerdinger Award and the New York Post Liberty Medal for her role in managing the buyback program in 2008 in Brooklyn that netted 10,000 firearms.
Chief Royster, the recruitment and hiring commander of all uniformed and civilian members of the department, who thanked her assistant Detective Cheryl Crispin for her committed work, will partner with the department’s fraternal and religious organizations to stage recruitment events in strategically selected neighborhood and venues.
“Past efforts sought to attract candidates with a message of action and adventure, sometimes bringing in people unsuited to community service and the human encounter aspects of police work,” she said.
She further explained that such campaigns fell short of reaching diversity goals, especially with respect to gender, Blacks, Asian women, Jews, Muslims and the LGBTQ community.
“Reaching these groups with a message about a possible police career will need a more tailored team of recruiters.” She added that the NYPD’s 2016 recruitment campaigns will emphasize community trust to attract service-oriented candidates, who have the encourage, compassion, and respect necessary to become police officers.
In keeping with Black History Month, Chief Royster who viewed a video of the Middle Passage and was treated to gospel renditions by congregants said that the NYPD is trying to give back to the community, that she as a leader and executives of the NYPD will be undertaking.
Chief Royster referred to the program’s theme: The legacy of strength and the future of hope and the Middle Passage she viewed, and said despite the suffering “we went through as a people many days and night” its where we are now that is important. “We must know our history because we don’t want to go back there.”
She said race tension remains an issue in this country even though the emancipation proclamation was issued and there is affirmation action, and calls for equality and diversity in the workforce.
“Diversity today in not only about color, it is gender, age, and language. So we must look at all of these areas when we talk about diversity in the workforce to make sure we are being good stewards and that we are giving back.”
“I had an interesting journey, and it is still not over. God says he would put you in places where people could see the good works through you,” said the former commander of the Manhattan South Investigative Unit, during her emotional presentation.
“I felt blessed the moment I walked through the door. God’s Battalion, you are something else,” she expressed while praising the church for reaching out to the community. “This is not just a Sunday event it’s a daily one, I am very happy to be here,” she said to Reverend Dr. Alfred Cockfield and First Lady Audrey Linette Cockfield, and thanked the clerics for the plaque she was presented with.
A phenomenal woman with a deep spiritual upbringing and a strong will to succeed, Chief Royster said she got off a bus at Port Authority in New York City from North Carolina, to pursue a career in the arts, but instead joined the NYPD in 1985 as an administrative aide, and was sworn-in as a police officer in 1987, later, advancing through the ranks.
Chief Royster, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from St. Joseph College, is a talented and versatile person.
A graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University, Chief Royster also served in the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, the Internal Affairs Bureau, and the Criminal Justice Bureau.
In addition to receiving a citation for the outstanding performance in 2011 for co-ordinating media coverage / requests of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and the President’s historical visit to the 1st Precinct and Ground Zero, the two-star Chief Royster commanded the Manhattan South Investigations Unit and served as the executive officer of the 5th Precinct.
In a surprise move, Chief Royster stunned the audience, and received loud applause for her fervent rendition of a gospel song.
A mother of two sons, and the wife of NOBLE National President, Gregory A. Thomas, Chief Royster, is committed to serving with the same passion, and oath she made to the NYPD more than three decades ago.