NEW YORK - New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has been on the job for just over two months, but he says it has already changed his life.
“It’s a weight on your shoulders you feel it immediately,” Shea said. “It's an interesting schedule... yesterday I was shooting off emails at two in the morning. It’s 24 hours a day.”
In December, Shea succeeded former Commissioner James O’Neil, and since then he’s had his work cut out for him, dealing with a spike in shootings, robberies and burglaries in the city in January, along with a spoke in crimes being committed by and against teens.
One of those crimes was the shocking murder of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors, who police say was stabbed to death during a robbery. A 13-year-old boy has been charged so far in connection with the murder and police have also questioned two 14-year-olds taking DNA samples from at least one of them, however, they have not been arrested.
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There are media reports that rather than arresting the 14-year-olds, the District Attorney’s office is presenting the evidence to a grand jury to determine if the evidence is strong enough to make an arrest.
In the hopes of preventing cases like Majors’, Shea has launched a strategy to help cut down on teenage crime.
“It’s about helping people,” Shea said. “It’s not just putting handcuffs and chasing robbers around. It’s about changing people’s lives.”
Shea’s idea is for the NYPD’s youth coordination officers at every precinct to work directly with parents, clergy and city agencies to intervene when a teenager is heading down the wrong path.