Petition to Name Latino NYPD Deputy

Latinos make up the largest minority group in the NYPD. (Photo by Marlene Peralta via El Diario)

Latinos make up the largest minority group in the NYPD. (Photo by Marlene Peralta via El Diario)

The police department has yet to respond to a petition sent by several City Council members asking that another Hispanic be chosen as deputy commissioner, but leaders of the Latino unions in the department believe that there are several qualified candidates within the community. The position was held until now by Rafael Piñeiro, who was born in Spain and raised in Cuba.

“This is a civilian position,” said Dennis González, president of the NYPD Hispanic Society. “Commissioner Bratton can choose someone who is either currently active in the department or retired.” The detective added: “We are certain that there are enough qualified Hispanics to fill this position.”

Meanwhile, Edward Rodríguez, president of the New York Dominican Officers Organization, said: “We are grateful to have the support of Hispanic council members, and we would like to see a joint effort on the part of other elected officials.”

The petition signed by nine council members came after the surprising retirement of 65-year-old Deputy Commissioner Piñeiro, the highest-ranked Hispanic in the force. The request stems from an article published by El Diario featuring the low percentage of Latino officers in high ranks, despite being the largest minority within the institution with 27 percent of 34,451 members. It was sent to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last Friday.

In ranks above captain, decision-makers include only 10 percent of Hispanics, 7 percent of African Americans, and an overwhelming 80 percent of whites.

“It is important to have Latinos in positions where political decisions are made, and we certainly want to see a Latino sit at the table and represent us,” said González.

The letter was signed by Council member Antonio Reynoso and backed by Ydanis Rodríguez, Annabel Palma, Fernando Cabrera, María del Carmen Arroyo, Ritchie Torres, Rafael Espinal, Julissa Ferreras and Carlos Menchaca, and by other organizations in the city. Press offices for Council members Rodríguez and Reynoso confirmed yesterday that they have not received a reply from the NYPD.

With Piñeiro’s exit, the highest-ranked Latino in the department is Cuban-American Chief of Housing Carlos Gómez, in charge of security within NYCHA’s buildings.

“We definitely have qualified Latino members who could occupy the deputy commissioner seat, but they are currently assigned to lesser-known positions,” said Rodríguez. “What we need is to have the door opened to allow a better positioning for Hispanics.”

Last week, the office of Commissioner Bratton sent a press release saying that the NYPD is one of the most ethnically diverse departments in the country at every level, from its officers in uniform to its civilian personnel and its leadership, and that it is the department’s commitment to reflect the diversity of the city.

Read El Diario’s editorial advocating for a Latino NYPD Deputy Commissioner here (in English).

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