By Victor A. Rodriguez
Athletes, movie stars and musicians are typically those hailed and honored as heroes. There aren’t any awards shows for the everyday man who regularly and consistently plies his trade, provides for his family and/or serves his community. Yet, everyone knows showing up day in and day out and simply doing your job can be one of the toughest things to do. In 2018 a certain Fausto Pichardo made NYPD history for just that.
"He’s a great cop, but more importantly, he’s a great human being."
For over 19 years as member of the NYPD Fausto Pichardo served the Washington Heights community of New York City. In 2018 that grind it out work ethic resulted in Pichardo obtaining some of those aforementioned accolades and making NYPD history in the process. You see, in January of 2018 Fausto Pichardo became the first ever Dominican American to be promoted to a two-star chief in the NYPD. Surprisingly enough, a city as diverse as New York never had a Dominican American serve this post.
So just how did Pichardo get there? Born in the Dominican Republic in the province of Santiago de los Caballeros he moved to New York City permanently at the age of nine. He joined the NYPD in 1997 as a cadet and was employed at various commands in Manhattan and the Bronx. Slowly but surely rising the ranks to eventually serve as Executive Officer of the 28th Precinct and Commanding Officer of the 33rd and 43rd Precincts.
As Pichardo was ascending the ranks, a fellow countryman, Adriano Espaillat was making some history himself. Espaillat became the first Dominican to become a US Congressman. One of the goals of the newly minted House Representative was to ensure those at the highest levels of the New York police force were representative of the community they serve. As Police Commissioner O’Neill joked to the Manhattan News Times “Espaillat pestered him ‘about five million times’ about promoting a Dominican officer to Chief".
Then the Commissioner recalled Pichardo. A specific interaction in which Pichardo showed calm, poise and relatability in a hostile scenario. The promotion was a no brainer. Commissioner O’Neill told the Manhattan News Times that Pichardo’s promotion was a “special day” for the NYPD. “He’s a great cop, but more importantly, he’s a great human being.”
Since becoming Chief, Pichardo has sought wasted no time in fulfilling the mandate that he's been tasked with. In 2018 his precinct became to experiment with dual-language social media interactions. Running an official, bilingual social media account sending tweets about local crime and safety in both English and Spanish. The purpose to better and more fully inform the community the NYPD is serving.