One of the NYPD's highest ranking leaders and few top officers of color, Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo, abruptly retired on Tuesday afternoon, less than a year after being promoted to Chief of Patrol.
Sources say that his move came after friction with City Hall. His retirement will take effect in November. Update: Bill Neidhardt, mayoral press secretary, said in an evening statement, "Chief of Patrol Pichardo is a deeply respected leader in the NYPD and City Hall is continuing to have conversations with him regarding his future."
Pichardo joined the NYPD in 1999 and served as commanding officer of the 33rd and 43rd Precincts, as well as an Executive Officer in the Patrol Services Bureau, where he helped roll out the department's neighborhood policing initiative. He was promoted to Chief of Patrol in December 2019. In a statement confirming the retirement, the NYPD said Pichardo "was the first Chief of Patrol of Dominican heritage in NYPD history and has worked tirelessly in recent months to guide the men and women in uniform through a series of challenging issues that have strained the city and the agency."
Chief of Patrol oversees the Patrol Services Bureau, which the department describes as the "largest and most visible bureau in the NYPD, overseeing the majority of the department's uniformed officers on patrol." There are about 17,000 uniformed officers in the bureau.
The resignation comes after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea sent a memo to officers warning of “protests growing in size, frequency and intensity leading up to the election and likely into the year 2021."
A source familiar with Pichardo's and Mayor Bill de Blasio's relationship told Gothamist that the chief “always hated the mayor,” and and was “very much a ‘Leave NYPD alone’ kind of guy.”
Pichardo frequently got annoyed when City Hall questioned the department’s deployment strategies during the George Floyd protests earlier this year, the source added.
According to the Daily News and PIX 11, Pichardo decided to leave the NYPD after de Blasio chewed him out after he missed a call from the mayor while on a 36-hour shift in Borough Park during the protests last week.
No one was arrested during last week’s Borough Park protests. Over two nights, officers watched as journalists and bystanders were attacked repeatedly by a violent mob. Heshy Tischler, who led the protests, was arrested on Sunday night for inciting the October 7th riot.
NYPD officers with at least 20 years on the job are able to retire with a pension made up of their average take home pay plus overtime income from the past three years; that pension plus Social Security payments have enabled some officers to retire with funds equivalent to their annual salary.
With additional reporting from Yasmeen Khan