“For the new officers coming in, the names of Chief Nelson and Chief Monaghan will be legends throughout time,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo. “When you started 34,41 years ago, New York City was a very different place. Administration after administration has taken credit for the work you’ve done, but I know the work that you have done over the years is what built communities.”
Borough President Eric Adams also commended the police chiefs’ roles in helping turn the tides of violence and high crime rates that plagued the city for years, and were at peaks when the officers joined the force.
“Whenever you called their offices they were extremely responsive,” he said. “Look at the statistics; decreases in rapes, stabbings, assaults.”
Officials commended the chiefs not just for their law enforcement records, but for the character they demonstrated throughout their careers. Personal anecdotes were aplenty.
“I met Chief Nelson before I was an elected official, when I was just a young kid,” said Councilman Stephen Levin. “The professionalism, the courtesy, the respect he showed me as a citizen, as a civilian, as a kid, I’ll always remember that. He showed that to everyone.”
“Little did I know in junior high school that Gerald Nelson would grow up to be chief of Brooklyn North,” said Dr. Cheryl Anthony of Brooklyn’s JUDAH International Christian Center. “Maybe I would have been a little nicer.”
Nelson retired on February 13, exiting his precinct to crowds of cheering colleagues and local residents. He is succeeded by Jeffrey Madrey, who Adams called “a steady hand” on Thursday.
Monaghan, who has been appointed vice president of Security for the MTA, will start his new position in March. His replacement has not been named.
“This is very bittersweet,” said Monaghan. “There’s no better place than Brooklyn.”
Chief Nelson said too that Thursday’s ceremony was bittersweet, but that his first week of retirement wasn’t been too bad either.
“It’s been a long road, and it’s time to go,” he said after the ceremony. “Being chief you get used to the phone going off every night. But guess what, I can get used to the silence.”