2016-09-28 / Features

Queens North New Top Cop Charts History

By Liz Goff
Northern Queens’ new top cop is highly regarded as a hard taskmaster with a large heart – and a family legacy of service to the people of New York City.

Newly appointed Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes was sworn in as commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North on September 19, making her the first black female NYPD borough commander in the history of New York City.

Holmes, the former head of the NYPD Domestic Violence unit, replaces outgoing Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti, who commanded the Queens North Patrol Borough for more than nine years.

New Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he has promoted Pizzuti to NYPD Chief of Personnel based on the “tremendous job” she has done in her more than 35-years on the job.

Holmes, who was herself, a victim of domestic violence, brought a sense of urgency to the Domestic Violence Unit at a time when advocates were crying out for new and more effective help for victims.

“Deputy Chief Holmes made a lot of people aware of what abuse victims go through,” a police source said. “She put faces to the victims and helped countless victims take back their lives without fear of reprisal,” the source said. “It takes someone with a big heart and lots of compassion to feel the pain these victims experience, and Chief Holmes has a big heart.”

Holmes is one of a family of 13 siblings who grew up in Queens. Joining New York’s Finest was a family affair for Holmes, whose four sisters were also NYPD officers.

Holmes also served stints as Executive Officer at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and at the NYPD Training Bureau before coming to the Queens North Borough Command.

Fellow cops describe Holmes as “a woman who is never afraid to speak the truth, when the truth needs to be spoken.” She once testified on the city’s behalf during a civil trial on the NYPD’s use of its stop-and-frisk policy, which she described as “a proactive tool that can help stop crimes before they can occur.”

As commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, Holmes will oversee activities of commanders, supervisors, police officers and non-police personnel at the 104th (Ridgewood,), 108th (Long Island City,) 109th (Flushing,)) 110th (Elmhurst,) 111th (Bayside,) 112th (Forest Hills,) 114th (Astoria/LIC) and 115th (Jackson Heights) Precincts – an area that includes the most ethnically diverse communities in New York City.

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