CIVIC CENTER — Three groups representing Latino members of the NYPD urged the mayoral candidates Sunday to consider hiring First Deputy Police Commissioner Rafael Pineiro as the city's next top cop.
"[Pineiro] has four decades of experience, the credentials, the academic background, and is the most qualified person in the department," said Dennis Gonzalez, president of the NYPD Hispanic Society.
About two dozen police officers convened in front of One Police Plaza to introduce their candidate and denounced the absence of any Latino from the mayoral candidates' rumored shortlists of possible leaders to succeed to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Pineiro, who is currently the first deputy police commissioner, would be the first Latino commissioner of the NYPD, organizers said.
With a department made up of 9,400 Latino police officers and 2,500 Hispanic civil members of the service, Latinos make up more than a quarter of the NYPD overall, Gonzalez said.
"We've had police commissioners of different races, [but] we've not had a Latino police commissioner," said Johnny Ramirez, 46, who has been working as police officer in the NYPD for 26 years.
"The city of New York has a large Hispanic community and has had that since the 1950s, so I do believe the time has come for the city to have a Latino police commissioner."
Several mayoral candidates have said they'd replace Kelly, who has been in office since 2002.
On his campaign's website, de Blasio accuses Kelly of being "the architect of overuse-and-abuse of stop-and-frisk" and the Democratic candidate has said he would dump Kelly.
De Blasio also praised Bill Bratton, the former chief of police of the LAPD, as "the architect of community policing," leading to speculations that Bratton could be his hire.
De Blasio's campaign said the candidate is solely focused on the Nov. 5 general election and that he "looks forward to building an administration that reflects the diversity of New York City."
GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has stated that he would keep Kelly in the post if he wants to stay. If not, Lhota has said that Pineiro would be on his shortlist of picks.