NYPD appoints first female highway unit commander

Deputy Inspector LaShonda Dyce is the first woman and first African American to be appointed to the position

Rocco Parascandola
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The NYPD’s new leader of the pack may not be a biker, but the 17-year police veteran is blazing trails.

Deputy Inspector LaShonda Dyce is the new commanding officer of one of the department’s four highway units - the first African-American woman to hold the post in the agency’s 175 year history.

Newly appointed Highway 1 Commander, Lashonda Dyce, 38, photographed inside Highway 1 Headquarters, in the Bronx, N.Y.
Newly appointed Highway 1 Commander, Lashonda Dyce, 38, photographed inside Highway 1 Headquarters, in the Bronx, N.Y. (Photo/TNS)

“Somebody has to do the job,” Dyce said. “If a man can do it why can’t an African-American woman do it, the same job, if not even better?”

Dyce, 38, was admittedly a little apprehensive when she was offered the gig.

"I knew that this was a male-dominated unit, to say the very least,” Dyce explained. “But I thought about it and I said, ‘Why not?’ Other women need to see we can have a voice in a male-dominated unit.”

Of the 36,380 cops on the force, only 6,719, or 18% are women. In Highway 1, which spans Manhattan and the Bronx, only three of the 80 officers assigned are women.

Dyce turned heads in her highway uniform at her first TrafficStat meeting at One Police Plaza, to discuss accidents and injuries.

“A lot of people were just stunned to see me,” she said. “For the mere fact I’m an African-American woman, I’m a deputy inspector and I have on the highway uniform. And I’m talking about people who work for the NYPD.”

No one may be more stunned than Dyce, who was not a fan of police when she was a kid.

After seeing her mother get mugged at gunpoint in the subway when she was 5, it took what felt like forever for cops to respond.

“That left a bad taste in my mouth,” she said. "It wasn’t until I became a police cadet and, working with them, I saw a different side.”

Once on the job, Dyce decided early on that she wanted to be a supervisor and passed promotional tests for sergeant, lieutenant and captain, the last of which led her to run the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn. It was the first time a woman headed up that command.

The rank of deputy inspector, Dyce noted, is her first discretionary promotion, not based on any test score.

Now that she’s at Highway 1 with motorcycle cops, Dyce, who does not ride, looks forward to going through what officers call “wheel school” and hopes to lead a presidential or dignitary escort some day.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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