NYPD lieutenant reflects on her drive, determination as leader of a detective squad
An NYPD lieutenant who is the first woman and first Black woman in command at the detective squad in the 46th Precinct reflects on what drives her and what her dreams are for women.
Lt. Rennae Francis was handpicked for the position last spring by now NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison.
"It was a little hard for me because I was different, but I've always been different and I feel my differences played a role in where I am and like I say the job has embraced me," says Francis.
Francis immigrated to New York City from the small island of Dominica at age 17 to study forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She joined the NYPD cadet corps to help pay for school and rent.
Francis was appointed to her latest role at a time when officers were out sick due to COVID-19. She saw an uptick in violence in the Bronx.
"It was hard for me to see the violence being done against Black and brown people because I felt that could be me, it could be my sister, my brother or my family even though they don't live here, I still consider the people in the community I serve like family. It was hard especially at a time when they're still trying to dodge COVID," says Francis.
Francis has a respect for community policing and treating the people she serves like family.
"You have to treat members of the community like they're your family and I hope you wouldn't treat members of your family poorly, and just like you have fights with your family, just like they say things you don't like, you've got to take that on the chin," says Francis. "You have to know that people get emotional because they've dealt with a lot in the past. If you can't put yourself in someone else's shoes and if you can't see why people are angry and are hurting then you need to exit yourself from this position, then maybe this isn't your calling."
Francis says she's here to be a part of all changes that deal with police reform, representation and equality. Her squad had one of the highest clearance rates of violence in the entire city.
The lieutenant says she is excited for what the future holds for women in the NYPD and everywhere.
"Martin Luther King had a dream, and I have a dream too, I'm sure you do too," says Francis. "And my dream is to wake up at whatever age I am and not be surprised when I look around and see females in high positions. Let's normalize female executives. Let's normalize Black executives."