The commissioner, Daniel Nigro, struck the right tone at his appointment ceremony last week when he promised to end racial injustice in a department with more than 15,000 employees. “We must no longer wait for a judge’s ruling to tell us what fairness means,” he said. “We must get out front. We must point the way to change.” He also acknowledged that integrating the department — which is about 83 percent white in a majority-minority city — would be “a great challenge.”
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Mr. Nigro clearly knows the department from the ground up. He joined in 1969 and took over the command of rescue operations on Sept. 11, 2001, when the chief of the department was killed at the World Trade Center. His long experience gives him instant credibility with the rank-and-file. It will not be easy to end discrimination in a department that has been a bastion of white male privilege for nearly 150 years. (link)