James O’Neill formally stepped down as NYPD commissioner in a City Hall press briefing on Monday afternoon, leaving after three years in the post for a private-sector gig.
“I came into this job with one mission, and that was to fight crime and keep everybody safe,” said O’Neill. “And we did it, and we continue to do it.”
Despite speaking frankly about the stresses of helming the nation’s largest police department for three years since Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped him in September 2016, O’Neill said that he doesn’t leave the department easily.
“I’m gonna miss it,” said O’Neill, who took a moment during his remarks to name each of the Finest who died of line-of-duty injuries on his watch. “I love being a cop.”
Long-swirling whispers of O’Neill’s eyeing the door resurfaced Monday morning, but were confirmed this time as the real deal, first by department sources and soon by City Hall.
O’Neill would say only that he’d received an offer of a private-sector job he “couldn’t pass up” — but law-enforcement sources told The Post that he has a gig lined up in California.
Ahead of the briefing, de Blasio acknowledged in a statement that O’Neill was calling it a career, and named Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea as his successor atop the department, effective December 1.