Cornwall College alumnus heads NYPD Special Victims Unit

Cornwall College alumnus heads NYPD Special Victims Unit

BY ONOME SIDO
Observer West writer

Thursday, September 10, 2020

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Montego Bay native Michael King was recently installed as the commander-in-chief of New York City's Special Victims Unit, a position that allows him oversight of sex crime investigations in New York City, which has a population of over 8.3 million people.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) formally announced King's appointment to the high-profile post last Thursday. He replaces Judith Harrison.

King describes the appointment as “an amazing honour and privilege”.

“ The NYPD Special Victims Division is a world renowned investigative unit and being in charge of this division will give me a voice and a platform to be able to fight for the rights of women and abused children in a city of over 8 million people,” King told the Jamaica Observer West, adding that “I have worked my entire career for this moment and now that it's finally here, it's surreal.”

King, who completed his secondary education at Cornwall College in 1991, migrated shortly afterwards to join his father who lived in the United States.

“I attended and graduated from Cornwall College in Montego Bay. I thoroughly enjoyed growing up in Jamaica. I met lifelong friends, enjoyed the culture and the people. Cornwall College advocated education and discipline which prepared me for the world,” he said.

He told the Observer West that he migrated to the New York in August 1991 because his father wanted him attend college there, arguing then that “the US has significantly more opportunities than I could've had back home”.

The newly installed commander in chief of New York City's Special Victims Unit is not only a veteran police investigator with over 20 years of experience, but also a forensic nurse and a sexual assault forensic examiner who has conducted physical examinations and evidence collection vital to solving respective cases.

As he carries out his new role, King told Observer West that “my immediate priority is to ensure that all investigators assigned to the Special Victims Division are open-minded, non-judgmental and empathetic investigations with a customer service-oriented mindset.”

And with the sensitive nature of the ongoing Black Lives Matter campaign in the United States, King was asked by the Observer West how he felt about being a black man with such power at this time.

“I feel as if I am a definite role model whether it was my intention or not. I don't look at myself as having power. What I do consider is the fact that my position gives me the opportunity to fight for the rights of women/victims in a manner that I couldn't before, in a manner that is definitely needed,” he responded.

He further noted that domestic violence is also something he is targeting as he believes that women are God's greatest creation.

King's list of achievements before his recent appointment includes an undergraduate degree in business administration with a minor in biology, a paramedic, a forensic nurse and a police officer who has over the years earned several promotions.

“I was also a first responder to the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack in September of 2001. In September of 2016, I responded to the Chelsea Bombing terrorist attack in Manhattan and was in charge of forensically processing that scene along with the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. Two weeks later, I was promoted to the rank of deputy inspector and reassigned to the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Taskforce as the executive officer and deputised United States Marshal. I remained in that position for three years until when I was appointed as the new commanding officer of the NYPD Special Victims Division,” King disclosed.

He urged the Jamaican youth to focus on education stressing that it is the key to success.

“Education is indeed the key to success; they must always remember that we are from a great people and as Jamaicans we can achieve anything in life as long as they dream it, always remain focused on it, and maintain a self-motivated drive to obtain it,” he argued.

“Even though I have been away from my homeland for almost 30 years, I continue to represent my country and its people, for I was, I am and will forever be a son of Jamaica.”


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