The 49th Precinct’s captain Keith Walton was promoted to deputy inspector.
“It was a dream come true,” said Walton. “You feel all the hard work and sacrifice really paid off and strong support from the upper echelon of the department and the community comes through.”
Walton, 44, said serving as a member of law enforcement is something he has wanted to do since he was a youngster.
“I remember being on a train going to Brooklyn and I saw this woman crying and the feeling of wanting to help her was resonating in me,” he said. “ Even when I was as young as the second grade my interest peaked due to my personal experience with police and how they helped people and more specifically my family in times of need.”
Walton recalled a tragedy when he was child where the police were a help to his family.
“My sister died at only a couple months old as a result of crib death [otherwise known as sudden infant death syndrome],” said the Harlem native. “ The police helped and the overall experience and support and professionalism and how caring they were with the family made it a lot easier on my family to deal with the tragedy.”
Walton had his first experience in connection with the NYPD as a member of the Cadet Corp in 1994.
On July 18, 1996 he officially became a police officer.
Walton remembers being “totally elated” because he had been looking forward to the transition from cadet to officer.
Although he is transitioning to a higher position in the department, Walton doesn’t believe the way in which he serves the community will change.
“At the moment I plan on continuing to work hand in hand with and being available for the community,” he said.
Walton said one of his dreams is to one day be the chief of Community Affairs.
“I’d like to take the experiences I have had on a more local level and take that with me as I hope to help not just one area or precinct but the city as a whole,” he said.
Throughout the country there has been a tension between the police and the African American community.
As recently as last week an NYPD officer shot and killed Deborah Danner – a 66-year old African-American women with a history of mental illness – who was swinging a baseball bat at an officer.
Walton, an African American, said whenever he is around discussions concerning police and community relations he tries to remind people to converse with respect.
“Regardless of opinions there are three outcomes; agree, disagree, and agree to disagree and the bottom line for all three is the foundation of respect,” he said.
“People are always going to have opinions of the police and they are entitled to them, but I always say to people to look within themselves and try to be as impartial as they can,” he concluded.