CBS2’s Tony Aiello spoke with the commissioner who retired Friday morning and the man who replaced him that afternoon.
After a warm applause, there were heartfelt embraces for John Mueller, who joined the Yonkers Police in 1994 and retired after 28 years on the job, including three as commissioner.
A citywide police broadcast paid tribute during Mueller’s walkout ceremony.
“John J. Mueller has rendered honorable and efficient service to the Yonkers Police Department,” the radio announcement said.
“Oh, he was awesome. He was the people’s police officer. He made sure that everyone was comfortable. He understood the dynamic of the job,” City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy said.
Collins-Bellamy said Mueller led a department that improved community relations while driving down crime with precision policing, such at the Street Crime Task Force.
Last week’swas just the fourth shooting in Yonkers so far in 2022.
Major crime is down 45 percent in 10 years.
“The community wants to be safe, but the community also wants to be secure in how we keep them safe. So, we can’t have them afraid of us either. So, what you see here with all our community members, is they’re not afraid of us and they shouldn’t be afraid of us,” Mueller said.
Mueller hugged Deputy Chief Chris Sapienza just hours before Mayor Mike Spano nominated the 27-year Yonkers Police veteran as new commissioner, pending City Council approval.
“We’re definitely looking towards a more diverse police department, and that’s a priority for me, and as far as strategies, I do believe in community-based policing,” Sapienza said.
Sapienza is viewed as quiet and thoughtful, but tough. He’s a combat decorated Marine veteran.
As for Mueller, his retirement will probably be short-lived. He’s expected to take an executive position with MTA Police.