Da Brown Fetes Nypd Chief of Department

Honored During Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown presented last Thursday, Feb. 20, the 2014 William Tucker Garvin Public Service Award to NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown honored NYPD Chief of Department Philip A. Banks III during the chief prosecutor’s Black History Ceremony last week in Kew Gardens. Brown presented Banks with the William Tucker Garvin Public Service Award, named for the first African-American prosecutor appointed to serve Queens County. Brown is pictured at the podium while Banks stands in the background at right. Seated in the foreground at left is Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The William Tucker Garvin Public Service Award was established in 2001 when Brown held a ceremony to honor the memory of Garvin, the first African-American assistant district attorney appointed in Queens County. Since then, the award has been presented annually during Black History Month to an individual of African-American heritage in recognition of his or her notable contributions to public service.

“William Tucker Garvin was an individual of courage and tenacity willing to work hard to achieve his goals. His accomplishments and service to others were exemplary. In choosing to live a life with purpose in public service-and as the first African- American assistant district attorney here in Queens-he paved the way for others to follow in his footsteps,” Brown said. “This year’s Garvin Award recipient, Philip Banks III, has also dedicated his life to public service and to the betterment of the City in which he was born and raised, and more importantly, its people. Chief Banks has long been hailed for his successful efforts in building relationships between the NYPD and the communities it serves, particularly in enhancing the lives of young people and steering them away from crime. We are grateful for his service. “

Chief Banks was born in Brooklyn and later moved to Queens. He is the son of a police officer. He earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration at Lincoln University and graduated from the Police Management Institute at Columbia University. He attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Banks joined the NYPD in July 1986 and rose steadily through the ranks, including serving in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South and as Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, before being appointed to his current position-the highest ranking uniformed officer in the department -last March by former Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. He is the 37th individual and the second African-American to hold the prestigious post, which prior to 1973 was known as the chief of operations and before that as chief inspector.

In addition, Banks was the precinct commander in three different precincts. He served a stint in the Harbor Unit. He became chief of the Community Affairs Bureau in 2010. His responsibilities there included School Safety and the Juvenile Justice Divisions, as well as new immigrant outreach and crime prevention programs.

Banks has earned a reputation not only as an outstanding field commander and manager of police personnel and operations but also as a bridge builder to the community, according to Brown. He is a strong advocate-and a pioneer-of the Saturday Nights Lights basketball program, in which youths ages 11 to 18 participate in a supervised basketball program on weekend nights which are high-risk times for juvenile crime.

The program now exists in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is expected to expand to Queens. It is a program that Chief Banks has said teaches young people to believe in themselves.

“Once young people believe in themselves, you don’t have to teach them anything else. They take it from there,” said Banks.

The Garvin Award was presented at a reception in the District Attorney’s third-floor conference room at his office in Kew Gardens and attended by Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, members of the Garvin family, numerous judges, public officials and assistant district attorneys.

Garvin was born on Nov. 28, 1898, in South Carolina. Upon graduating from Orangeburg State College in South Carolina, he moved to Manhattan, where he worked in the Post Office while attending law school. He graduated from St. John’s University Law School in 1931 as one of two of the first African- American graduates from the Law School.

He went on to establish a civil practice in Harlem and later moved to Queens where, in 1943, he was appointed by the Queens borough president to serve on local School Board 50-the first African- American to hold that position.

Garvin was appointed as an Assistant DistrictAttorney on Jan. 1, 1952, and he retired after a distinguished career in July 1966, one month prior to his death. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens.

Previous recipients of the Garvin Award have included former Mayor David M. Dinkins, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, former Queens Administrative Judge Leslie G. Leach, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, former Gov. David Paterson, former Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, former Queens County Borough President Helen M. Marshall and Queens County ExecutiveAssistant DistrictAttorney Jesse J. Sligh.