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Photos courtesy of Junior Mekinda

Another milestone in the African community has been marked by the new appointment of Olufunmilola Obe as Harlem’s NYPD 28th Precinct deputy inspector.

She was celebrated Friday, June 13, by the African community in New York City at Harriet Tubman Learning Center in Harlem. Obe, originally from Nigeria, is not only the first African but African woman to receive the position.

Many came and spoke great words of encouragement for her and the community.

“It’s easy to get the position, but its hell to do the job we need to make sure that we stay committed with our cooperation in making her successful. She’s gonna need her back to be covered by us,” said Sen. Bill Perkin, urging the community to do more than just celebrate Obe, but be of help to her in the community.

Some even offered her the anticipated support she will need as the deputy inspector.

“I’m going to give you my support because the hardest part starts now, and when it get hard you can always call me and I’ll be there,” said Willie Walker.

The night ended with the guest of honor speaking after being introduced by Lietutenant, Dr.  Sorle Diih to those in attendance. Obe was very gracious and full of her own words of encouragement during her moment to speak.

“These are the things I know for sure, one, with God everything is possible,” said Obe. “We all have to have a support system in place. I have my husband, my family.”

The twenty year veteran continued, “hard work pays off in the long run… also having mentors.”

She gave thanks to all of those who work with her at the NYPD 28th Precinct and even gave perspective on what it means to be a police officer and Nigerian.

“The perception of police back in Africa is people usually don’t tell their children to join the police department,” said Obe as she began to tell her story about being in Nigeria on a visit a few years back. She explains that due to the crime and poverty in Nigeria there are checkpoints all over the city and the police carry AK47 guns and take bribes from people to go through the checkpoints.

“Lola, I didn’t send you to America to become a police officer,” said Obe as she also talked about her mother’s response when she first wanted to become a police officer due to the perception of  the job in Nigeria.

The NYPD, on the other hand, has been a foundation for Obe since her time in college up until this point in her successful career. She’s already comfortable and enjoying her new position in Harlem.

“I felt at home… I’m very, very comfortable and very, very happy to serve in this community, thank you for having me.”

The night also included performances by the New York African Chorus Ensemble, led by Joyce Adewumi and was hosted by Stephanie Arthur and Bukola Shonuga throughout the night, followed by dinner and cake.

 

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