Figure revealed at a City Council hearing detailed the racial makeup of the New York Police Department's top command and underlined the challenges of maintaining a large urban police force whose members reflect the racial makeup of the city they patrol. The New York Times said the new figures show that the number of blacks among the roughly 700 officers who make up the department's top tier – in the ranks of captain and higher – has remained unchanged from 2002 through 2007: 28.
Despite that stagnation, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly says he has promoted blacks in greater numbers and at a faster pace than he has promoted members of any other racial or ethnic group. As a rule, civil service exams control promotions up to the rank of captain. Promotions above the rank of captain are discretionary, and Kelly uses the pool of captains to staff his executive corps, from deputy inspector up to chief. Today, more than 50 percent of the blacks in the upper tier are in the discretionary ranks above captain: of the 28 blacks in the rank of captain and above, 12 are captains and 16 are in higher-ranking positions. Of the 48 Hispanics in the rank of captain and above, 32 are captains and 16 are at higher ranks. For Asian-American officers, 8 are captains and 3 rank above captain.