Meet the New NYPD Transportation Bureau Chief — Kim Royster

File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
kim royster
New Transportation Bureau Chief Kim Royster. Photo: NYPD

A former NYPD spokeswoman who most recently served as the number two of the community affairs bureau has been picked by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to run the agency’s crucial Transportation Bureau.

Assistant Chief Kim Royster — known to generations of reporters for her work in the agency’s press shop — replaces retiring acting transportation chief Nilda Hofmann, who was serving after the COVID-19 death of Chief William Morris in June.

It is unclear what makes the well-liked Royster the perfect pick to head the Transportation Bureau (Shea did not speak to that when he announced her appointment on Thursday).

Here is her unedited bio from the NYPD press shop:

Kim Y. Royster
Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster began her career with the New York City Police Department in January 1985 as a Police Administrative Aide. She was sworn in as a Police Officer in July 1987, and was assigned to the 13 Precinct. She was promoted to Detective in March 1992; Sergeant in October 1997; Sergeant Special Assignment in December 2001; Lieutenant in April 2002; Captain in August 2006; Deputy Inspector in August 2009; Inspector in March 2012; Deputy Chief in October 2013; and Assistant Chief in August 2015.

She has served in the Police Academy, the 5 and 13 Precincts, the 7 Precinct Detective Squad, Patrol Borough Manhattan South, the Office of Management Analysis and Planning, Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI), Detective Borough Manhattan, Detective Borough Brooklyn, the Intelligence Division, the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Criminal Justice Bureau. Assistant Chief Royster most recently served as Executive Officer of the Community Affairs Bureau. She has previously served as Commanding Officer of the Manhattan South Investigations Unit and of the Public Information Division.

She has also commanded and served as the Executive Officer of the 5 Precinct. While assigned to DCPI, the office received a Unit Citation for outstanding performance in 2011 for the coordination of media coverage/requests of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and the President’s historical visit to the 1 Precinct and Ground Zero.

Also during her tenure at DCPI, the Department developed official social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and the NYPD iPhone application. Assistant Chief Royster holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from St. Joseph’s College and is a 2011 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University. She is the third African American woman to hold the rank of deputy chief and the first to have held the rank of assistant chief in NYPD history.

The NYPD’s Transportation Bureau is a critical link to the Department of Transportation on Vision Zero issues, and is constantly touted by DOT officials as a partner in the city’s effort to reduce road violence. The underfunded Collision Investigation Squad, which does not investigate thousands of crashes per year due to limited staffing, is part of the Transportation Bureau. The CIS is considered by activists to be a missed opportunity because its detectives’ findings are not available to the public and its investigations don’t directly lead to changes in street design that could lead to fewer crashes.

It is unclear if that is actually the case, given the number of times the media has called out NYPD for practices that are counter to Vision Zero (a summary is here). In his brief time at the top of the transportation bureau, Morris defended the NYPD’s SUV buying spree and touted a crackdown on reckless drivers that amounted to more or less nothing.

Royster has been a rising star in the department for years. In 2015, when she was promoted to chief, she became the highest ranking Black woman in the department’s history.

The NYPD did not respond to an initial request for information and a second request for Streetsblog to interview Royster. We will update this story when we hear back.