LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA – Dignity, compassion and care are values and principles that Lincoln Alum and New York City Police Chief Philip Banks ’84 says he cherishes, and stressed should guide students’ lives and careers.
Banks, who addressed students, faculty and staff during yesterday’s all-university convocation at The Lincoln University’s International Cultural Center, discussed his Lincoln experience, law enforcement career and offered advice and life lessons to students.
“It’s (my Lincoln experience) the most significant experience I ever had in my life,” Banks said. “It has shaped me into the man I am today. When things get rocky, it always draws me back to my time at Lincoln (for inspiration).”
Banks, a 1984 graduate of The Lincoln University, where he became a member of the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., joined the NYPD in July 1986 on patrol in Precinct 81. He was promoted to Sergeant in March 1994; Lieutenant in May 1997; Captain in September 1999; Deputy Inspector in June 2001; Inspector in December 2003; Deputy Chief in December 2006; Assistant Chief in June 2009 and Chief of Community Affairs in July 2010.
Before being appointed Chief of Community Affairs in July 2010, Chief Banks also served as Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan North and also commanded the 79th, 81st and Central Park precincts. He also served as Executive Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, and of the 73rd Precinct.
Banks, who is married with three children, emphasized that how one treats others is critical not only in his job and life, but essential to each student’s success.
“The responsibility to deal with dignity, compassion and care,” Banks said, “I learned that from (The) Lincoln University. Someday, you (students) are going to be in a position of power and control. That’s a responsibility that cannot be given to you. You’ll have to earn it and how you handle that responsibility is going to speak loudly to whom you are and the person you are going to become.”
Banks, a 2001 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University, more recently completed advanced management training for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Executive Leaders Program in Counterterrorism at the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security, in Monterey, California.
“You have to have compassion and understanding for your fellow man because there will always be someone else less fortunate than yourself and you will always be less fortunate than someone else,” he added. ‘No one got to where they are by themselves.”
Anthony Ray, a senior Computer Science major, who attended the convocation, agreed.
“That’s a great moral belief (about dignity, compassion and care) in terms of Karma because it impacts what opportunities may end up available to you,” Ray said. “When I am in a position of power, I plan to use it as an opportunity to give back if I can.”
Banks, who offered advice on setting goals and having a plan, also didn’t shy away from questions about such contentious issues as stop and frisk policies, profiling and the criminal justice system at large.
“I’ve arrested a lot of people over the years and I can say that everyone I’ve arrested deserved to be arrested, but after while it wears on you,” he said referring to the arrests of African American males. “It’s a flawed system and that’s the criminal justice system. It doesn’t rehabilitate. It cultivates you into that lifestyle.”
The Lincoln University, founded in 1854 as the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), combines the elements of a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate curriculum along with select graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly-technological and global society. Today, the University enrolls a diverse student body of approximately 2,000 men and women. Internationally recognized for preparing and producing world class leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Lillian Fishburne, the first African American woman promoted to Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Langston Hughes, the noted poet, Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria.
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