She went from high school student — to police commissioner.
At least for a day.
Beyonce Dennis, an 18-year-old senior at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, was chosen for the honorary role Wednesday from more than 100 students, all of whom were asked to write essays discussing what they see as being the “most critical issue” in their neighborhood, and what they would do to address it.
She temporarily “took over” for Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, who lightheartedly addressed the crowd at Police Headquarters during the 11 a.m. event.
“This is one of the most favorite things I do every year… PC for a fay — let’s me take a day off,” he quipped at the teen.
“Beyonce, you’re in trouble,” he joked. “There’s a couple people I want you to talk to. They need to go, so you might have to do it today, alright?…No pressure.”
Dennis, who lives in the Soundview section of the Bronx, penned in her winning essay that as top cop, she “would take steps to try and reduce intra-community violence, and improve police community relations.”
“I feel that the response of police officers to a crime has consequences not only for the victim and aggressor, but also the entire community on the whole,” the wise-beyond-her-years student wrote.
“If I had the opportunity to become Police Commissioner for a day, I would promote a criminal justice system based on restorative justice, which emphasizes the rehabilitation of offenders as well as the restoration of the victims and community.”
Restorative justice “focuses on repairing relationships after a crime has been committed by having the two parties sit down to discuss the harm that was done, the guilty party makes amends for the crime and in the end it involves the reintegration of both parties into the community,” the essay further reads.
Dennis, who was joined at Police Headquarters by her mother, has utilized the approach in her own work as a trained peer mediator and a peer leader at her school.
She over 140 others were sworn in at Wednesday’s ceremony before taking tours of specialized units and being assigned to their new roles within the police department, which ranged from commissioner to precinct captain.