Richard Shea at age 20 left Crettyard in Laois County, Ireland, in 1955 and came to New York. The next year he patriotically joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served for five years.
In 1960 he met and married a fellow Irish immigrant, Ellen Gallagher, who came from Sligo County, Ireland. They five children. Ellen, was a stay-at-home mom. Richard was both a laborer and bartender. They were living in a one-bedroom apartment where everyone slept in one room on bunk beds and parents slept on the living room couch.
In 1977 things as changed as they moved into a large, two-bedroom apartment at 45-38 42 St. in Sunnyside, a four-story, 20-unit building. The fourth of the five children, Dermot, born May 24, 1969, was a bright Xavier High School and SUNY Oneonta College grad who decided to take the Police Department test with his brother, James. Both were appointed probationary patrolmen in 1991.
Dermot married Serena Bullett the next year. A great test taker and straight arrow, he aced all promotional exams and ascended the NYPD ladder. On the day after Christmas 1995, his father and mentor, Richard, passed away of cancer at age 60.
On Nov. 4, 2019 it was announced that Dermot Francis Shea (a Republican) would become the 44th NYPD commissioner on Dec. 1. With Mayor-elect Eric Adams coming in soon everyone is wondering if he will stay or be replaced in the job.