NYPD chief, Lincoln alumnus Banks motivates students

By Briana McKellery

The Lincolnian

Phillip Banks III, an alumnus of The Lincoln University and now New York City police chief, encouraged students Thursday to never lose sight of their objectives.Phillip Banks III, NYPD

“You have to have a goal or a plan, because you’ll never know if you’re off track,” Banks said at this morning’s convocation at the International Cultural Center.

Banks said he believes Lincoln University shaped him into the man that he is today. He often draws on his Lincoln education because he learned so much here, he said.

Banks graduated from Lincoln University with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration. He met his wife here; she is also a Lincoln graduate.

Banks also graduated from the Police Management Institute of Columbia University in 2001.

Banks joined the police force in 1986 and moved up in the ranks over the years with his compassion, diligence and hard work to become the head law enforcement officer of the city of New York.

Banks said he was thrilled when President Jennings asked him to speak at Lincoln.

“From the bottom my heart, this is the most humbling invitation I’ve received yet,” Banks said. “Coming back to my alma mater meant so much to me.”

He said he came to Lincoln as most students do, full of confidence and ambition.

“I grew up at Lincoln. I thought I knew it all at age 17 when I first stepped on campus, but in my four years at Lincoln University I learned a lot that I had no idea about,” he said.

As he does, students will continue to refer to what they learned at Lincoln, Banks told them.

“You will draw back to Lincoln University throughout your life,” Banks said.

He then went on to talk more about his career and how he got to where he is today.

“I worked the majority of my career on patrol and in precincts in Brooklyn,” he said. “I am proud of my career. I currently now make 90 percent of the decisions in NYPD. It’s a responsibility that I understand, and do it with compassion, dignity, and care. I learned that from Lincoln.”

Banks told students that in life there are people who will always be less fortunate than them, or they may even be the less fortunate one to others. But in all they do, students should maintain a humble, compassionate, dignified and caring attitude, he said.

He said he believes that he learned these characteristics from his time at Lincoln. He also learned the responsibilities of holding a position of power.

“How you handle that responsibility is going to speak loudly on who you are,” Banks said.

When asked what has been the proudest moment of his career, Banks replied, “In all my encounters, there’s not one person that can say I treated them disrespectful and that I did not treat them with dignity.”

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