Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. — Paul DiGiacomo, President

The DEA Honor Roll

Official Line of Duty Deaths

Shantay L. Neal-Baker

Rank: Detective

Shield Number: 7488

Command: Risk Mitigation Division

Date of Death: 08/14/2021

Cause of Death: COVID-19

Shantay L. Neal-Baker was born in New York City, the seventh of eleven children. Her large, loving family was seeped in community and faith. Her first pastors were her parents, the late Rev. Ollie Neal and Judy Neal. Shantay earned her associate’s degree in business management and her bachelors of science degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Passionate about singing, Shantay spent her life making music: in church, and with family and friends, and she was often a member of a choir or a singing group. One of her favorite pastimes was karaoke, along with movie trivia and travelling with friends.

Destined for public service, Shantay first worked as an NYPD Police Communications Technician before appointment to the force on July 22, 2002. She served in a number of commands, including Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, the 73 Precinct, 90 Precinct, the  Employee Management Division, and the Performance Analysis Section’s Civilian Monitoring Unit, where she directed and advised members of the service on a multitude of issues, including New York State disciplinary guidelines.

Shantay earned her gold shield on February 24, 2017. Her final command was in the Risk Mitigation Division, where she passed away from the coronavirus on August 14, 2021, during the international pandemic and shortly before her 43rd birthday.

She was survived by her mother, her husband, retired Det. Jeff Baker, their three children, her siblings and other members of her large family. Det. Neal-Baker served as a coordinator, planner, and facilitator of her family’s reunions. She was also an officer of the Policewoman’s Endowment Association and a member of the Guardians. She handled peer support for the NYPD’s Health and Wellness Section, and was deeply involved with many charity events, especially those to combat Lupus, a disease from which she suffered and which compromised her immune system.

Her warm smile, generous spirit, friendly persona, and perseverance earned Det. Shantay Neal-Baker the nickname “Ms. Sunshine.” Det. Neal-Baker is buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Archer, Florida in Alachua County. In her memory, her sister Trina created “Tay Day,” a Lupus Awareness Walk and Empowerment Initiative to battle the disease. Det. Shantay Neal-Baker was posthumously honored by the DEA, the FOP, and the ACES of the NYPD, who named her the 2022 “Uniformed Member of the Year.”


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