Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman announced last week that Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder will remain in his role once his administration officially takes over in January.
Blakeman, who addressed crime rates throughout the county during his campaign, praised Ryder for the work he has done since being appointed by the current county executive, Democrat Laura Curran, in 2018. Ryder, who was initially the acting commissioner under Curran’s predecessor, Edward Mangano, has been a member of the department since 1986, serving in a variety of roles and implementing programs aimed at prioritizing the safety of officers and the public.
“Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder will lead the police force under my new administration,” Blakeman said in a statement. “He shares my vision for intelligence-led policing and understands the need for reform of New York State laws that are endangering public safety statewide. Together, we’ll tackle crime and protect your family.”
“We were a great police department before police reform, we got better after police reform, and we’re going to continue to get better as we go forward,” Ryder said at a news conference. “My conversations with the new county executive-elect has already raised the bar. He wants more out of us working together as a team and I will do that with all of our newly appointed positions here.”
Earlier this year, Ryder announced that major crime in areas with Nassau County Police Department presence decreased by more than 20 percent since last year. Since 2011, Ryder said, major crime in Nassau County has decreased by 36 percent. A decade ago, Nassau saw 7,191 reports of major crime compared with 4,983 last year, Ryder said.
Despite Nassau County being ranked the safest county in America for the second consecutive year, according to U.S. News & World Report, Blakeman said in a Newsday event in October that the publication only took the “spoonfed” statistics from the county and said they were not reflective of what really happened over the past year, due to the pandemic.
Blakeman also said his experience working on homeland security programs as a Port Authority board member qualified him to combat crime. He has been a critic of bail reform laws in the state, implemented in 2020, that eliminated cashless bail for most nonviolent crimes and misdemeanors.
Nassau County spends $1,148 per capita on police and fire protection while the national median is $359, according toa U.S. News & World report this year. Public safety professionals account for 1.26 percent of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70 percent.
Blakeman, during the news conference last week, said he will retain some leaders of county departments from the Curran administration and emphasized his stance of politics not being a factor in his decision to do so.
“Politics has no place when it comes to safety and security decisions,” Blakeman said. “Therefore, I have determined that some personnel in the current administration will remain and others will not.”
Blakeman said Nassau County Sheriff James Dzuernda and Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein will both retain their roles under his administration. Blakeman said he and Dzuernda have been discussing reorganization of the department.
“He is an experienced and knowledgeable expert on corrections,” Blakeman said. “I want him to completely focus on the jail and all of its component parts.”
Blakeman touted Eisenstein’s work throughout the coronavirus pandemic when announcing his retention.
“Coming through a horrific period of profound challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein demonstrated a calm, determined and proactive leadership of the Health Department,” Blakeman said.