By Samuel Glasser
The Village of Great Neck Estates on Monday honored its longtime former mayor with what could be considered the ultimate tribute — naming the village Police Department building for him.
“David Fox had the longest tenure of any mayor. His biggest passion was the Police Department, and we wanted to honor him in a way that he can enjoy it,” the current mayor, William Warner, said.
Fox served on the village Board of Trustees for 21 years, the last 14 as mayor. He retired in January.
Numerous county, town and village officials joined the tribute held in front of police headquarters. Warner, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, and Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company Chairman David Weiss told how Fox had been a mentor and teacher whom they could turn to for guidance and advice.
For Fox, the honor was a surprise. He and his wife, who split their time between Florida and Great Neck, arrived back on Long Island last Friday.
“This is an overwhelming honor for me,” Fox said. “No one said a word to me. Every one of those people who were [at the ceremony], I’ve seen in the last four days. No one said anything. My wife knew about this a month ago.
“And I walked in and out of [the Police Department] building,” he continued. “And I never looked up to see the sign.”
The sign over the door now reads “Village of Great Neck Estates David A. Fox Police Department.”
The Police Department, Fox said, is his “pride and joy.”
Fox was president of H. Fox & Co. Inc., best known for its principal product, Fox’s U-bet Chocolate Syrup.
The business, which was sold last summer, “is in a really tough neighborhood in Brooklyn and I always envied what the cops do. The average citizen doesn’t understand what they go through,” he said.
“These are dedicated people who put their lives on the line every day, every time they make a traffic stop, every time they answer a domestic dispute,” Fox said. “And they have to come home at night. The same issues that involve all of the country are also right here in our little community.”
Fox said he spearheaded the construction of the village police building and was involved in the hiring of every current member of the force.
“This became a passion of mine,” he said.
So it was in character that later that evening Fox was in the audience at the village Board of Trustees meeting when Police Officer Shannon Noor was promoted to sergeant.
“I was on the stage when he graduated from the Nassau County Police Academy,” Fox said.
So, he made a special effort to attend Noor’s promotion.
“I left my dinner to be there for him,” he said.