NCPD commissioner talks safety in Hicksville
Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder stopped by last week’s meeting of the Hicksville Community Council to talk about crime in the area and new strategies aimed at keeping residents safe.
Speaking at the meeting just four days after being officially sworn-in as commissioner (he had been acting commissioner for seven months before that), Ryder noted that crime in the county had gone down 30 percent since 2010. Countywide, residential burglaries went down 37 percent last year, and the second precinct, which covers Hicksville, has the lowest crime in the county.
“Last year, we had 15 homicides in the county. That’s the lowest in 30 years,” he said.
Part of that decrease can be attributed to the ShotSpotter, a real-time gun shot detection system that provides police the exact location and time of a gun being fired. While shootings in Roosevelt and Uniondale used to average around 350 to 400 a year, last year, that number was about 15, thanks, in part, to the ShotSpotter technology being implemented in those communities.
Technology also plays a huge part in keeping schools safe. Ryder noted that out of the 450 school buildings in the district, the NCPD has connections with half of them through the RAVE app, which allows school officials to instantly contact police in case of an active shooter or other emergency situation. Police also have access to many school district cameras, allowing them to pinpoint exactly where a threat is.
Ryder also mentioned that the police department would be relying more heavily on social media and community members to provide tips on individuals who may pose a threat.
“We’re launching a new social media platform to get a further reach into the community,” Ryder said, noting that most cell phone users are between 16 and 25—the same age group that commits the most crime. “I need to get that group and attract them. We’re going to start living on those [social media] platforms and pushing criminal data and educational and awareness tips.”
The biggest problem in the county right now is opioids, said Ryder. It’s a war that has gotten “out of control,” he said, adding that his “mission is to turn the tide on that.” Earlier this year the department rolled out ODMap, a real-time computerized mapping system which allows police and health officials to identify “hotspots” for overdoses.
“We’re mapping the drug problem and identifying hotspots. We’re going after it with education and awareness, enforcement, diversion court and treatment,” he said, noting that earlier that day, he had announced the arrest of 59 people in Massapequa for heroin.
The department is planning to focus on specific communities for drug arrests in the coming weeks, Ryder said. Not only do arrests such as those get drug dealers off the streets, but it also provides an avenue for addicts to get help. Ryder noted that some drug offenders will go to diversion court, ending up in treatment.
“We’ll put them in a system where they get treatment. If they fail that system they go back to criminal court and go to jail,” Ryder said. “We’re also removing them from the environment where the larcenies from the autos and crime issues are. By pulling them out, we’re fixing our crime. It’s a double-edged sword.”
Ryder, a Lynbrook native who now resides in Wantagh, has 35 years of experience in both the NYPD and NCPD. He began his career in the NYPD, before joining the NCPD’s third precinct in 1986, eventually moving to the Bureau of Special Operations, Swat team and sergeant with the fifth and eighth precincts. He also served as commanding officer of the asset forfeiture and intelligence unit, building an intel center in the county after the attacks on 9/11.
Now, he takes the helm of a 2,460 cop organization, noting that though the number of police officers may have decreased over the years, the department is committed to working “more intelligently.”
“Every single day we come up with new ideas, whether it’s going after opioids, or active shooters, or going after regular crime fighting, or taking care of car accidents or house fires,” he said. “We are 100 percent invested in your safety. That’s our job.”
The next Hicksville Community Council meeting is Thursday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m., at the Hicksville Community Center. Representatives from Seritage Properties will present their plans for the Sears property.
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