Administrations Change, Commissioner Stays


At a July press event, candidate Bruce Blakeman was asked if he would keep Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder were he to win his election against incumbent County Executive Laura Curran.
At the time, Ryder was in hot water after comments he made about the lack of minorities in the police recruiting ranks. There were calls for him to step down.
Blakeman told Anton Media Group that he was consulting with law enforcement experts and was not ready to reveal his answer. At a post-election press conference, he gave the same reply to a reporter’s question.
As if there was never any doubt. The county executive-elect announced that he would retain Ryder.

County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman announces that Patrick Ryder (to his left) will remain as police commissioner.
(Bruce Blakeman Transition Team)

Blakeman, during a recent interview with Anton Media Group, was asked why he was so hesitant to reveal his decision.
“I always knew Commissioner Ryder had the energy, the communication skills and the knowledge of the police department to be an effective leader,” he replied. “What I needed to be convinced of once I was elected was that we would be able to work together. I have a different management style than my predecessor. And after meeting with Commissioner Ryder and talking with my advisors, it became very clear to me that he was the right choice to stay on as commissioner.”

Asked how it differed, he replied,
“I think I’m a little more hands-on, probably a little more detail oriented. I’m not a micromanager, but I do tend to ask a lot of questions and I think that again my style will probably be a little more hands-on—in every department and not just the police department.”

Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder and members from the Nassau County Police Department assisted at the Annual Marines Toys for Tots donation site at Nassau Coliseum.
(Nassau County Police Department)

Blakeman was reminded that the incumbent was always touting the county’s status—according to rankings by US News & World Report—as the safest in the country. He was asked if the police department needed to up its game and if there were areas of concern as far as law enforcement.
“I don’t think there are issues in the police department,” Blakeman said. “I think the issues are Albany. The Bail Reform Act, which is basically nothing more than a get-out-of-jail-free card, is the real problem. We’ve got a great police department. I’m very satisfied with the leadership of Commissioner Ryder. But I think we have our work cut out for us. We have to go up to Albany and effectively lobby our governor and legislators to repeal the Bail Reform Act because I think the majority of New Yorkers across the state realize that it’s been a monumental failure and it’s made the whole state less safe.”

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder chats with Carle Place Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Finn this past summer after police recovered stolen musical instruments.
(Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Pushed by progressives in 2020, after Democrats won overwhelming majorities in the legislature, bail reform changed many non-felonies into cashless bail offenses. Law enforcement has criticized how judges’ hands were tied by the reforms, and claimed that many suspects were released to commit crimes again.
Introducing his transition team at the police department’s Training and Intelligence Center in Garden City last month, Blakeman commented, “The team that I’m announcing today puts the blue in every neighborhood. And we have to back the blue in every neighborhood. We have here today real law enforcement, homeland security and emergency management elite. They are the tops at what they do and I’m very confident in their ability to keep Nassau County safe.”

County Legislator Denise Ford, chair of the Safety Committee, introduced Blakeman and noted his numerous law enforcement affiliations. He had served as commissioner and vice-chair of security at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of 9/11, “where he sought to secure our airports and bridges and tunnels and port facilities across the metropolitan area,” she said.
In announcing Ryder’s reappointment, Blakeman joked, “He is known as the Energizer Bunny. He has unbounded energy. He works hard. He’s open 24/7 and he is a tireless worker for public safety.”

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder speaks at a press conference after his department recovered stolen Carle Place schools musical instruments. Watching at right is County Executive Laura Curran.
(Photo by Frank Rizzo)

He was also impressed with the commissioner’s outreach to various community groups.
Ryder said, “I’ve been doing this job 38 years, including my time in New York City. I know what my job is and I know what my responsibilities are: to protect and serve all of our communities here in Nassau County. 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. My conversations with the new county executive elect has only raised the bar.”

Blakeman also announced that Sheriff James Dzurenda would be retained. He tabbed homeland security expert Denis Monette to head the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
“Working as a team with all the new appointed positions here, we will continue to keep the people of Nassau County safe,” Ryder affirmed. “And that Energizer Bunny comment, that’s true. I don’t sleep. That’s because when I put my head down on that pillow I want to make sure that every resident of Nassau County is safe first, and my cops are safe first. And then I can close my eyes and rest. It’s a challenging world out there and we’ll continue to work hard to serve all.”

Former Congressman Peter King attended the conference and stated, “Patrick Ryder and Denis Monette are the best. You couldn’t ask for a better cop, a better commissioner than Pat Ryder.”
He praised Blakeman’s picks and said. “Nassau County is going in the great direction. You’re off to a great start. Again with [District Attorney-elect] Anne Donnelly and Patrick Ryder at the top, when it comes to law enforcement this is going to be the best county in the country.”

Patrick Ryder was praised for his community outreach and people skills. Here, he and County Executive Laura Curran attend a “Coffee With A Cop” event at Drexel Avenue Elementary School in Westbury back in 2018.
(Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Blakeman was asked if he had interviewed anyone else for position “or was this an automatic decision?”
Blakeman replied, “Both within and outside the county, I’ve been involved in homeland security and enforcement for as many years, and I had a tremendous amount of connections in that field. They know Patrick Ryder. They’re big fans of Patrick Ryder. I’ve seen Patrick Ryder in action and as far as I was concerned, there had to be a good reason to replace him. There was no good reason to replace him.”

He added, “When I see how things are going on around the world, I believe that stability and continuity are important. My father always taught me ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ As far as I’m concerned, the department is doing very well. I did an evaluation of Commissioner Ryder and it was clear in my mind that he was the best person for the job.”

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