Patrick Ryder, Nassau County’s newly installed top cop, began his first official day as the acting commissioner Thursday with a jam-packed schedule and a focus on his goals: combating the heroin scourge, maintaining low crime levels and saving money.
“I want things done and I want it done yesterday,” Ryder said in an interview Thursday.
Ryder, a 33-year policing veteran, said while police have a handle on the ‘get the bad guy and lock them up’ side of illegal drugs, a more “academic approach” to the heroin epidemic, which has hit both Nassau and Suffolk hard with hundreds of overdoses annually, is needed.
Ryder said he’s working on a new mapping program for overdoses — much like the department tracks crime statistics — that would allow police “to really catch a trend on the fly.”
“My number one thing right now is to get a proactive way to address the heroin epidemic,” said Ryder, 55. “We cannot lose one more kid.”
Ryder was appointed acting commissioner by County Executive Edward Mangano after Thomas Krumpter announced his retirement in June.
Ryder, who was named deputy commissioner in January, previously helmed the department’s highly influential asset forfeiture and intelligence unit.
When asked if he planned to apply for the commissioner post permanently — which would require Mangano to nominate him and the Legislature to vote to appoint him — Ryder demurred, joking that he first wanted to get through his inaugural day.
Mangano, in a statement, said of Ryder: “He and I will be talking about permanent appointment in the next few weeks. He is a seasoned professional in the field of modern policing and I am pleased to appoint him to the position.”
In the meantime, though, Ryder has already begun to put his stamp on the job. He’s moved into the commissioner’s expansive corner office and met with a class of new recruits.
“I’m a hands on guy,” Ryder said. “I’ve already walked around the building unannounced and done some tours. I’m not there to catch anyone doing something wrong, I’m here to build the morale.”
As of Thursday morning, crime in the police district is down 4.22 percent, with major crimes including homicides and robberies, down 6.63 percent, Ryder said.
Ryder said he had begun cost-cutting initiatives — building on overtime reductions Krumpter initiated — and his own plans. For example, he said, he got rid of the department’s CAP Squad, transferring those officers to the burglary pattern team and robbery squad, which he said made more operational sense. He noted that patrol overtime is down 43 percent at present.
“We’re not supposed to be a business, we’re crime fighters,” Ryder said. “But if we don’t look at it like a business we’re going to fail. . . . I told my people yesterday, ‘you are going to spend the money like it is your own and treat the people like they are your family.’”
With Lisa Irizarry