Longtime Suffolk police official Robert Waring will be the department’s next chief of department, Commissioner Rodney Harrison told Newsday on Monday.
Waring, currently the Suffolk County Police Department’s chief of patrol, will be sworn in at a ceremony in Brentwood on Tuesday morning, officials said. Waring succeeds Stuart Cameron, who retired earlier this month, as chief of department.
"I’m looking forward to it," Waring said Monday. "It’s a great opportunity."
Waring, a 36-year Suffolk police veteran, said he will focus on keeping the county’s crime rate low while improving traffic safety and engaging with the community. He will also be charged with implementing the 1,000-page police reform plan that calls for most of the department’s cops to be outfitted with body cameras and other measures officials said promote accountability and transparency.
Waring inherits a department that has been rocked by scandal in recent years, most recently in February 2020, when Suffolk officers were alleged to have assaulted a suspected car thief in Mount Sinai.
Waring said the police reform plan, developed by a 37-member panel appointed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, will benefit police and the community.
"I’m looking forward to going forward with it," Waring said.
Deputy Chief of Patrol Gerard Hardy will replace Waring as chief of patrol, officials said.
Harrison said he selected Waring to be Suffolk’s top uniformed cop because Waring is deeply familiar with the department's operations, has the respect of the rank-and-file and has great ideas on how to improve policing in Suffolk.
"You want somebody who understands the landscape, who knows the police department like the back of his hand," Harrison said.
Waring has previously served as the chief of operations and as the commander of the department’s Third Precinct.
The appointments of Waring and Hardy are the final pieces in the leadership team created by Harrison, who was nominated by Bellone for the commissioner’s position in early December and confirmed by lawmakers a few weeks later. Matthew Lewis will remain chief of detectives, while Christopher Hatton will continue as chief of operations.