Suffolk County lawmakers confirmed Tuesday that retiring NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison would be the first Black commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.
The Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to approve Harrison’s affirmation as the division’s high cop. During his confirmation hearing final week, lawmakers peppered Harrison with questions on how he’ll sort out police reforms, reverse an uptick in shootings, and restore public belief within the wake of latest corruption scandals, amongst different points.
“I’d like to alter a number of the adverse narrative that this police division has,” Harrison informed the panel. “That begins with working with everyone on this room and everyone in vary of listening to my voice.”
Harrison replaces Risco Menton-Lewis, who was named performing commissioner on Friday following the retirement of the earlier performing commissioner Stuart Cameron, who had been operating the division since Geraldine Hart, a former FBI agent, stepped down in April. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone nominated Harrison, a married father of three from Baldwin who grew up in Queens, following a nationwide search.
Asked how he’ll reverse the pattern of shootings reportedly being up 23% this 12 months over 2020 as of September, Harrison mentioned he’ll ship further police assets to the precincts wherein most shootings happen, deploy anti-crime items, decide if there’s a motive that’s a standard denominator such as gangs or medicine, and accomplice with federal businesses to maintain illegal guns out of the county.
As for his function in enacting the county’s police reform plan that lawmakers handed earlier this 12 months within the wake of nationwide protests towards police brutality, Harrison mentioned he’s reviewed the reforms and particularly helps officers carrying physique cameras, which all public-facing officers within the division might be required to put on beginning subsequent 12 months.
How he’ll fight corruption in Suffolk was a query requested repeatedly through the listening to, which got here days after former Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota and Christopher McPartland, Spota’s ex-chief deputy and public corruption bureau chief, started serving 5 years in federal jail for being convicted of masking up civil rights violations. They had sought to thwart the investigation into James Burke, the previous Suffolk police chief, who additionally served federal jail time after being convicted of beating a handcuffed suspect arrested for stealing the then-chief’s bag of porn and intercourse toys, authorities have mentioned.
Harrison, noting that the inner affairs unit will report on to him to keep away from interference, mentioned: “I’m going to do what must be achieved to make this a clear division.”