The first woman to be chief of the University Police Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz was sworn in this month. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Mary Ritayik about her new role.
Mary Ritayik was sworn in February 1.
During her speech to an audience that included the Ulster County sheriff and a number of local law enforcement officials, Ritayik credited her father’s advice with getting her into the field.
She had served as deputy chief in the University Police Department since 2013, adding interim police chief to her responsibilities in May, when Chief David Dugatkin stepped down. SUNY New Paltz President Dr. Donald Christian:
In her role as chief, Ritayik leads a newly accredited department of 22 sworn members and six civilian employees.
President Christian speaks to what he sees as some of the challenges for the police chief.
Ritayik says it can be challenging to make the school’s students understand she and her department are there to help them.
SUNY New Paltz’s student newspaper, The New Paltz Oracle, published an editorial January 31 entitled “Chief Ritayik Carries the Torch for Future Female Leaders.” Christian refers to this editorial.
Ritayik began her career in 1998 at the New York State University Police at SUNY Purchase, transferred to New Paltz in 2000, was promoted to university police investigator in 2003, and assumed the newly created role of deputy chief of police in 2013. Mary Ritayik is now chief of the University Police Department at SUNY New Paltz, the first woman to hold the position in the department’s 50-year history.