Democratic Westchester County Executive George Latimer says two positions have been filled in what he calls arguably one of the most important departments in the county. On Friday, two men were sworn in as commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
County Executive Latimer:
“If you go through the résumé of Tom Gleason and the résumé of Terrance Raynor, you’ll see men who’ve been committed to service in police work for their adult life,” Latimer says.
Thomas Gleason is now commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. Terrance Raynor is deputy commissioner. The department is also known as the County Police Department. Again, Latimer.
“Both of them know police work from the ground up. This is not individuals who haven’t seen and experienced every single thing that our police officers out on the street, out on the highways, will experience,” Latimer says. “They’ve been there. They have been there individually and they’ve managed people who have done this. They’ve managed the detective functions.”
Gleason, a Yonkers native, says the Latimer administration has a strong commitment to law enforcement.
“Despite our ongoing budget challenges, they’ve managed to fill all our existing police officer vacancies and get us back to full strength, and I thank you very much for that support,” Gleason says.
Latimer, too, spoke of commitment, concerning both Gleason and Raynor.
“They have already started their work. They were in the other room telling me how much more money we have to allocate to the department,” Latimer says. “That is the sign of their commitment to their new responsibilities.”
Gleason tells a story about looking to hire a police officer who he knew had applications in to other departments, and he questioned the applicant about this.
“He said, in baseball terms, why would I go and play for the Kansas City Royals when I could play for the New York Yankees,” Gleason says. “So that actually hit a soft spot with me, and I apologize to all the Mets fans out there, but that’s the way we look at ourselves at the County Police… That’s the way we look at ourselves, as the New York Yankees of the police department.”
The laughter also came as Latimer is a Mets fan. Again, Gleason.
“Many people came up and asked me, why would you want to put in all that extra work and deal with all that aggravation that goes along with it. And I gave them all the same answer,” says Gleason. “As someone who came on this job a 22-year-old kid from Yonkers, I spent my whole professional career here. I have a deep sense of pride and affection for this department, and I want to do all that I can do to make it an even better place before I retire and pass the reins on to the next commissioner.”
Latimer says the commissioner post has been vacant longer than anticipated, with Martin McGlynn serving as acting commissioner since January. Former Commissioner George Longworth retired January 2. Gleason, who began his law enforcement career in the county Department of Public Safety, says he wants to continue expanding the department’s social media efforts as well as expand the school resource officer program.
Raynor, a Mount Vernon resident, told a story of how his car was stolen in the 1980s and he thought the city’s policy of retrieving a stolen car should be changed. It was that experience from which he sought to seek change from within, and joined the Mount Vernon Police Department in 1984, rising to chief. He ultimately served as police commissioner.
“Thank you so very much for inviting me to return to a career that I do love,” Raynor says. “And I want to say to Police Commissioner Gleason, to the men and women of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety that I look forward to working with you. I look forward to continuing enhancing the police department’s professionalism and working towards making Westchester County the finest county in the country.”
Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins says he and the transition team conducted some two dozen interviews for commissioner.