Rodney Harrison is stepping down as Suffolk County police commissioner

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, November 3, 2023
Suffolk County police commissioner Rodney Harrison resigns
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Chantee Lans has more on the police commissioner's surprise resignation.

SUFFOLK COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- Rodney Harrison is stepping down as Suffolk County police commissioner so he can spend more time with his family.

Harrison confirmed his resignation to Eyewitness News on Thursday night. The 54-year-old informed Suffolk County officers of his plans in an internal memo.

Suffolk County Police Chief of Department Robert Waring will be running the day to day operations of the department moving forward.

Harrison told Eyewitness News reporter Chantee Lans that his last official day is "going to be some time in December" but did not have an exact date.

"I'm going to be utilizing my time. I won't be around but I'll still be in a position when and if people need to ask my opinion on something," he explained. "The leadership, the people that run the day-to-day operations of the department will be overseen by Rob Waring."

Suffolk County is getting a new county executive next Tuesday and it has been widely understood that Harrison, hired by Steve Bellone, would not be sticking around for the new administration.

"It didn't have a role in me stepping down, it did have a role in me announcing it," he said Friday. "One of the things I tried to avoid was getting caught up in the elected officials and the election and who's going to keep me around, who's not going to keep me around, that's irrelevant, I think the timing is right for this announcement."

Harrison served for nearly two years, becoming the first Black police commissioner in the department's history after assuming office on December 31, 2021.

Among Harrison's accomplishments were helping the department crack the infamous Gilgo Beach murders case. Before taking the commissioner job he vowed to capture a suspect in that case which had gone unsolved for over a decade.

Bellone, a Democrat, is not running for re-election this Tuesday due to term limits.

It comes as a red wave has washed away Democratic seats in Suffolk County in recent years.

Suffolk County Republicans have been mobilized as a voting bloc in recent years led by the Trump and MAGA movement, and it will be significantly more difficult for a Democrat to win a countywide seat than when Bellone was first elected in 2011.

Republican Ed Romaine has more than $900,000 to spend in the final days, vs Democrat David Calone's $335,000.

Bellone issued a statement praising Harrison whose legacy will always be cracking the Gilgo Beach case.

"Because of his efforts, our communities are safer, the department is more equitable, accountable and transparent, and meaningful relationships have been fostered with our diverse communities," Bellone said.

Prior to being promoted to commissioner, Harrison served as NYPD chief of department for about 9 months. He previously served as NYPD chief of detectives from December 1, 2019 to March 29, 2021.

So, what's next for Harrison?

"A lot of people think that I'm going to go into another law enforcement agency," Harrison said. "That's not the case. I haven't committed myself to anybody or anything. Listen if down the road, if something comes my way and I'm sure God has a plan for me, I'll evaluate it with my family."


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