Suffolk Police Commissioner Hart looks back at time with department, offers advice to next top cop

Geraldine Hart says one key tip is to "absolutely have the ability to listen. I think that's such an important piece of this job."

News 12 Staff

Apr 16, 2021, 2:25 AM

Updated 1,195 days ago

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The Suffolk County Police Commissioner sat down for a one-on-one with News 12's Eileen Lehpamer to look back at her time leading the department and what the next top cop can expect in the role.
March 2018 is when Geraldine Hart became the first woman to hold the position of police commissioner. Hart stepped into the role with more than two decades with the FBI.
In the moment, Hart said, "I really do understand this is a milestone."
That milestone began with Hart tackling a string of MS-13 murders. She then went on to jumpstart the investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killings.
"That success that we've had in the short time that I'm here is going to continue," says Hart.
Most recently she helped the county pass a police reform plan and guided the department through a global pandemic.
"Trying to keep the officers safe, and their families safe and how do we come up with procedures and protocols to do that but also to make sure we have a viable police force out on the streets protecting our residents," says Hart.
Hart says 2018 feels like a decade ago because 2020 was very challenging for the department.
When asked whether she would have stayed longer if 2020 wouldn't have been so challenging. Hart replied saying, "I don't feel like I'm leaving, running away from something if you will. I'm kind of like moving towards something that feels right for me."
After a total of 25 years in law enforcement, Hart says she accepted a position as the director of public safety for Hofstra University to spend more time with her children. The resignation comes just weeks after the county passed its police reform plan.
So, when her predecessor steps into the role, Hart says one key tip is to "absolutely have the ability to listen. I think that's such an important piece of this job."
Hart says she hopes she left the department better than she found it.


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