(Update 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26) — Common Council unanimously approved Myrick’s appointment. He will be sworn in at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27.)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Mayor Svante Myrick has appointed Dennis Nayor as Ithaca’s next chief of police.

Nayor has served as acting chief since Pete Tyler’s retirement in May. He joined the Ithaca Police Department as a deputy chief about a year ago after working for more than 20 years as a police officer for the City of Oneonta. He was police chief in Oneonta for about five years.

“The Police Chief Search Committee, which included former Police Chief John Barber, has done an excellent and thorough job, vetting and interviewing both internal and external candidates. They narrowed the field to two extraordinarily qualified candidates and it’s my pleasure to nominate one of them – Acting Chief Dennis Nayor – to be our next permanent Chief of Police. AC Nayor has proven his enthusiasm, commitment, and professionalism are peerless and I have the utmost confidence in him,” Myrick said in a news release Monday.

Following the news Monday, Nayor said of the appointment, “It’s a huge honor. I think this is a great city, a great community and a great department. To have the privilege to lead the IPD to the next level is something I take very seriously.”

He said there are many challenges facing the law enforcement profession as a whole, but said he looks forward to collaborating with the community and other departments to “find ways to make Ithaca as safe as possible and build a department that could be a model for policing nationally.”

From left, Lt. John Joly and Acting Chief Dennis Nayor speak to press following a stabbing in July at the Gun Hill Apartments. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)
From left, Lt. John Joly and Acting Chief Dennis Nayor speak to press following a stabbing in July at the Gun Hill Apartments. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)

In recent months, community tensions have been high after the arrest of two young black Ithacans on the Ithaca Commons — in one case charges were dropped while another is going through Tompkins County Court. Nayor has said in a statement previously that officers had acted in accordance with department policies and the law. Asked about the case, Nayor said, broadly speaking, he is looking forward to working with all segments of the community “to find ways to bridge relationships and find ways to have a better understanding of each other. I’m always going to be open to dialogue and finding ways to respectfully see the challenges we all face.”

According to a news release in 2016 when Nayor announced his retirement in Oneonta, under Nayor’s leadership, the department received New York State accreditation, meeting 133 standards for best practices in policing, when fewer than 8 percent of police departments of comparable size in New York had received the accreditation. Nayor became a patrol officer in 1995, and served as DARE officer, sergeant, interim detective sergeant and lieutenant before being promoted to chief in 2012, according to an article in The Daily Star in Oneonta.

“I am proud of the fact that I have the ability to leads this department and be a part of a department of officers that does really care about the job and the services they provided. (It’s) what motivates me to helping us ascend to the next level,” Nayor said.

Nayor’s appointment will need to be approved by Common Council, but if approved, will become effective Oct. 2.

Featured image: From left, Svante Myrick, Dennis Nayor, Lt. John Joly, and Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.