Stuart Cameron, who retired as the Suffolk County Police Department’s department chief and acting police commissioner last year, is the new chief of the Old Westbury Police Department.
Cameron, 60, worked for the Suffolk police for 37 years. In the past year, he worked part-time for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Radiological Security. However, he said the transition proved difficult and that he had more public service left in him.
“I love police work and I missed police work,” he told the Roslyn Times. “So I was looking around and I became aware of a civil service announcement for the [Police Chief exam] for the Village of Old Westbury.”
Cameron, a lifelong resident of the Town of Oyster Bay, said he was not “intimately familiar” with the Village of Old Westbury. But their police department impressed him.
The Old Westbury Police Department currently has 25 sworn members, including the chief of police, one lieutenant, five sergeants, two detectives and 16 officers. There is also a civilian staff of five dispatchers and a police secretary.
He said his new position allows him to “turn the clock back” and do what he enjoys most about policing: interacting with others. He said that there is a difference in being responsible for a county of over a million people vs. a village of fewer than 5,000.
“I am looking forward to working in a smaller agency where I can get to know other police officers personally. Where I can get to know the residents. Where I’m not chained to my office all the time when I’m working and I can get out,” said Cameron. “I can maybe go out on patrol, meet the residents and actually constructively interact with him.”
Cameron stressed the value of having fresh eyes looking through the department. He said goals include enhancing the department’s capabilities through his experience.
In addition, he noted that he brings a new perspective to the department. He said this also could help in seeking technological upgrades and other improvements.
“It’s very rewarding for me to work in an environment where I feel the support from the mayor and the village board,” said Cameron. “I believe they’re going to be very supportive of me as I ask for resources. Of course, some of the things that I’m going to ask for cost money. But I believe they will go a long way to keeping the officers safer, making them more efficient and keeping the village residents safer.”
Cameron will hold a series of community meetings to meet residents and hear their thoughts and concerns. The meetings will be limited to 20 people at a time.
The first two meetings will be held upstairs in the Village Department of Public Works building on Jan. 31. One will take place at 4 p.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m.
“There is an opportunity for me to meet a sizable percentage of the residents, which I would never have had the opportunity to get to do in Suffolk County,” he said. And I want to hear from them. I want to hear what they’re concerned about. I want to hear what their ideas are as far as adapting the police department to best meet their needs because it is a small community and we can do that.”
Old Westbury Mayor Edward Novick told Newsday that Cameron was one of several candidates sought to replace now-former Chief Robert Glaser, who served the department for 34 years.
With an increase in auto thefts, burglaries and other crimes, he said that the village was looking for someone with the background to lead the department.
“No one had the breadth and depth and skill set that Stuart Cameron had,” he said. “Stuart Cameron has run one of the largest police departments in the United States.”