Lt. Dennis Nayor will be the city’s next police chief.

The Common Council voted Tuesday night to appoint Nayor as the permanent chief of the Oneonta Police Department.

A member of the department since 1995, Nayor will take over as chief from Interim Chief Gary O’Neill on April 29.

Nayor, who has assisted in the day-to-day operations of the Oneonta Police Department since 2007 when he became second-in-command, will continue to assist O’Neill in managing the 28-member police force until taking on his new position.

O'Neill, a former Broome County undersheriff and Endicott police chief, took OPD's helm May 2 following the retirement of Chief Joseph Redmond, who stepped down in March amid a police brutality investigation involving suspended officer Michael Breen. A city administrative hearing process in that case is nearing a conclusion, according to Personnel Director Kathy Wolverton.

Nayor, a graduate of Jefferson Central School, Hudson Valley Community College and the State University College at Geneseo, is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.  He is a lead Instructor at the Otsego County Law Enforcement Academy and is well known throughout the local and law enforcement communities, according to a media release from the city.

Nayor oversaw the department as interim chief from the time Redmond left until the time O’Neill assumed that role. O’Neill was brought in to oversee administrative and structural changes at the department in the wake of the brutality investigation and the resignation of three officers connected to a 2009 allegation of police misconduct.

“Oneonta is fortunate to have someone within the ranks of its police department who can assume this leadership responsibility. Dennis will have all the tools and the capacity to be an outstanding chief,” O'Neill said in a media release.

If a vote on the appointment had been delayed, Nayor, who was the highest scorer on the chief’s test administered in March, would have been subjected to another round of testing and delay of at least six to nine months, according to the mayor.

“I am humbled by this appointment,” Nayor said. “This is a position which I have always held in the highest esteem and I have done everything that I could to conduct myself in ways consistent with the respect I have for it and my profession. Working with Gary O’Neill for the past seven months, and the opportunity to do so for the next five months, provides a perfect transition. There are things that we still want to accomplish, both within the department and within the greater police community.  I will be ready to take charge on April 29 and believe that I will have the strong support of the officers and sergeants. The Oneonta Police Department needs disciplined compassionate leadership and I am confident that I can provide it.”

Miller said the appointment was made with the full support of five new Common Council members who will take office Jan. 1.

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