If you haven’t heard by now, the Village of Floral Park has a brand new police commissioner. After months of vetting candidates, Mayor Kevin Greene and the Board of Trustees finally found the person they had been searching for — NYPD-veteran Stephen G. McAllister, who won the job over the 23 applicants to replace outgoing Commissioner Michael Reid. McAllister, who was sworn in on July 20 at the Floral Park Board of Trustees meeting at Village Hall, joins the Floral Park Police force with an impressive 27 years in law enforcement.
During his first day on the job, Commissioner McAllister sat down with The Floral Park Dispatch to discuss his new appointment and his plans to keep the Village of Floral Park safe. A Flatbush native and son of Irish immigrants, his parents came to this country and got married at St. Hedwig’s Church in, of all places, Floral Park.
With a distinguished academic background, McAllister graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Special Studies at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY and went on to receive a graduate certificate in Criminal Justice Studies from the FBI National Academy-University of Virginia in Quantico. Subsequently, he obtained a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, City University of New York, specializing in Police Administration and graduated from the Police Management Institute, Columbia University Business School in New York.
McAllister’s journey has run the gamut of police work and, at almost every step of the way, his talents have been recognized by promotion after promotion. In 1984, he first became a police officer. His early career as sergeant on the streets of Brooklyn offered him a bird’s-eye view into the world of narcotics of mostly buy-and-bust operations. He was eventually offered an opportunity in internal affairs investigating corruption within the New York Police Department. “Our job was to uncover the truth,” McAllister said. His quickly moved up the ranks to lieutenant and began training internal investigators, teaching them practical exercises to retain their knowledge.
His experience led him to one of his most challenging roles as inspector of the NYPD and commanding officer of the Transit Borough of Manhattan from 2005 to 2008. There, he oversaw nearly 1,000 employees, who were charged with safety and security of five million daily riders within the New York subway system. Under his command, he says the Transit Borough Manhattan experienced an overall decrease in reported crime of 34 percent.
Following that position, he was hired as a crime control strategy consultant for the City of Newark Police Department where he was responsible for analyzing all departmental policies and procedures.
Utilizing the Comp-Stat process as it is referred to, McAllister examined crime and internal police department procedures allowing for the re-engineering of those procedures in response to crime and their effect within the Newark community and the efficiencies of the Agency.
McAllister, a 12-year resident of Floral Park, said that making the switch from NYPD to becoming a commissioner was a dream opportunity. “This was a chance to direct my own agency,” McAllister said. “It’s a great opportunity to service the community where I am raising my family,” he added. “Not a lot of people get that opportunity and I do,” he said. “I am the chief guardian of our community and as such, it’s a tremendous responsibility but also a tremendous opportunity.” McAllister, who lives with his wife, Catherine, and his five children, says he loves the Floral Park community and is proud to be the coach of a dozen teams.
In his new tenure, the commissioner hopes to look at the way the department goes about its daily business and correct any inefficiencies. In charge of 35 sworn uniformed officers and 10 additional employees, McAllister acknowledged that the Village of Floral Park does not have a lot of crime. He hopes that using the GIS platform, which gives staff the ability to analyze millions of police records and data to make better decisions. GIS applications allow officers to accurately map crime rates and patterns and ultimately can help see where accidents or incidents of crime occur. “We’re going to try to get out in front. I believe in a proactive police style to get ahead of the problem,” McAllister said.
After recent reports of vandalism of parking meters in the village, McAllister said that the vandals were apprehended. “Right now, there’s no real pressing issues [in the village] other than the neighbor versus neighbor, parking… and they have to be addressed,” he said. McAllister added that he wasn’t opposed to the idea of installing security cameras in the village should crime increase. “That’s a potential solution, it’s a tool that I don’t discount,” he added.
McAllister says in the coming months he will be getting up to speed on the hot-button issues and integrating himself with the public. He also expressed his interest in meeting members of the community and listening to their concerns and solving problems. “Right now, I am reaching out and trying to introduce myself to much of the village, especially people who do the administration of the village, the unofficial leaders of the community,” he explained. Come the fall, he plans on attending local community organization meetings and talking to their members. “I want them [citizens] to be able to come to me with their problems and hope they think I can resolve them. If I can, if it’s within my power and my scope, I definitely will. If not, I will refer them to the proper authority that could rectify their problem.”