Charles Gardner named new Yonkers police commissioner
11:41 PM, Dec. 8, 2011 |
YONKERS — The outgoing police commissioner's second-in-command will replace him as the city's next top cop.
Charles Gardner, a 32-year veteran of the Yonkers police department and its first deputy chief, will take over for Commissioner Edmund Hartnett on Jan. 1.
Mayor-elect Mike Spano announced Gardner, 54, as his pick for the job at a news conference Thursday afternoon at City Hall.
"We have here today the best of the best," Spano said.
Gardner, he later added, "has the depth, the vision for the future, and the respect to lead the department through what will be some tough times" with the city budget.
A Yonkers native who attended city public schools, Gardner is a married father of two grown children and lives with his wife in Greenburgh. His son Kyle is also a Yonkers officer.
Gardner earned a master's degree in public administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Iona College.
Unlike his predecessor, a decorated veteran of the NYPD, Gardner has spent his entire law-enforcement career in Yonkers. He started as a patrolman in 1979 and steadily rose to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief.
Gardner became the first deputy chief in 2003, assuming command of a half-dozen units including street crime, emergency services, housing and traffic.
Hartnett announced Dec. 1 that he planned to retire when the current mayor, Philip Amicone, leaves office.
Spano said Gardner was among four finalists, including some with experience in other major-city departments. He did not name any of the other candidates.
"I always felt we had talent within the department," Spano said.
Gardner's achievements include creating the department's sex-offender monitoring and school resource officer programs. He also helped develop the department's first crime statistic-based program, modeled on NYPD CompStat, and is a founding member of the police color guard.
Spano said Gardner's annual salary will be between $160,000 and $170,000, but he and his aides were unable to provide an exact figure Thursday afternoon. Hartnett earned $161,132 in 2010.
Gardner said his top priorities include improving the department's image and forging better ties with residents. He pledged to be a presence at neighborhood meetings, and emphasized the value of community policing strategies.
"A law enforcement agency's effectiveness is largely determined by its ability to communicate and garner support from the people" it serves, Gardner said.