By Donna Deedy
Former Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer died at age 79 Sunday, April 21 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Dormer, an Irish immigrant, became a police officer in 1963 and was among the first 800 officers in the department’s history. He climbed the department’s ranks and retired after 30 years of service as chief. Dormer was then appointed in 2004 Suffolk County Police Commissioner and served in that post until he retired in 2011.
“Commissioner Dormer dedicated his life to public service, and he should be remembered for his commitment to public safety,” said current Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart. “I extend my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time to his family, including his children, two of whom are continuing his legacy as members of the Suffolk County Police Department, and to the men and women in the department who are mourning his loss.”
While serving as commissioner, Dormer oversaw the department’s anti-gang policies and was involved in investigating a string of unsolved homicides, after the dismembered bodies of 10 people were found in bushes near Gilgo Beach. In 2006, Dormer implemented a novel approach to disposing of its confiscated gun arsenal: the department shredded the firearms it collected.
“They’re going to go in a shredder and never harm another person in Suffolk County again,” he said after highlighting the new policy as a cost saving measure at a press conference. The department’s old system required transporting twice a year its seized weapons to a foundry in Pennsylvania, where the firearms were melted down.
“During the tenure of former Commissioner Dormer, our department made great advances, including the creation of our Homeland Security Bureau, attaining New York State accreditation and incorporating modern concepts to respond to active shooter incidents,” said Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron.
Dormer is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters Kathleen Brady and Bridget Dormer; sons Michael, John and Richard Dormer; eight grandchildren; and siblings Frankie, Bridget and Maura.
Visitations will be held at Nolan Funeral Home, at 5 Laurel Ave., Northport, Thursday and Friday, April 25 and 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Mass is Saturday, April 27 at 9:15 a.m., at St. Philip Neri Church, 344 Main St., Northport. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to www.giving.mountsinai.org.