PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Richard Conway is one week into his new role as chief of the Port Chester Police Department, which he has been serving since 1986, and he is looking to make some improvements.
The Rye native and three-time New York Marathon runner replaces former Police Chief Joseph Krzeminski, who retired in January after being arrested by the FBI and charged with evidence tampering and retaliating against a federal witness.
Pollce Capt. John Telesca served as acting police chief until July 1, when the village Board of Trustees appointed Conway in a 4-3 vote.
Conway graduated from Rye High School in 1976, and then Manhattan College in 1984, where he studied criminal justice and history. After college he taught at a Catholic school in the south Bronx and was a wrestling coach at Manhattan.
In 1986, he joined the Port Chester Police Department.
“There’s a part of me that always wanted to be in the Police Department and I figured I could always put teaching on hold,” said Conway, who now teaches a criminal investigation course as an adjunct at Mercy College.
The fishing enthusiast’s first 10 months were spent working undercover with the Westchester County Narcotics Squad during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. He said 85-to-90 percent of their cases dealt with crack.
“I went from teaching at a Catholic school to being on the street buying drugs undercover every day,” he said. “I was very lucky I had a partner that was very good. We survived in one piece.”
Conway went on to become a sergeant in 1995 and a lieutenant in 1999. During that time he joined the Naval Reserve and earned his master’s degree in public administration from Pace University.
Looking back, he said he most enjoyed working patrol.
“People come in with all types of problems and we would either solve them or get them on the road to solve them,” he said.
Looking forward, Conway’s first task is to get the department back up to full man power, after several retirements reduced its ranks last year. He also wants to increase its emergency response capability and focus on community policing by increasing proactive interdiction. On top of that, the department is looking into creating Facebook and Twitter accounts.