Update: Waring to Remain Suffolk Police Commissioner

Update: Robert Waring, who has been leading the Suffolk County Police Department for the last few weeks, was named Friday as commissioner.

Newsday reported later Friday evening that, “Although a news release announcing the selections appeared to elevate Waring to the permanent role, Romaine spokesman Mike Martino said he is still acting commissioner.”

Kevin Catalina and Belinda Groneman were both named deputy commissioners.

“The dedicated men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department are ready for new leadership, and this team ushers in a new era in Suffolk County law enforcement,” said  Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, in announcing the appointments.  “I want to thank them for accepting these positions, which come with great responsibilities to every resident and member of the force.”

Waring is a 37-year veteran of the department.

Waring has held supervisory roles in every division in the department, including chief of patrol, chief of operations, commanding officer of the Third Precinct and commanding officer of the Precinct Detective Bureau.

“The leadership team announced by County Executive Romaine is excellent and the District Attorney’s Office is committed to doing everything in our power to assist them in achieving their mission,” District Attorney Ray Tierney said. “Given that we are currently facing a crisis of epidemic proportions with fentanyl overdoses, and other significant public safety challenges, keeping a steady and experienced leader in charge is important.”

“I am truly honored County Executive Romaine has asked me to remain in the commissioner’s role,” said Waring. “I have had a long, incredible career with this great department, and it is the highlight of my career to lead these fine men and women, who put their lives on the line every day to keep every Suffolk County resident safe.”

Catalina has served as undersheriff of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office from 2018 until now, where he has been responsible for the oversight of the Police Division, and the Corrections Division Intelligence Bureau, which includes a team of 30 investigators and a unit of analysts. 

He has 27 years of experience as a uniformed member of the New York City Police Department, where he held the positions deputy chief and commanding officer of multiple units, including the 44th Precinct, Gang Division, Patrol Borough Manhattan North and Intelligence Bureau Operational and Analytical Section. 

From March 2016 through August 2017, Catalina served as deputy chief and executive officer/operations commander of the Patrol Borough Manhattan North, where he was responsible for directing operations for twelve precinct commands and approximately 2,500 uniformed officers within the geographical boundaries of the borough. 

He was also responsible for logistical planning and site security for all large events in Manhattan North. He served as the deputy chief and commanding officer of the Intelligence Bureau Operational and Analytical Section from August 2017 through July 2018, where he oversaw all counterterrorist operations and investigations within the NYPD Intelligence Division.  He supervised approximately 300 detectives and civilians, with the primary objective of identifying and targeting individuals and groups suspected of terror related activities.  

“I am eager to continue serving the people of Suffolk County and I want to thank Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine for trusting me with this opportunity”, said Catalina. “I am looking forward to working alongside Commissioner Waring and Deputy Commissioner Groneman to make Suffolk a safer place for all.” 

Belinda Groneman is an 18-year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department, retiring as special assistant to the police commissioner.   She most recently served as the law enforcement coordinator and congressional aide to former Rep. Lee Zeldin from 2015-23. In her role, she was responsible for the congressman’s security detail and was the office’s liaison to various federal law enforcement agencies. She additionally is involved in community organizations including the Suffolk County Community College Foundation Board, Pronto of Long Island, Inc., American Cancer Society and Islip Food for Hope.

Groneman is the first Latina to serve as in that position in the department’s history.

“I am prepared to take on this new role, work closely with commissioner Waring and Deputy Commissioner Catalina and all of my brothers and sisters in the Suffolk County Police Department,” said Groneman.

Waring succeeds Rodney Harrison, who resigned in November.

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