The Essex County Sheriff's new Patrol Building in Newark has been dedicated in honor of the late Kevin J. Ryan, a long-time, well-liked sheriff's officer who rose to become a chief in the department.
“Dedicating the Sheriff’s Headquarters in Kevin’s honor will keep his legacy of public service alive. He was a consummate law enforcement professional who enjoyed working for the Sheriff’s Office and loved Essex County and its residents,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
“Kevin, who was recognized as a public safety expert throughout the state, had a 30-year career in law enforcement," DiVincenzo said. "As the go-to person in times of emergency and crisis, he was always one of the first people to be on the scene and was always ready to lend a helping hand."
Ryan began his career in law enforcement with the Nutley Police Department, where he served for four years before transferring to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office. He worked his way up through the ranks becoming an Undersheriff and then a Chief, and worked in virtually every area of the department.
His most recent responsibilities included supervising the Field Operations Division, which includes the Patrol Division, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Bomb Squad, the K-9 Unit and the Office of Emergency Management; and the Fleet Management Unit, which includes all marked and unmarked sheriffs' vehicles, and a wide variety of specialized vehicles and equipment utilized for patrol, undercover surveillance, emergency management and homeland security operations.
“This is a tremendous honor for Kevin and our family, and it’s a testament to the type of person Kevin was,” said Kevin’s brother Gerald Ryan. “He always wanted to be a police officer. Kevin had a heart of gold. He thrived at helping people and he excelled at it from an early age."
Local leaders called the building dedication a fitting tribute.
“Kevin was one of the closest people to me. He was a true cop and he loved what he did. Having his name on this building is a way to keep our friend in our memories,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.
“Kevin had a very large extended family and it included most of the people he met. To name this facility in his honor is fitting because his brothers and sisters were members of the Sheriff’s Department,” Newark Councilman Anibal Ramos said.
Ryan began his career in public service when he was 15 as a voluntary aide to state Senate President Carmen Orechio, eventually being promoted to a senior staff position. He later served as a state Assemblyman from 2010-2011 and as a school board member with the Essex County Schools of Technology since 2006.
“The fact that Kevin served in the state Assembly is sometimes overlooked, but he loved having that title and he gracefully bowed out because he was a team player,” state Sen. and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said.
Ryan also supervised the Dignitary Protection Detail which provided security for Pope John Paul II; Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama; numerous heads of state; governors; senators and other visiting dignitaries, and served as special assistant to Cardinal Joseph Tobin (and the Cardinal’s predecessors), supervising and securing His Eminence's personal safety as well as congregants who attend Mass and other functions at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.