Dennis Nayor, MS
Dennis R. Nayor is a recently retired sworn law enforcement professional and multi-agency police chief with over 25 years of experience in municipal policing. He served as the Chief of Police for the City of Ithaca Police Department and prior to that served as the Chief of Police for the City of Oneonta Police Department. Both agencies serve vibrant, fast-paced, and progressive cities in Upstate New York.
Dennis began his law enforcement career in 1995 with the City of Oneonta Police Department. During his tenure, he served in the capacities of Patrol Officer, D.A.R.E. Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Interim Detective Sergeant, Lieutenant, and ultimately Chief of Police for nearly five years. For the majority of his career, he also served as a senior instructor in defensive tactics, firearms, physical fitness, and police general topics. As Chief in Oneonta, he led his Department to earning full New York State accreditation and built a well-respected and high-performance agency reflective of the six pillars of professional 21st Century Policing.
In January of 2017, Dennis retired from the Oneonta Police Department to assume the role of Director of Research, Development, and Training for the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. In this capacity he led the organization’s efforts in improving and advancing the policing profession while serving as a resource for over 500 police chiefs and command level officers throughout New York State. His efforts were focused on promoting the six pillars of professional 21st century policing by disseminating information, authoring articles, creating podcasts, and promoting training which emphasized:
1. Building trust and legitimacy
2. Education and training
3. Utilizing social media and technology
4. Community policing and crime reduction
5. Policy development and oversight
6. Officer wellness and safety
In September of 2018, Dennis was recruited by the City of Ithaca Police Department to serve as their Deputy Chief of Police, in charge of overseeing the Department’s professional standards. The expectation was for him to ascend to the position of police chief within one year to replace their current chief upon his pending retirement. He accepted this opportunity and moved on from the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. In his new role, he became responsible for assisting in the overall leadership, professional development, and advancement of the 70-sworn member Department, while preparing to assume top command. Within 8 months of hire, he became the Acting Chief and in September of 2019, through mayoral recommendation and unanimous Council approval, he was sworn in as the permanent Chief of Police.
Through a positive and results-oriented leadership approach, he steadfastly supported the professional development of those he led, while always endeavoring to build strong collaborative community relationships through an emphasis on continual outreach, diversity & inclusion, professionalism, accountability, and quality police services. During his tenure he also led the Department through its most tumultuous times to include the global pandemic, many months of civil unrest, the national police reforms in accordance with New York State Executive Order 203, and numerous high profile incidents.
In April of 2021, Dennis retired from active law enforcement and accepted a faculty position with the University of San Diego to teach in their nationally acclaimed Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership Master’s program.
In addition to his master’s degree, Dennis also holds a graduate certificate from the University of Virginia in Criminal Justice, a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo in Political Science, and an associate’s degree from Hudson Valley Community College in Criminal Justice. He is a proud graduate of the 240th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and is also a graduate of the 61st session of the FBI LEEDA Command Institute.