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Mary Ritayik makes SUNY history, becomes first female commissioner of police

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 6pm newscast.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 11:32 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 4:24 PM EDT
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NEW YORK (WBNG) -- Dakota McCartney and Emily Logue reflect on history being made for the SUNY system: the first female police commissioner in charge from Albany.

The two are a part of the SUNY system. One is a university police officer for Binghamton University and the other is a student studying criminal justice at SUNY Broome.

“It’s great to see that kind of representation in the whole SUNY system,” said Binghamton University Police’s Dakota McCartney.

“I feel like it sets a bar that women can achieve whatever they want,” said SUNY Broome Freshman Emily Logue studying criminal justice.

When it comes to their passion, they say representation matters.

“It definitely influences me to achieve higher things,” said Logue.

Breaking the glass ceiling for all of SUNY is Mary Ritayik, but to get to this point, has been a journey.

“I was hired by SUNY Purchase in 1998 and that’s where I started my career,” said Ritayik. From there, she spent most of her career at SUNY New Paltz. “That’s where I went through the different ranks. I went from officer, to investigator, to deputy chief, to interim chief, and finally chief of police.”

For Mary to get to this point, she had to overcome feeling at times intimidated, such as during her academy days.

“I only had three other females in my class,” she said. “It was just kind of understanding the hard work I have to show and prove myself, whether it be physical whether it be academically.”

Once in the SUNY system, Ritayik realized early that she liked her role’s link within the atmosphere of a campus community.

“It gave me opportunities to work with students to kind of get them on the right path to get them to graduate,” said Ritayik.

Fast forward to her resume being reviewed by a committee, and in July 2021, she made history as the commissioner of the New York State University Police.

“It was an opportunity that, you know, if I didn’t try at least to get it I think I would regret it,” said Ritayik.

Reflecting on her success, she echoed her role has a greater message.

“A female can look and say if she can do it, I can do it. I can attain that...,” said Ritayik.

With Ritayik’s wave of change to the role, it’s rippling down to those starting out.

“It definitely encourages me to try harder. And maybe if I go into police as my career, I can go up in the ranks,” said Logue.

“I’m still pretty new, but it’s really nice to see that it’s possible to get there,” said McCartney.

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