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Top Kop: Meet the New Director of Public Safety

(PHOTO: The Kopys at the great pyramids in Egypt in 2006.)
(PHOTO: The Kopys at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt in 2006. From left to right: Lori, Michael, Matthew and Mike.)

In a two-part series, MyRye.com will introduce you to Mike Kopy, the city’s new director of public safety. Enjoy part one today.

It is his fourth job in the City of Rye.

Mike Kopy, Rye’s new director of public safety, is a lifelong resident of Rye Neck, and is working locally after a 30-plus career at the state level. He brings a unique blend of accomplishments across law enforcement, fire department service and emergency response that informs his view on priorities for the city.

Why Rye? 

“I always wanted to have my own shop,” said Kopy, whose last position at the state level had him coordinating across 73 state agencies and authorities, a seemingly impossible task. “I wanted to be more retail than wholesale. I also just wanted to say I know the four corners [of the city]. I can get to all of them in five minutes. This was a choice, I wanted to come here.” 

After spending over 30 years traveling New York State for work, Kopy commutes just 3.4 miles to his office at Rye Police headquarters on McCullough Place.

Local Boy, Fourth Rye Job

Kopy was born at White Plains Hospital and is a 1982 graduate of Rye Neck High School – “the other Rye High School” as Kopy describes it. He met his wife Lori in kindergarten, and they have two boys Michael, 26, who is in commercial real estate with Ackman-Ziff in New York City and Matthew, 24, who just finished at Westchester Community College and is working in retail. Lori is a director at information services firm IHS Markit.

Kopy lives a stone’s throw from Rye on Taylors Lane in Mamaroneck. As for his earlier jobs in Rye, Kopy was a seasonal park ranger—an armed peace officer working for the County Police—at Rye Playland in the mid 1980s, and spent time at Dockside Deli and Miles Tree Service.

School and Travel

Kopy logged time at the University of Arizona out of high school and finished his bachelors in criminal justice, political science and history from Pace, attending night school while working for the State Troopers. He also spent two years on and off backpacking around the world. 

(PHOTO: Visiting Prambanan, an 8th-century Hindu temple in Indonesia, circa 2011.)
(PHOTO: The Kopys visiting Prambanan, an 8th-century Hindu temple in Indonesia, circa 2011.)

“The first go around I was in all of Europe, Bangladesh, Thailand,” recounts Kopy. “The second time I was in all the islands in the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, I also traveled through Mexico, through the country – the United States. I was doing what most 20 some odd year kids do when they go on a backpack for a couple years. You go, you work. You go, you work,” says Kopy. He has been to 46 countries on six continents and has a particular affection for Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

State Troopers, Emergency Management, Volunteer Fire

Kopy joined the New York State Police in 1986 to start what was a nearly 32-year run. His earliest days took him upstate where he patrolled a remote, almost wilderness area. 

(PHOTO: New York Governor Mario Cuomo congratulating Kopy at his state trooper graduation in 1987.)
(PHOTO: New York Governor Mario Cuomo congratulating Kopy at his state trooper graduation in 1987.)

“When I first got out of the Academy I went to Saratoga and I went to the Glens Falls area. Then I went up to a small little outpost north of the Sacandaga [Lake] called the Hadley satellite. It was a two trooper office that was half the size of this office,” said Kopy, sitting in his newly painted office at Rye PD headquarters. “I patrolled an area up there—it would take me 40 minutes to get from one end of the patrol area to the other. Very remote and it was bisected by the Sacandaga reservoir.”

(PHOTO: Kopy, on left, next to his roommate for the trooper academy, Joe Lamarodo, on graduation day in 1987.)
(PHOTO: Kopy, on left, next to his roommate for the trooper academy, Joe Lamarodo, on graduation day in 1987.)

At various times Kopy oversaw State Police operations in New York City and a four-county area north of the city including Westchester County where he was in command of over 500 employees. He finished as an inspector overseeing internal audits, investigations and allegations against agency staff.

After retiring from the troopers in 2018, Kopy returned to service a few months later as the State Director of Emergency Management working for Governor Andrew Cuomo. He oversaw emergencies and emergency response across all 73 government agencies and authorities “making sure they had plans that were robust, ready to go, they were ready and the Governor really wanted things to operate efficiently, hand in glove type stuff,” said Kopy. He served in that capacity for nearly three years and left in the wake of Cuomo’s resignation.

(PHOTO: Kopy, far right, during his term as fire chief in Mamaroneck in 2004. The department was responding to a large fire at 604 Tompkins Avenue in Mamaroneck. Kopy is seen speaking to Pete Cotter, the former Rye fire chief. Rye was there on mutual aid.)
(PHOTO: Kopy, far right, during his term as fire chief in Mamaroneck in 2004. The department was responding to a large fire at 604 Tompkins Avenue in Mamaroneck. Kopy is seen speaking to Pete Cotter, the former Rye fire chief. Rye was there on mutual aid.)

Through his career, Kopy has served over 40 years as a volunteer firefighter in Mamaroneck. He still responds to fires when he can, and is in the firehouse most days to work out. He holds state certification as an arson investigator.

Read Part Two of Top Kop: Meet the New Director of Public Safety. Learn about Kopy’s top priorities, his views on flooding and his expectations of local residents.

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