Inspector Mike Doyle retires after 33 years protecting Garden City
When Inspector Mike Doyle walks out the door on Sept. 27, he’ll be leaving the Garden City Police Department after 33-and-a-half years on the job. During that time, he has seen plenty and forged an indelible bond with the only community he’s known ever since coming straight out of the Nassau County Police Academy. While his initial options were Brookville and Garden City, he’s forever grateful that he chose the latter, given how close he’s gotten to the people he has served over time. With his wife having retired from her job as a typist for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office back in December and the financial constraints tied to Doyle continuing in his current position, retirement was the next logical step. Even if it was one he didn’t want to take.
“I don’t want to go. This is probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make because I love the job,” he said. “This is my home, so it’s very difficult to walk away from it.”
Commissioner Kenneth Jackson trained Doyle and worked with him for his entire 33-year career in Garden City. Jackson was quick to point out how much his colleague and friend will be missed.
“From the day he walked in, I knew he would be a great cop and he did not disappoint. He had a very distinguished career. He was a guy everyone looked up to and emulated,” Jackson said. “He was a great cop, a great Sergeant, a great Lieutenant and a great Inspector. He is what a cop should be—professional, dedicated and sincere. I wish him the best during his well-deserved retirement.”
The youngest of 14 children (“I was the baby and the last of the Mohicans”), Doyle grew up in Central Islip, where he followed in the footsteps of two older brothers, Vinny and Bobby, who both served in the New York City Police Department, with the latter retiring as a first-grade detective. Other family members are either cops or volunteer firefighters including brother-in-law John, who is a Suffolk County Highway officer. But even after taking the Nassau County Police Department exam, the Eastport resident wasn’t immediately convinced law enforcement was the path he wanted to go down.
“[When] I took the test. I was still young and wasn’t even certain if this was going to be the career for me,” Doyle recalled. “I believed it would be, but I wasn’t sure. Once I started, I knew that this was what I was meant to do. There’s no other job like this.”
A proud father of three (34-year-old Michael, 32-year-old Kyle and 27-year-old Margaret), Doyle was a patrolman for six years and 11 months before being promoted to sergeant. He’s spent the past seven and a half years as inspector, a position that makes him the deputy commanding officer of the department. As rewarding as it’s all been, there are definite challenges that came with this kind of responsibility.
“Law enforcement is challenging in the respect that you’re not always dealing with people who are happy to see you. A lot of times there are things that are not going well in their lives. I think for me, the most challenging or difficult thing is when you feel like you just can’t do enough and change the outcome of things,” Doyle explained. “You put your best effort in, but the outcome isn’t what you want it to be. That can be challenging. You have to feel comfortable that you did the best you could, even though it didn’t pan out.”
That said, he’s found plenty to feel rewarded about ranging from his being hand-picked by former Commissioner Cepullo to head up renovation of the department to being asked to represent the 19 other village and city police departments in a communications overhaul that was part of the Nassau County Radio System project. Doyle was heavily involved with many facets of the process ranging from the request for proposal (RFP) to selecting the vendor. It’s a project he continues to rightfully be proud of.
“That [project] was especially vital right after 9/11, because 9/11 brought out all the flaws and defects that we and everybody else had in their systems,” he said. “Now we can communicate with all 19 villages and cities, the MTA, Nassau County and New York City. So wherever our cops go, they can communicate with people. It is so vital to their safety and everybody else’s safety.”
Doyle is especially proud of the current five-year, village-wide, security upgrade that is three years in and initially started out with the Garden City precinct.
“I’m not going to be here to complete it. But when that is done, the Village of Garden City is going to have a state-of-the-art security system like no other,” he said. “From the parking field on Seventh Street to the parks and playgrounds to the library to every facility that is owned by the village, we’re going to have a state-of-the-art security system and that’s going to be a tremendous thing when it’s done.”
In the meantime, Doyle will most miss the relationships he’s cultivated after three-plus decades on the job that’s resulted in it being a true representation of community policing.
“With working in a place like Garden City, it becomes like a family. You’re here every day and you’re involved in people’s lives intimately—the good and the bad. So when you’re doing the same thing in the same village, you get to know the people,” he said. “They become your friends and acquaintances. You get to know them and it really becomes a family. Garden City becomes more of your town than your hometown because you spend more time here. You really wind up developing some intimate relationships with people.”