COLONIE At just 19 years old, a young Steven Heider started working as a public safety dispatcher with the Town of Colonie Police Department. It was 1973, a challenging time for police departments still reeling from the Vietnam War and racial unrest of the ’60s. However, crime was uncommon in the town and most officers only fit the role of a part-time job.
As a Colonie resident for most of his life, Heider felt right at home with the department, immediately beginning to secure relationships that would eventually lead to a full-time job with the department.
“(The department) proved to me in a very short time it was an organization that wanted to move forward,” Heider said. “It was very progressive in adopting to new things, ways of investigation, ways to treat employees.”
Forty-one years later, Heider has never left the police department and has moved up its ranks to become the fifth chief of police in the town. Just last week, he took on his newest responsibility as the president of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, a voluntary agency created to help serve the people of New York, maintain law and order, as well as exercising democracy in government, a role Heider was eager to fill.
“At the end of the day, I still enjoy coming to work as much as I did in 1973 when I started. That’s a beautiful thing,” Heider said.
A graduate of both Colonie Central High School and Russell Sage College, Heider said he knew he wanted to join law enforcement as a kid. Since his time with the department, Heider has worked in numerous fields, including being in charge of narcotics as well as detectives, which he said was the “most exciting part” of his career because he had control over how every case was handled. He has had a long list of community outreach activities, including serving on the Amber Alert Committee, Juvenile Justice Task Force, as well as conducting seminars at Siena College and The University at Albany on child abuse and drug and alcohol issues.