St. Patrick’s Day was a quiet holiday for many this year, but for Glen Cove Police Detective Chris Albin, it was a bittersweet celebration. He retired from the Glen Cove Police Department after 27 years that day, greeted as he walked out the back door of the building by three pipe bands, members of various police departments and a Nassau County Aviation helicopter fly-by.
St. Patrick’s Day has always been significant for the 53-year-old Albin. At age 12, he joined a pipe band as a snare drummer, beginning a long tradition of playing in St. Patrick’s Day parades. In 2017, he and his mother, Julie Albin, were the co-grand marshals of the city parade. Six years earlier he had been promoted to detective on March 17, and four years later to the day, he walked out of the building for the final time.
“It was very emotional walking out those doors for the last time,” Albin said. “It was a great sendoff.”
Albin grew up in Locust Valley, and has spent the bulk of his life serving the local community. In high school he began volunteering at Glen Cove Hospital, where he discovered a love for emergency medicine. He joined the Locust Valley Fire Department in the summer of 1985, after graduating from high school, and became an emergency medical technician that fall. He enrolled at Nassau Community College that year, and became a registered nurse two years later. While he was in school, he also joined the Glen Cove Volunteer EMS. In 1987 he was hired to work in the intensive care unit at Glen Cove Hospital, and several years later he decided to pursue another dream.
“I really wanted to help my community,” Albin said of his decision to join the Police Department. “My uncle was a police officer, and I saw him and what he achieved, how he helped the community over the years,” he said. “I felt that with my skill set of being a nurse, combined with what I would learn at the police academy, I could really help my community in ways that a lot of other people couldn’t.”
‘Best job I ever had’
He was sworn into the GCPD in May 1994, and he continued to work as a nurse at the hospital for many years. In his law enforcement career he worked in numerous roles, from motorcycle patrol to narcotics enforcement, and received a number of accolades, including 53 department commendations for Excellent Police Duty, the Nassau County Chief’s Award for distinguished service, citations from the American Legion for exceptional police action and recognition by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers for DWI enforcement. He was also a member of the department’s hostage-negotiation team. In 2010, Albin was named Glen Cove Police Officer of the Year by Chief William Whitton.
“It was the best job I ever had,” he said. “I was able to come in contact with so many people, and help them in so many different ways.”
He described a career that was rewarding in both large and small ways, from helping people who called for an ambulance to assisting them when they locked their keys in their car, consoling them after they lost a loved one, or letting them know when a burglar was caught or an assault suspect arrested. “It’s a good feeling,” he said, “and I was pretty fortunate to work some big cases.”
In 2013, Albin assisted in the investigation and arrest of a Locust Valley man for second-degree murder. The following year, he arrested a known gang member for attempted murder while investigating a Glen Cove home invasion. In 2017 he helped save the life of a man who was severely burned in the wooded area of the Glen Street Long Island Rail Road station. In that investigation, Albin determined that the victim had been intentionally set on fire, and he ultimately arrested a homeless man, who was charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault.
As committed as Albin has always been to his job and his community, last year took a toll on him, as it did on many others. He tested positive for Covid-19 last March, and was out of work for two and a half months. He returned to work for five days, but then had to have emergency abdominal surgery, and was out for another four months. Then he was on restricted assignment.
“It was difficult for me because I was experiencing all these things, and I wanted to be there with my fellow officers, helping, but I couldn’t,” he recounted. “I loved my job — I still do — but a contributing factor towards my retirement was the health issues, realizing it was time.”
That special day in March
Albin is a member of the Nassau County Police Department Emerald Society Pipe Band, which traditionally marches up Manhattan’s 5th Avenue every year in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I thought, how appropriate would it be for me to walk out on, not only my anniversary, but be able to have the band come and play for me at my walkout ceremony?” he said. “Little did I know that not only would my band show up, but there were also members of the Suffolk County Police Department Emerald Society Pipe Band and MTA Police Emerald Society Pipe Band waiting for me.”
Also on hand for Albin’s final walk out of GCPD headquarters were many of his friends and relatives, as well as members of the Nassau and Suffolk County police departments, the Port Washington Police, the State Parks Police, Nassau County Aviation, the Nassau County district attorney’s office and the FBI, the Glen Cove and East Norwich fire departments and Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke.
Albin said he formed a lot of great relationships over the years. “It was a wonderful feeling to see them all there,” he said.
“Chris Albin was an accomplished police officer and investigator,” Whitton said, “and he will be missed by not only his police family, but by the entire Glen Cove community.”
Detective Lt. John Nagle described Albin as a “very knowledgeable, accomplished and determined” investigator. “He solved some horrendous cases, and other officers always asked him for feedback on investigations,” Nagle said. “He was very helpful, and as a nurse, he was able to help out on cases involving injuries, which is a good trait to have. We’re definitely going to miss him.”
Albin said he would miss helping the community, and the close-knit world of law enforcement. “The camaraderie you have in a police department is second to none,” he said. “You’re put into situations that the normal person doesn’t have to deal with, and you have to rely on your coworkers to be there for you, whether it’s for physical assistance or mental assistance. The camaraderie I will definitely miss, and I will miss helping my community. Every aspect of my life has been helping the community that I live in, and I’m going to miss that.”