Richard Rivera fatally shot an NYPD officer in a Queens bar 40 years ago. He is now helping reform police in upstate New York as part of a state-mandated plan launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Rivera, who murdered off-duty officer and dad-of-four Robert Walsh in 1981 during a robbery, sits on a panel for Ithaca and Tompkins County as part of its “Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative.’’
“I know people are going to be critical,’’ Rivera, 56, told The Post on Monday when asked about the possible reaction to him sitting on the committee.
“I don’t know if [Walsh’s] family would find this acceptable,’’ he said. “I can’t control that. What I can control is the way I’ve been living my life.
“I’m holding the memory of Officer Walsh to the highest standard of policing in terms of a protector to the community, somebody who cares for the community.”
One of the slain officer’s sons said he is disgusted by the ex-con’s position on the advisory panel.
Rivera was 16 years old when he and four other gun-toting teens strolled into the BVD Bar and Grill in Maspeth just after midnight Jan. 12, 1981, looking to rob the joint.
Officer Walsh, a 36-year-old highly decorated cop with 12 years on the force, was inside hanging out after his shift.
As the off-duty officer identified himself as a cop and reached for his gun to try to stop the robbery, Rivera shot him in the shoulder. Rivera then walked over to the officer as he lay helplessly wounded on the floor, pressed his gun to the cop’s head and blasted him again, authorities said.
Rivera spent 39 years behind bars for the cold-blooded killing, before being released in 2019.
Rivera was appointed to the position based on his community involvement and job as an outreach coordinator helping the homeless through Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources of Tompkins County, LocalSYR.com reports.