Ryan was suspended without pay last May after he was charged drug possession as a result of a Bayonne police internal affairs investigation.
Based on a tip, then-Police Lt. George Farley of the Bayonne Narcotics Division and Sgt. Kevin Gallagher of the Bayonne Alcoholic Beverage Control Units began a surveillance operation that led them to Red Rock Saloon at West 17th Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan.
The two Bayonne investigators reported seeing Ryan and two female companions allegedly sharing cocaine from a bag.
According to Bayonne Deputy Police Chief Ralph Scianni, Farley and Gallagher worked with the New York Police Department Special Operations Unit, which made the arrest.
Scianni said the investigation was undertaken at the command of Police Chief Robert Kubert and Police Director Mark Smith, who have set a zero-tolerance rule for drug abuse in the Bayonne Police Department.
Tip led to investigation
Kubert said the department received a tip that Ryan was allegedly using drugs.
"But we have to develop a reasonable suspicion to test him, unless it is part of our random drug-testing program." Kubert said.
Kubert assigned Farley and Gallagher to keep track of Ryan to see if there was reason to test him. The officers began surveillance as Ryan left work.
"We wanted to see if he was going to make a purchase," Kubert said. "I was in constant touch with the officers." Then Ryan headed to New York City.
"They asked permission to follow him to New York, then observed him [allegedly] snorting cocaine with two women," Kubert said.
Because the officers were in New York City, they flagged down a New York City patrol car, told the officers who they were, and asked the New York police officers to make an arrest.
"Based on the information our officers gave them, the New York police officers made the arrest," Kubert said. "A search also found an additional packet of cocaine."
Kubert said both Bayonne officers were equipped with drug-testing kits and performed the test at the New York City police station where the booking took place. The results of the test came out positive for cocaine, Kubert said.
A plea agreement
Faced with criminal charges in New York and administrative action in Bayonne, Ryan pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Patella said Ryan's resignation was part of the plea agreement, and that Ryan's name will be added to the New Jersey State Police central registry.
"This will disqualify Ryan from serving in law enforcement anywhere in New Jersey again," Patella said.
Kubert said that even if Ryan had not pled, he would have been reported to the registry simply because he had tested positive.
The resignation will likely allow Ryan to avoid a department hearing and a possible firing. Patella said Ryan pled guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in Manhattan Criminal Court, allowing him to also avoid jail time. Police officials said the New York City District Attorney's office agreed to downgrade the charges because Ryan had no prior convictions.
Kubert said Ryan had been "a good cop" who did his job well, but that the Bayonne Police Department will not tolerate wrongdoing by any police officer, especially drugs.
"We do not want to compromise the safety of the public or other officers," he said. "I have to say he was a good cop and performed his duty well. I hope he gets help."
Kubert said Ryan could have received confidential help for his drug use through the city's Employee Assistance Program or could have approached a supervisor.
"But he chose not to avail himself of those opportunities, and so he has to suffer the consequences for his activity," Kubert said. "Drugs are a scourge of our society and nobody is left out. You have to be strong-willed and resist. Unfortunately, he will never be a police officer again."
A tainted department
Kubert, like Police Director Mark Smith and other officers, said Ryan's activities had tainted the reputation of the Bayonne Police Department.
"He may have inflicted a black eye on the Bayonne Police Department, but we delivered the knock-out punch," said Kubert, a fight enthusiast. "Yet it is a shame it happened. No one here wants to arrest one of our own. But it is something we won't tolerate. I hope he gets his life straightened out and seeks professional help."
Ryan, who served nine years at the Bayonne Police Department and slightly more than two years in the Hudson County Sheriff's Department, could face loss of pension, pending a hearing by the state.