Honoring Top Police Work

East Hampton Village Police Detective Lt. Tony Long, left, and Chief Mike Tracey, right, joined Police Officers Eben Ball and Bethany Semlear at a Southampton Kiwanis Club dinner to present them with officer of the year awards. East Hampton Village Police

One of the officers behind a major narcotics bust in Montauk over the summer was recognized for his work on the case by being named as the East Hampton Town Police Department’s officer of the year. Officer Arthur Scalzo was presented with the award at a Southampton Kiwanis Club dinner at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead on Friday night. 

Officer Scalzo, who has been assigned to the East End Drug Task Force for a little over a year, was the case officer in a wiretap investigation that took significant quantities of cocaine, oxycodone, and other pills off the street. Raids led to the seizure of $100,000 in cash and 650 grams of cocaine. 

“He was instrumental in this past summer’s large-scale narcotics investigation, which culminated with the arrest of 18 individuals on felony narcotics distribution charges,” Chief Michael Sarlo said. “As case officer, Artie worked diligently to coordinate E.H.T.P.D. detective and patrol division information and ensure the cooperation of federal, state, and county law enforcement.”

The case is still pending against five alleged ringleaders, who were indicted on drug felony and conspiracy charges. 

Officer Scalzo is in his 13th year with the department. He has received numerous commendations and was also named officer of the year in 2014. He is an Army veteran who served two tours in the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom, one while he was a full-time town police officer, as he was called up during his time in the Army Reserves. 

“We are very proud of the outstanding work Artie performed during 2018, and the impact he made for the safety of the community.” 

Two East Hampton Village police officers, Eben Ball and Bethany Semlear, were recognized at the dinner for reviving a teenager who suffered a near-fatal overdose in June.

A 19-year-old from Manhattan was found unconscious and unresponsive in the front yard of a Dunemere Lane property on June 2 around 6:30 a.m. He was barely breathing, and the officers administered Narcan, a treatment used on suspected opioid overdoses. The young man regained consciousness quickly and was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. 

“Interesting to note was that the officers subsequently arrested the same person later that day for a residential burglary, which had occurred shortly before the man collapsed,” Chief Mike Tracey said. As it turned out, the young man had kicked down the door at the house and “destroyed the interior,” a detective said at the time. Police found tables flipped over, windows broken, and items strewn about. 

Officer Ball has been with the department since August 2008, while Officer Semlear was hired in March of last year.  

In Sag Harbor, Sgt. Robert Drake, whom Chief Austin J. McGuire called his “right hand” since he took over the department three years ago, was named officer of the year. “I truthfully could not do it without him,” Chief McGuire said in his speech at the dinner. 

Sergeant Drake was chosen for his overall dedication to the department, but also for some outstanding work this year. One of Sergeant Drake’s duties is to be the department’s investigator and liaison with the state police, all while assigned to rotating shifts and holding supervisory duties. 

“This year, Rob recovered over $200,000 in stolen property for a village resident, over $13,000 in revenue for the village from a forgery case, and was instrumental in identifying and locating four individuals who were arrested for numerous cases involving burglaries and larcenies on the East End, and the recovery of tens of thousands of dollars of property,” Chief McGuire said. He also oversaw and assisted with the training of four new police officers. 

Sergeant Drake has been employed with the Sag Harbor department since 1999, when he was hired as a part-time officer. Two years later, he was hired full time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Hartford. 

He was promoted to sergeant three years ago, just as Chief McGuire transferred from the East Hampton Town Police Department. 

“He and I had been friends for many years and had worked together on occasion. Rob and I shared similar values and a vision of what direction we wanted to see the department go in,” the chief said. “What Rob had that I didn’t was the institutional knowledge and the trust of his colleagues, who knew him as hard-working and dependable.”

Sag Harbor Village Police Sgt. Robert Drake, left, was credited with recovering over $200,000 in stolen property for a village resident and over $13,000 in revenue for the village from a forgery case, Chief Austin J. McGuire, right, said. Sag Harbor Village Police