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East Hampton Officer Lauded for 'Selfless and Brave' Police Work

Wed, 02/21/2024 - 11:51
East Hampton Town Police Officer William Hamilton
Durell Godfrey

In 2023, East Hampton Town Police Officer William Hamilton apprehended a man who stole a car in Montauk and fled with multiple items taken from other vehicles; tracked down and arrested a man who had brandished a weapon in a road-rage incident, and assisted a driver who'd experienced a medical emergency on Montauk Highway, causing a serious traffic hazard.

All were "exemplary acts" of "quick-thinking, selfless, and brave police work," said Chief Michael Sarlo of the town police force, in announcing on Jan. 26 that Officer Hamilton had been chosen as the department's officer of the year for 2023. He has been with the department since 2021, stationed in Montauk since 2022, and was a paramedic for multiple ambulance agencies on the South Fork before that. He was one of 18 officers honored recently for "outstanding service," Chief Sarlo said in an email.

Officer Hamilton, a 2016 graduate of East Hampton High School, reflecting on his accomplishments on Tuesday, modestly called them "right place, right time" situations. "All the other officers would have done a good job too, if they had been put that position. It falls back on training. We train pretty consistently, with each squad going through monthly training in all different aspects" of the job.

"I was very surprised," he said of the award. "It's highly competitive and we have a lot of great people. I'm very appreciative of it for sure."

He said he most enjoys "being able to give back to the community that I grew up in," and thanked his colleagues for "the great job they do" as well.

East Hampton's Officer of the Year award is given in memory of Sgt. Ryan P. Lynch, who died of cancer in 2005 after serving on the town force for 10 years. On. Jan. 23, Officer Hamilton received the Southampton Kiwanis Police Officer of the Year Award as well.

Chief Sarlo also complimented the officer and detectives who trailed and apprehended a Montauk man alleged to be responsible for the antisemitic vandalism in the easternmost hamlet last year. The man has since been charged in Suffolk County Criminal Court with multiple felony-level hate crimes.

Together, the detectives also completed "several high-profile investigations" and made numerous other contributions, the chief said, in acknowledging Officer Hamilton, Detectives Michael Coleman, David Orlando, Frank Sokolowski, John Anderson, and Luke McNamara, and Detective Sgt. Ryan Hogan.

Additionally, Detective Arthur Scalza received a Meritorious Police Service Award. The Excellent Police Service Awards went to Officers James Gesa, Nicholas Kochanasz, Robert Stone, Andrew Nimmo, and Steven Piazza. Chief's Recognition Awards went to Officers Fierro, Ross Hamilton, Joseph Izzo, and Matthew Griffiths. Officers Fierro, Griffiths, and Izzo shared the D.W.I. Award, recognizing their skilled work in keeping intoxicated drivers off the roads. Police Officer Eric Cobb was honored with the department's Lifesaving Award.

"We are proud to honor" them, Chief Sarlo said, "for their outstanding service this past year."

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