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Village's Newest Cop Is 'One of Our Own'

Thu, 04/25/2024 - 19:09
East Hampton Village Mayor Jerry Larsen looked on as the acting police chief, Jeff Erickson, pinned a police shield on his department's new hire, Nicholas Lavelle, on Friday.
Christopher Gangemi

A smattering of news involving the village's Police and Emergency Services Departments came out of an East Hampton Village Board meeting that was otherwise focused on avoiding the need for residents to call the police for noise complaints in the historic district.

First, the village has a new cop patrolling the streets. Nicholas Lavelle was assigned shield number 89 by an appreciative Acting Police Chief Jeff Erickson, who acknowledged the difficulties the department has had hiring new officers.

"It's been a very arduous task, with Civil Service and training requirements, to fill those. We're actively working to get our ranks up," he told the board.

Mr. Lavelle started with the village in 2018 as a traffic control officer. Mr. Erickson said this was a common route into the department. Being a T.C.O., he said, "kind of becomes a steppingstone. It's really a privilege when one of our own is moving up."

Mr. Lavelle's smiling parents were present as Mr. Erickson pinned the badge on their son's chest. "They are part of the puzzle too," he said. "I appreciate their dedication, letting their son come to work in the ranks of the East Hampton Village Police Department."

The village's Department of Emergency Services, home to the village ambulance, is also struggling to maintain its numbers. Gerry Turza, the fire and emergency medical services administrator, showed the board a new recruitment video featuring East Hampton High School's emergency medical services club, started by Mary Mott, the E.M.S. chief, over the winter.

Members of the club "represent new vitality in the department," Mr. Turza said.

The video starts with Jordan Dias, a student and club member, speaking over upbeat music while preparing for an ambulance call. "I do kind of feel the adrenaline coming every time a call goes out," he says. The video shows a portion of one of the club meetings, with Mr. Turza dressed in firefighter gear speaking into a radio while Mary Ellen McGuire, the first assistant E.M.S. chief, plays the role of an injured patient. Later, Ms. Mott speaks about personal growth and giving back to the community.

"We're going to push this out onto social media," Mr. Turza told the board. Since last summer, similar videos have been made promoting the village life guards and the Fire Department. "The E.M.S. is not looked at as being very glamorous," he said. "The Fire Department has trucks, and we have flames. But if you really want to make a difference in someone's life, E.M.S. is how you do it."

The board also accepted the results of the Fire Department officer elections. For 2024-2025, Duane Forrester will once again be chief. Christopher Hatch will be first assistant chief, and Rory Knight was elected second assistant chief.

After a discussion at March's meeting about the virtues of speed cameras, the board approved $47,821 to purchase 10 of them. Marcos Baladron, the village administrator, said later that they will be spread throughout the village, on Further Lane, Newtown Lane, Main Street, Cooper Lane, and Buell Lane.

Finally, the board approved the sale of 44 items deemed surplus by the Police Department, from the property and evidence room. These included a silver ring, an Apple laptop, a women's Bulgari watch, and a pair of men's boxer shorts. The items will be auctioned off on propertyroom.com.

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