Although new to the full-time ranks of the Southampton Village Police Department, Charles W. Knoebel is a familiar face at the Windmill Lane headquarters.
A part-time village employee for three years, Officer Knoebel will now follow the tradition of his grandfather and uncle before him, and patrol the streets of Southampton Village. Last Thursday night, Officer Knoebel’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Southampton Village Board, and the 22-year-old lifelong resident was sworn in as a third-generation officer in his family.
“He is a good hire by the village,” Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said this week. “He is a quality individual.”
A member of the Southampton High School class of 2009, Officer Knoebel always wanted to be a cop. His grandfather Theodore Raffel was the first family member to join the department, serving as a lieutenant until his death in 1986. His son, also named Theodore Raffel, is currently a sergeant on the force, on which he has served 19 years.
“I am very proud of my nephew C.J., and I know my father, Theodore Raffel, would be thrilled to have his grandson carry on the family tradition with the Southampton Village Police Department that he started in 1966,” Sergeant Raffel said this week in an email. “His hard work and dedication has finally paid off, and I couldn’t be happier for him!”
This week, Officer Knoebel, who is also pursuing a degree in business from Stony Brook University, said he is looking forward to working with both his uncle and the entire department, and that he hopes one day to move up the ranks.
He first got his feet wet with the village department in 2009, when he was hired as a traffic control officer. In 2012 and 2013, he moved up, working as a seasonal police officer during the busier summer months. At the same time, Officer Knoebel attended the Police Academy, going to six months of night classes five days a week, and all day on Saturday, on his own initiative, and paying out of his own pocket. Typically, an officer is hired by a municipality, which in turn foots the bill for the schooling.
“A lot of people get hired this way,” Officer Knoebel said. “It shows that they really want to do this as a career, and it really pays off.”
Last Wednesday, he said he was surprised when he was called into Police Chief Thomas Cummings’ office and told that he would be added to the full-time roster. The position, Chief Cummings said this week, became available recently when another officer retired, and there was never any doubt about hiring Officer Knoebel.
He was sworn in last Thursday night, and had his first full-time night shift on Friday. He will have a starting salary of $59,083.98.
“He was a good choice for us,” Chief Cummings said. “I think that overall, he has done a good job working for us, so when we had an opportunity to hire him, there was no hesitation.”