East Hampton Village To Air Law That Would Give Village Board More Say In Police Discipline

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In light of recent allegations that an East Hampton Village Police officer and a traffic control officer were caught trespassing at a home on Talmage Lane, the East Hampton Village Board is working to make sure it has a say in the patrolman’s discipline, along with the police chief.

On February 6, the board will hold a hearing on a proposed new chapter in the village code that would allow the board to play an active role in doling out discipline to police officers as it sees fit.

According to Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., as it stands now, there are inconsistent provisions in police labor contracts, meaning that the village is bound by certain caveats in the present Police Benevolent Association’s contract that limits the board’s abilities when it comes to disciplinary hearings.

The new code, Chapter 219, would be similar to Southampton Village’s law, which outlines the Village Board’s role in disciplinary hearings.

According to that law, Southampton Village Board members have the power to discipline a member of the Police Department by reprimand, fine, suspension, dismissal and demotion, and can appoint a hearing officer and stenographer for that officer’s hearing.

Last week, the East Hampton Village Police Department took disciplinary action against the officer who was allegedly caught trespassing in a home with a 20-year-old TCO.

While the TCO, Jennifer Rosa, was fired from her job that day, the 31-year-old patrolman, who police sources said was Mario Julio Galeano, was put on paid leave and relieved of his badge and firearm—actions that conformed with contract terms with the Police Benevolent Association.

According the East Hampton Village Board’s proposal, Chapter 219 would ensure that disciplinary procedures in the Police Department are fair, uniform and consistent with village law.

Mr. Rickenbach said he couldn’t say if the new code would alter the outcome of Mr. Galeano’s case, but that he wants the mayor and the Village Board to have as much discretion as possible when an incident arises that is “as unfortunate as this.”

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