Suffolk event to honor 122 promoted officers

More than 120 Suffolk County police officers have been promoted within the past 12 months and will be honored next week at a ceremony held at Stony Brook University.

All of the promotions involve pay raises that have been accounted for in the department's 2013 budget, county officials said.

Included in the changes are new heads for Suffolk's three top departments. Department Chief James Burke and Commissioner Edward Webber named William Madigan to be chief of detectives, John Meehan to be chief of patrol and Mark White to be chief of support services.

In addition, the department has promoted to captain John Cahill, a detective lieutenant and commanding officer of the narcotics section, and Gerard Hardy, a lieutenant and commanding officer of the Fifth Precinct's crime section.

Also, the major crimes section will have a new commanding officer as Thomas Blomberg replaces Harold Jantzen.

The event will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Stony Brook University's Staller Center for the Arts.

"It's kind of the biggest promotion ceremony we've had because we didn't have one last year," said police spokesman Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon, himself newly appointed from deputy inspector.

The ceremony will also include members promoted to the ranks of inspectors, deputy inspectors, captains, lieutenants, detective lieutenants, sergeants, detective sergeants and detectives.

Fallon said there will be a total of 122 officers who were promoted in 2012 and 2013 attending the ceremony.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's office and the county legislature's independent budget review office said yesterday that the new promotions were included in the adopted 2013 budget.

Even with the promotions, the county budgeted nearly $16 million less for police salaries in 2013 than last year, mostly due to the wave of retirements within the department in 2012. The budget also assumes a new recruit class of 75 officers this fall.

Bellone budgeted $428.6 million for the police department this year, a 3.5 percent decrease from 2012. Personnel costs account for 95 percent of the department's budget.

In the department's 2013 budget, Fallon said, the county had allowed for 489 superior officer positions, which include sergeants, lieutenants and captains. With these promotions, the department now has 442 superior officers. In 2009, the department had 509 superior officers.

As of last fall, there were roughly 2,300 sworn personnel in the department.

In October, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved an eight-year contract with Suffolk police officers that will cost $268.7 million.

With Paul LaRocco

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