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Hempstead Village hires new officer, promotes five others

Hempstead Village Hall is seen on Thursday, Feb.

Hempstead Village Hall is seen on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Village Police Department hired a new officer and promoted five others to the rank of detective last week.

The moves were official on Dec. 5 when the village’s board of trustees voted to approve the measures.

The board of trustees also waived the department’s residency requirements so Diana Reyes could be hired. Village residents are given priority in hiring but officials said the department has “exhausted” the list of residents who have taken the Civil Service test.

Reyes served as an FDNY paramedic for 12 years, Chief Michael McGowan said. She lives in Nassau County but the chief would not disclose where. Her salary is $52,832.

“She shows a lot of promise,” Chris Giardino, president of the department’s Police Benevolent Association, said.

Reyes’ hiring brings the force up to 128 officers, and she is now one of 21 female officers. McGowan said he hopes to hire more officers but 128 “is our budgeted allotment” and there are no plans to increase it.

Also last week, the board of trustees awarded the rank of detective to five officers: Russell Harris, John Martini, Louis Rodriguez, Martino Derisi and Roman Pettway. They received the designation after working 18 months in the department’s investigative units.

They each received a roughly $10,000 raise, bringing their salaries to about $137,000 or $138,000 depending on their seniority, McGowan said.

“It helps us to function more efficiently and it helps with morale,” the chief said of the hiring and promotions.

Giardino said a detective’s shield is often a goal for officers.

“You’re coming off patrol and now you’re an investigator,” he said.

The department also received the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for $35,460. McGowan said the department has received the funding for about 10 years and it goes toward paying for items such as bulletproof vests, computer software and surveillance equipment.

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