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Nassau police promote six to captain's rank

Multiple felony arrests, the result of a joint

Multiple felony arrests, the result of a joint initiative to combat gang activity by street gangs in Hempstead and Uniondale, including narcotics trafficking, will be announced at a news conference Wednesday, July 8, 2015, Nassau County police said. This is a patrol car seen on Aug. 14, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Nassau County Police Department is promoting six members to captain -- the highest rank achieved through civil service testing.

The promotions were approved by Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and are effective Friday, the police department said Wednesday.

Those promoted include John Azzata, commanding officer of the homicide squad, who will be elevated from detective lieutenant to detective captain, and Gary Shapiro, commanding officer of community affairs, who rises from detective lieutenant to captain, the department said.

"These individuals studied for hundreds of hours for a very competitive exam," said Insp. Kenneth Lack, a department spokesman. "Few in the department ever attain the rank of captain."

The test for captain, like all police promotion exams, is administered through the Nassau County Civil Service Commission every two years.

The promotions are based mostly on the exam results, but the final decision is made by the police commissioner. Promotions are also based on which positions become open due to retirements.

The move to captain comes with a pay increase, but the department could not immediately provide salary details.

Also promoted to captain were: Alan Hirsch, who will serve as deputy commanding officer of the Third Precinct in Williston Park; Gary Stanzoni, who will become deputy commanding officer of the Fifth Precinct in Elmont; Mark Vitelli, the new deputy commanding officer of the Second Precinct in Woodbury; and Gregory Abruzzo, the new deputy commanding officer of the Seventh Precinct in Seaford.

The promotions coincide with new assignments for seven members who are either inspectors or deputy inspectors and also are effective Friday.

Insp. John Berry will serve as commanding officer of the Fourth Precinct in Hewlett; Insp. Robert Psoinas will head the Second Precinct; and Michael Studdert was designated executive officer of the detective division.

In other moves, Deputy Insp. James Bartscherer becomes commanding officer of the Fifth Precinct; Deputy Insp. Thomas Corona becomes the deputy commanding officer of the Tactical Field Services Bureau; Deputy Insp. Kenneth Mullane becomes commanding officer of the Records Bureau; and Insp. Robert Torres moves from the Seventh Precinct to support services.

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