Westhampton Beach officials have named Trevor Gonce the village’s police chief, after he led the department for 18 months as provisional chief.
Village board members voted 4-0 on June 2 to promote Gonce, a member of the department since 1995, as the official head of the 14-officer force.
Gonce, 43, had led the department in his provisional role since December 2014, following the retirement of his predecessor, Ray Dean.
“Honestly, nothing is changing for me,” Gonce said in an interview Thursday. “I’m still pushing forward on everything I was working on. I guess it’s just more of a formality.”
Gonce, who previously served as lieutenant, said he passed the civil service test for police chief on March 5.
Westhampton Beach’s police force patrols the 5-square-mile village in western Southampton Town where about 1,700 people live year-round — and where tourists and part-time residents descend each Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Gonce said he has been working at “getting the department where it should be” in terms of staffing and technology.
He said the department has hired three officers since September, including its first full-time female officer, Ashley Czelatka, who was sworn in June 2.
Gonce also said the department purchased four body cameras last year, for about $1,000, that patrol officers can wear clipped to their uniforms as early as July.
“It’s more for protection, just from everything that’s been happening,” the chief said, referring to increased scrutiny of police officers nationwide as a result of several high-profile police killings. “I think it’s going to be a trend that’s going to be mandated at some point. I had the right opportunity to get it done.”
Gonce said he would continue to work toward state accreditation for the department, which officials said could protect the village from lawsuits and reduce insurance premiums.
Gonce’s base salary of $148,492 remains unchanged from his time as provisional chief. He is working without a contract and, as chief, may now negotiate one with the village board.