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Smithtown Department of Public Safety Honors Outstanding Officers And Promotes Peace Officers During Annual Ceremony

On Wednesday, May 15th, 2024, the Town of Smithtown Department of Public Safety ,and Town Officials honored department members during the annual ceremony, which is held during National Police Week every year. Awards were presented to nine Public Safety officers for exceptional dedication and commitment to the job. The ceremony was led by Chief Tom Lohmann, Director of Public Safety with support from Deputy Director, Catherine Caillat and division leaders.

“It is with a great sense of pride that I get to present these officers with their recognitions for the selfless work throughout the year.  Having been with this department for over twenty years I have seen day in and day out the dedicated service which all members of the department provide to the residents and visitors of the township.  All of our the officers who were promoted and those who received departmental awards are extremely deserving of their recognitions.” – Chief Tom Lohmann, Director of Public Safety

Harbormaster Thomas Daly and Harbormaster Donny Edwards were presented with the Meritorious Service Awards for a daring Smithtown Bay rescue of two badly burned boaters. The Exceptional Service Award was presented to Fire Marshals Timothy Clark, Matthew Raia, Zakary Griffin, Kyle McCarthy, and James Easton for their actions during a residential structure fire. The Department Recognition Award was presented to Sergeant Scott Roberts for his actions during an overdose incident at Long Beach. The award for Peace Officer of the Year was presented to Fire Marshal Matthew Raia for exemplary qualities and characteristics associated with being a dedicated law enforcement professional.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to commend the Smithtown Department of Public Safety today, along with the honorees, your families, and those Peace Officers receiving a promotion in rank, for their exceptional dedication and commitment to the job. The role of a peace officer is far more complex than it was just a decade ago… requiring a greater level of fortitude, affinity, and steadfast dedication to service. You make us proud every day and it’s truly an honor to acknowledge and properly thank you and your families.” – Councilman Tom Lohmann, Liaison Smithtown Department of Public Safety

Additionally, four officers were recognized for receiving promotions prior to the presentation of awards. Thomas Smith was promoted from Park Ranger Sergeant to Park Ranger Lieutenant. Brendan Dennihy was promoted from Park Ranger Investigator to Park Ranger Sergeant. Brian Cann was promoted from Park Ranger to Park Ranger Sergeant. Christopher Gonzalez was promoted from Park Ranger to Park Ranger Investigator.

“I would like to commend this year’s recipients, and congratulate those receiving much deserved promotions in rank. The Department of Public Safety is a shining example of what it means to protect and serve the people of Smithtown. As we close out National Police Week, it gives me great pride to thank each of you for your service, on behalf of the citizens of Smithtown.”  – Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, Town of Smithtown

Meritorious Service Award – Harbormaster Thomas Daly and Harbormaster Donny Edwards

Harbormasters Daly and Edwards received the Meritorious Service Award for the daring rescue which took place on the evening of August 5, 2023, when they were dispatched to a report of a vessel explosion in the Smithtown Bay. Harbormasters Daly and Edwards arrived on scene (aboard vessel S-312) within three minutes of the initial call to find two separate vessels. One of which was emitting large amounts of smoke with two severely injured individuals on board, holding a lit flare. The Harbormasters could smell excessive amounts of gasoline coming from the smoking vessel and immediately instructed the pair to extinguish the flare in prevention of a secondary explosion. While the vessel was continuing to emit large amounts of smoke, the harbormasters did precariously and cautiously approach the subject’s vessel to perform an emergency evacuation of the injured boaters. Harbormaster Daly skillfully maintained control over both vessels, while Harbormaster Edwards rescued the injured boaters, safely bringing them aboard Public Safety’s vessel. Both individuals were suffering from severe burns. As such, a command decision was made for an immediate transport of the individuals to the Stony Brook Dock for treatment and transport to Stony Brook Hospital. Prior to departure from the location, Stony Brook Fire Department Marine Unit 5A3-26 arrived on scene. The Fire Department vessel arrived with two New York State EMT’s to board Public Safety’s S-312 vessel with additional medical equipment and burn kits to render aid to both victims. The Harbormasters immediately transported the victims and EMT’s to the Stony Brook Fire Department Ambulance which was waiting at the dock. The Stony Brook Fire Department’s vessel remained on scene to monitor the condition of the two remaining occupants of the subject vessel who had been relocated to the good Samaritan vessel. Stony Brook FD extinguished the remaining fire within the engine compartment. Suffolk County Police’s Delta Boat, towed the subject vessel to the Stony Brook Boat Ramp for further investigation.

Exceptional Service Awards were presented to Fire Marshals Timothy Clark, Matthew Raia, Zakary Griffin, Kyle McCarthy, and James Easton for their actions during a residential structure fire.

On the morning of March 8, 2024 the Department of Public Safety was alerted to a residential fire on Maple Avenue, in Smithtown. Fire Marshal’s Clark, Raia, Griffin, McCarthy, and Easton responded to assist the Smithtown Fire Department in any way possible. The active fire involved 250 lbs. Liquid Propane Gas Cylinder to the rear of the property. The fire could have easily spread to structures on the property, making rapid mitigation critical. While the Smithtown Fire Department was able to successfully extinguish the active fire, the escaping liquid propane gas posed a threat. The first arriving Marshals recognized the need to perform a burn off of the remaining gas within the cylinder to safely and efficiently mitigate the danger. Sr. Fire Marshal Clark called for the burn off kit which is part of the specialty equipment maintained by the Fire Prevention Division.  Fire Marshals Timothy Clark, Matthew Raia, Zakary Griffin, Kyle McCarthy, and James Easton utilized their hazardous materials training and incident management skills to successfully, safely mitigate the danger. Their efforts eliminated any real possibility of the fire extending to other areas of the property including the garage and residence itself. Their actions prevented the fire from spreading to other structures, earning them the Exceptional Service Award.

The Department Recognition Award – Sergeant Scott Roberts*

(This is Sergeant Robert’s Fifth Department Recognition Award)

The Department Recognition award was presented to Sergeant Robert’s for his actions during an overdose incident at Long Beach on May 10, 2023. Harbormasters Shannon, Gifford, and Sergeant Scott Roberts responded to a possible overdose call at Long Beach Marina. After an initial search of the parking lot turned up empty, they expanded their search to the beach area, utilizing their four-wheel drive vehicles. At 2:42 PM Shannon and Gifford found the victim approximately a quarter mile from the nearest roadway. Sergeant Roberts arrived moments later to find a “Good Samaritan,” who was an off-duty New York City Fireman, pulling the victim up the shoreline. The Good Samaritan relayed his observation of the male victim stumbling while he was surfcasting, he observed the victim slowly collapse onto his back at the water’s edge. Based on his observations, there were no indications that this was a water related incident. Sergeant Roberts, Harbormasters Shannon & Gifford as well as the good Samaritan began medical care on the victim who was not breathing and had an insufficient pulse. His eyes were in fixed positions with pinpoint pupils. At approximately 2:43 PM, Harbormaster Shannon administered the first dose of Narcan. As a New York State EMT Sergeant Roberts retrieved oxygen and a BVM resuscitation device from his vehicle. Harbormaster Gifford started chest compressions while Sergeant Roberts performed manual ventilation with the BVM. With little to no effect from the first dose of Narcan, Harbormaster Shannon and Sergeant Roberts administered a second dose of Narcan. After eight minutes working on the victim, (2:51 PM) a strong pulse and spontaneous breathing was observed in the patient. He regained consciousness and was able to assist in his extrication from the beach where a Nissequogue Fire Department Ambulance was waiting. The victim intimated to responding officers that he had recently undergone back surgery and had over administered narcotic painkillers to himself to lessen discomfort. Sergeant Scott Roberts’ life-saving actions earned him the Department Recognition Award.

Peace Officer of the Year- Fire Marshal Matthew Raia

Fire Marshal Matthew Raia has distinguished himself over the course of the year and exemplifies the qualities and characteristics associated with being a dedicated law enforcement professional.

In recognition of his unwavering dedication and exemplary service, Fire Marshal Raia is awarded the Peace Officer of the Year Award. His commitment to duty, positive attitude, and tireless work ethic set a standard for all members to follow. Demonstrating a continuous pursuit of knowledge, Fire Marshal Raia actively seeks out training opportunities and collaborates with fellow department members to enhance his skills. His significant contributions, particularly in joint efforts with the Suffolk County Police to combat illegal massage parlors and vape shops, underscore his invaluable role in ensuring public safety. The unanimous nomination and approval by the command staff speak volumes about Fire Marshal Raia’s exceptional character and contributions. It is with great pride that we honor him with this distinguished award, recognizing his outstanding service and dedication to the community.

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