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Ace Detective Tina Giles Gets Top Honors

Giles credited with bringing a major sex abuser to justice.

Tina Giles, a detective with the East Hampton Town Police Department, is being lauded for cracking one of the town's biggest sex abuse cases.

After a victim came forward in April claiming rape, Fidel Castro-Brito was arrested for the crime. But Giles had a feeling there was more to the case. "Her instincts took over and she knew there was more to it," Chief Ed Ecker said. "It was fantastic police work."

In late November, a Suffolk County grand injury handed down a 70-count felony indictment related to criminal sex acts against three young victims.

"It was a pretty a chilling case," Ecker said. "Even in the DA's office, or with detectives who have been doing this for a long time, no one had ever seen anything like this before," he said.

Due in part to her work on the case, Giles was named the 2012 Officer of the Year. Each year, Ecker asks for input from department supervisors. "Detective Giles was overwhelmingly selected," he said. She will be presented with an award at the annual Kiwanis Club awards ceremony and dinner on Jan. 25.

Giles is a 27-year veteran of the department. "It's her whole body of work," Ecker said. "She was a great cop, a fantastic detective, and a loyal employee," he said.

An East Hampton native, Giles first worked for the department as a traffic control officer in the summers during college. The department made good use of her Spanish-speaking abilities, even then. She got her first taste of police work, helping officers translate.

At the University of Connecticut, she earned a degree in Latin American Studies — "What I was going to do with it? I don't know," she laughed. She wasn't always sure, like many are, that she wanted to be a police officer. "I knew I wanted to wear a uniform," she said, adding that her brother-in-law, Larry Smith, was a town police officer at the time. Perhaps it was the authoritative position, she said.

Giles soon joined the department, just a year after graduating college in 1985. In the interim she worked as a bilingual receptionist at a mental health clinic.

As an officer, she spent five years on patrol before becoming the department's DARE officer in the schools. About 21 years ago, she was promoted to detective — the department's first and still only female detective — taking over the Juvenile Aid Bureau, which handles crimes committed by or against children under the age of 16.

Giles believes it was her language skills — which she refers to as a "proficiency" in Spanish — that helped her rise in the small department so quickly.

Detective Lt. Chris Anderson, who leads the detective division, said, "Tina is extremely dedicated to what she does, she cares about what she does — she's basically the consummate professional."

He agrees with the police chief that it was "her drive, her sixth sense that she had about the strong possibility of being more victims" that led to that 70-count indictment — one of the department's biggest cases ever. In fact, he said, the case took them outside of their jurisdiction, forwarding information to other agencies. "We have secured a 71 count indictment, but that doesn't mean that's all that happened."

Giles is an "invaluable" member of the department, Anderson said, noting that she has helped "bridge a gap" with the Latino community to let them know "we're there to help them and they don't need to be afraid."

Not all small departments have the luxury a detective who speaks Spanish. When just using interpreters, officers may garnish the facts, but there's something that gets lost. "In the detective line of things, a lot rides on how things are said, non-verbal communication, and you lose a lot. It's invaluable to have her on staff."

Giles said there were only three female police officers hired before her. The department currently has seven women officers, Giles remains the only female detective. There are even fewer African-Americans on the job.

"It's hard to find another me; a female, minority, and Spanish speaker," Giles said.

One of the things she likes best about her job is seeing children, who have made mistakes, rebound, whether it's simply graduating from high school or holding down a job. "You see people at their worst, and then, hopefully, you get to see them at their best," she said.

Asked what she's been most proud of during her career, Giles said: "Being able to save people's lives, especially children." As a mother of two — She and her husband of 24 years, Louis O'Neal , are parents to Myra, a 20-year-old student at UConn, and Raya, 16, — it's difficult not to become personally invested in cases "even when you want to take kid/victims home."

While she followed her instincts in the Castro-Brito case, Giles says she does nothing alone. "You need others to help you do your job It takes a whole squad to work."

Sophie7 January 07, 2013 at 10:13 PM
u go girl! Tina Giles has always been an amazing woman!
Linda Biscardi Fuller January 07, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Excellent, congratulations to Detective Giles, East Hampton's finest!
Shrinkgirl January 07, 2013 at 10:56 PM
You rock Tina
bill wilkinson January 07, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Tina 2012 Officer of the Year. The Town of East Hampton is extremely proud of your work and admire your passion for your community. Bill Wilkinson
East Hampton School District January 08, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Congratulations, Tina!
Kevin Gray January 08, 2013 at 12:30 AM
A true asset to our community. Authentic and endearing, Thank you, Tina.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Via East Hampton Patch's Facebook page, Peggy Nichols English said, "Congrats Tina."
Rev. Dr. Katrina Foster January 08, 2013 at 04:00 AM
One of the best law enforcement officers I've known. Detective Giles is a true blessing to our communities.
Rick Hoyt January 08, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Congratulations Tina ! For Your years of great service to the Community.Especially, for rooting out these monsters-sexual predators, they are a Scourge to Humanity.
Drtee-Dancer January 08, 2013 at 05:40 AM
Thank you Tina for your service & dedication - the town of East Hampton is lucky to have you.
Dawn Brophy January 08, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Congratulations Tina! Thank you for your years of service to our growing community. Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!
Joan Lycke January 08, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Tina, So proud of you have watched you grow from high school and college and then become the great woman and mother you are today. All of the community here in E.H. are so lucky to have you. Congratulations on a job well done!!
Martha Nassauer January 08, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Congratulations, Detective Giles. And, thank you. Martha
joyce mcfadden January 08, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Congratulations Tina! Our community is lucky to have your intelligence and compassion keeping our kids safe. You're an inspiration.
Steve Haweeli January 08, 2013 at 12:49 PM
An amazing woman - we are blessed to have her in our community!
larry cantwell January 08, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Tina, You make us all proud, congratulations for the work you do and the person you are.
Debra Brodie Foster January 08, 2013 at 03:14 PM
When we worked together at Springs School, I could always trust that you would do the right thing for our students and they knew with your quiet strength that you were in their corner. Well done,
Tom Friedman January 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM
I knew when I met Tina in the 90's that she was a wonderful asset to the community. This was just another feather in her cap. All the best to her.
Penny Benbenek January 09, 2013 at 02:07 AM
*Applause* An honor earned & well deserved. Thank you Tina for your many years of hard work & dedication to keeping our kids safe. Congrats!
Juliette Logie January 09, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Congratulations Tina for a job well done!
connie thomas January 09, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Tina's great at what she does, but more importantly, she's a great person!
Carolyn Bistrian January 10, 2013 at 02:28 AM
a great dancer and an ace detectve too -- YAY YOU, Tina! Many, many congratulations!
Mommy January 10, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Great job Tina!
Dorine Drohan January 10, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Way to go Tina... So Proud of you and I am sure Aunt Helen is as well!!!
tali icepack jackson January 11, 2013 at 06:46 PM
congratz tina, tali
cam gleason January 12, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Congratulations Tina! And our community thanks you for your pursuit of the perpetrator of threats to our children Cam
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 26, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Detective Giles broke another barrier. Find out more here: http://patch.com/A-1zdL

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