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New Police Chief Sworn into Office

Michael Sarlo, who took over the reins of the East Hampton Town Police Department, looked back on how he reached the top position and remembered those who helped him get there.

Michael Sarlo officially became the East Hampton Town Police Department's Chief on Saturday, nearly three months after the appointment was announced.

Sarlo was sworn in during a ceremony at East Hampton Town Hall before a large group of family, friends, and fellow police officers from across the East End. It was Fred Overton's last official duty as town clerk before he becomes a town councilman (Overton and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez will be sworn in, along with Supervisor-elect Larry Cantwell — all of whom where in attendance Saturday — on Jan. 2, starting at 9:30 a.m.)

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who leaves office in three days, said it was an honor overseeing Sarlo's appointment, one of his last acts as the town's leader. He also appointed Ed Ecker, just six months into his tenure as supervisor. Ecker retired this weekend after three and a half years in command and 32 years with the department.

"I can only hope I will represent our fine police department with the honor and dignity of our previous chiefs," Sarlo said, including Ecker's predecessor Todd Sarris, and Tommy Scott, who hired him 18 years ago.

To Ecker, who was in the audience, Sarlo said, "Your career has set the gold standard in service to the community. Your leadership and the example of service you've provided leaves a lasting legacy."

Sarlo said he hopes to serve with professionalism, compassion and integrity. "It's a great honor to serve the people of East Hampton," he said, thanking not only the officers in the department, but also firefighters and EMTs, town employees, school board members, and the town council for their service.

Ryan Lynch, a police officer who died in 2005 from cancer, was remembered at the ceremony. Lynch and Sarlo went to the academy together, were sworn in together in October 1995, and were roommates. "His sense of humor, humility, loyalty, professionalism, and excellence in police work were something to behold," Sarlo said, adding that he still wears Lynch's service weapon on his hip.
"I wish Ryan were here to share in this day."

A moment of silence was observed for Lynch.

Sarlo said he didn't realize until recently on how some early moments in his life effected his professional career. He spoke of receiving the Henry L. Miller Award for outstanding citizenship that he received as a senior at East Hampton High School. Miller, a 12th generation descendent of the founders of East Hampton was a police lieutenant.

He thanked Jim Nicoletti, a former high school baseball coach, who Sarlo said shaped the person he is today. He read from a cover letter of a high school baseball handbook that Nicoletti wrote in 1981, when Sarlo was an 11-year-old bat boy for his brother, Kevin's varsity team. The basic premiss were attention to detail, be prepared for every situation, learn from mistakes, and strive to be the best you can be.

"In spite of all the education, training, research I've done on leadership and management, it's amazing how simple and basic these tenants are and how much they've helped me throughout my career," Sarlo said.

Sarlo also pointed to those with whom he has worked closely, including his first field training officer, now a lieutenant, Thomas Grenci, and his partner when he worked in Montauk, Officer Matt Rodriguez, who retired on Saturday.

Sarlo announced that Detective Lt. Chris Anderson will replace him as captain and executive officer of the department. "We were high school football teammates — he was defensive back and I was a linebacker. We played the same side of the field together. I'm glad he's still on the same side of the field with me and he's always pushed me and held me to high standards," he said.

To his brother, Kevin Sarlo, a retired town police captain, he said: "I wish you could have held this rank. I know you would have been great at it."
Janice December 29, 2013 at 08:35 AM
Congratulations Mike.
chris tracey December 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Mike- Congratulations on your appointment .Well deserved.It is interesting to see you ,as well as your brother Kevin ,( retired captain E.H.T.P.D) following in leadership roles like you father Chris, long time and highly regarded principal of the East Hampton School District. Congratulations to Eddie Ecker on his 32 years of loyal and competent service to the community. As chief, you showed integrity, competence and incredible" people skills" ..Best wishes Mike, in your new and challenging endeavor.. Chris Tracey.
Kyle T. Lynch December 31, 2013 at 03:24 PM
On behalf of the entire Lynch family, I wish to congratulate you Mike on your appointment as East Hampton’s new Police Chief. You are clearly one of New York’s “Finest”. The tribute you paid to my brother, East Hampton Police Officer Ryan P. Lynch (1971-2005), at your inauguration touched our hearts. Thank you for honoring Ryan’s memory by wearing his service weapon on your hip every day. I know that Ryan shares our entire family’s belief that you will lead the EHPD with honor and dignity. With best wishes from Kyle T. Lynch and the Lynch Family.

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