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Village's Officer of the Year Uncovered Rape

Mario Julio Galeano, the department's only Latino officer, will be lauded at a dinner later in January.

East Hampton Village Police Officer Mario Julio Galeano has been named the department's 2012 Officer of the Year and will be honored at the annual Kiwanis Club dinner on Jan. 25.

Like his counterpart, Detective Tina Giles, at the town police department, Galeano was selected, in part, because of his tenacity that led to bringing forth a rape case.

In January of 2012, Galeano was turning around at the rest stop in Wainscott, at the western edge of the department's jurisdiction, when he noticed some movement in a parked vehicle.

The town police were brought in on the case since it was their jurisdiction, and the . He is currently serving a four year sentence in the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility.

"Somebody else might have kept on driving right by," Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen said of Galeano's quick thinking during the initial investigation. It's the kind of work that Larsen has come to expect from the officer. "He's done a great job his entire career," he said.

Galeano said he simply always stands guard, even when working the quieter night shifts in the middle of winter. He has a tendency, he said, to be a little "annoying," carefully checking a car window with a flashlight, in this case. "You never know what you are going to find. We stopped something from keeping on happening," he said.

Galeano, 30, joined the department eight years ago, fresh out the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He was the first, and remains the only, Latino officer in the department.

A Springs resident, he started working for the village as a traffic control officer in 2000.

When he was 12 years old he emigrated from a small town in Colombia to the East End. He attended the Montauk Public School and then graduated from East Hampton High School. He still recalls going on a ride-along with a town police officer when he was in middle school.

The experience only further cemented his dream of becoming a police officer, something he said he wanted to do as long as he can remember. "It's a good job and it's a great way to help the community," he said. "The community is changing a lot," he said, adding that he hopes he can act as "a role model to somebody," even if it's just one small child.

While he said there are a small number of Latinos who live in East Hampton Village itself, the overall population in the Town of East Hampton has grown significantly in recent years. Having him on the force, he said, has been helpful in "closing the gap between the department and Latino community."

When he's out on patrol in the village, he said he tries to reach out to the younger generation — both Latino and not — just to let them know police officers are there to help. It's been one of the biggest challenges for police departments, to earn the trust of the Latino community, some of whom come from countries where police can't be relied on, he said.

"It makes a big difference, at least I hope it does," he said. "It's an honor itself to be a police officer and it's an honor to be named Police Officer of the Year. I want to show people, they can do it too."

  • RELATED: Ace Detective Tina Giles Gets Top Honors

Please join us in congratulating Officer Galeano on receiving this award. Leave a message in the comments below.

Peter Leung January 14, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Congrats!
S.B. Bonacker January 14, 2013 at 08:06 PM
He stopped me for a minor traffic violation a few weeks ago and could not have been more polite and friendly. He made some helpful suggestions. We need more like you Mario! Well deserved.
larry cantwell January 14, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Officer Galeano shows us how to make a difference by putting in that extra effort. Congratulations Mario we are proud of the work you do for our community.
oswaldo palomo January 14, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Great job Mario. Congratulations...
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Via East Hampton Patch's Facebook page, Audrey Stonemetz said, "Congrats and god speed we need more officers like you and Tina!"
josh marey January 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM
was always told if you have nothing good to say- dont say anything at all...i hope the silence is deafening
Alwayslocal January 21, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Congratulations Mario!!! Well deserved. Keep up the good work. You make the village proud.

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