Dean and done...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dean and done... salutes and applause and well-deserved approbation.

It's called a "Walk Out Ceremony," and while it may have it's roots with the Native Canadian Cree Nation, it's been loosely adopted by police and fire departments to honor retiring Chiefs.

Westhampton Beach's own Ray Dean got his this morning, a surprise event informally organized by his sisters and the East End Chiefs of Police Association and sprung on him as he exited Police Headquarters for the final time in his official capacity as Chief of the Village's Police force.

In addition to his own force, there were officers and other chiefs, retired and active from departments are far away as Amityville and East Hampton.

Ray Dean exits Civilians await Ray Dean Ray Dean thanks members of his force Ray Dean thanks his family and friends

It was in 1999 when, in a swiftly accomplished coup engi­neered by then Mayor Robert Strebel, Sergeant Ray Dean resigned as a Trustee from the Westhampton Beach Village Board, and transferred from Southampton Town Police De­partment to the local job under exiting Chief Conrad Teller.

It caught everyone by surprise, and it signaled the re-inven­tion of Westhampton Beach Police Department as a more modern and efficient law enforcement agency as "dead wood" and slackers were regularly retired or forced to resign to avoid departmental charges, though in some in­stances more severe sanctions could have been preferred.

It was an arduous and frustrating process, as change didn't come easy to the "old guard," and there were set-backs along the way:

  • Interference by the Village Board which temporarily forced the department to return to the 4x10 hour work days more to the rank 'n' file's liking rather than the 5x8 hour shifts Chief Dean demonstrated were more effective in providing the best police pro­tection for Village residents.
  • The interminable and contentious case of an offi­cer's handgun which went missing from his locker in the police station. It ultimately ended with severe dis­ciplinary sanctions against one officer, and sepa­ration from the department for another.

But Ray Dean stuck it out despite numerous attempts at interference by an at times hostile Village Board, and he leaves today with the Westhampton Beach Police Depart­ment in far better shape than at any time in its 85 year history, and in Lieutenant Trevor Gonce a worthy and well-trained successor in place if the new administraton doesn't screw that one up.

OtBB said it a week ago, but it bears repeating:

"Thanks, Ray!"


1. Westhampton Bill said...

We will miss him. Any leads on promotions/changes to the force after this if Lieutenant Gonce takes over? Wasn't there a disciplinary matter involving another officer this year? Any timeline on accreditation. Thanks.

  1. Not that I've heard so far... only a possible demotion.
  2. There were rumors that a certain senior officer had some issues, but I think it was all handled internally.
  3. My understanding is that it's a matter of shuffling some papers, but mostly it was a bogus campaign issue for Junior Palmer.

2. Westhampton Bill said...

Oh, I thought it was more than just a rumor and an officer was arrested for something, but I may have misheard. Thanks again for your coverage. I look forward to hearing how the new Mayor and eventual Chief transition in.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! You spoke of "a disciplinary matter," and that threw me off.

Yes, there was an arrest, in another juristiction West of here, and for some reason, local action is being delayed until the criminal charges are resolved.

Believe me, I'll be on it.

3. Jackie Bennett said...

Thanks Ray for all your years of service. You looked after our concerns down here by the crick and took good care of us. We will miss you. Enjoy your retirement with your beautiful family. We love every one of them, too.

He did good, didn't he!

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