The village board meeting began with a tender touch Monday night.
Fifth Precinct police officer Fadi Rafeh, who died unexpectedly Jan. 20, was honored with a plaque commemorating his time as a patrol officer in Patchogue and Bellport. He began his career in the Fifth Precinct on Jan. 11, 2011. The village announced Jan. 11 as Police Officer Rafeh Day, and two proclamations were handed out.
One was to hang in the Fifth Precinct. The other was for Rafeh’s family. Fifth Precinct Sgt. Greg Heller accepted the proclamations.
“I had gotten a call from Inspector Silva asking for a way to honor him,” Mayor Paul Pontieri said. “He lost a very valuable member of his patrol team and asked for the two proclamations.”
“He’s been with us since 2011,” added Pontieri of Rafeh’s patrolling days. “Officer Rafeh had the ability to connect with everyone.” Also known for his efforts in building officer camaraderie, Rafeh’s Lebanese background aided him as an Arabic translator for the department. He became an investigator in the Crime Section in October 2017.
Pontieri explained that when the Suffolk County Police Department came into existence on Jan. 1, 1960, Patchogue Village had its own police force. An agreement was made between the village and SCPD requiring their Fifth Precinct headquarters remain in the village. It has been situated on Waverly Avenue ever since. “Also, the four sector cars meet at the Four Corners,” he said.
In other news:
- Approval was given to override the 2 percent tax cap. Pontieri pointed to the threatened $97,000 AIM funding Gov. Cuomo proposed yanking.
- Tax Grievance Day was set for Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 5-8 p.m.
- Tax Sale Day was set for Thursday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m.
- The resignation of Public Safety Sgt. Robert Black effective Jan. 28, 2019 was accepted.
- The resignation of Public Safety Officer Kameron Leardi effective Jan. 11, 2019 was accepted.
- Approval was given for Anthony Gruppuso, owner of the Better Man Distilling Co. located at 161 River Avenue, to contact H2M for a conceptual approval for an out-of-district sewer.
Glenn Rohrbacker contributed to this story.