Saugerties police get a lieutenant

The Saugerties Police Department has managed to get by with several sergeants operating directly beneath the chief. But it’s a bigger department now, and the department announced last week that it would be promoting Sgt. Stephen Filak to a newly created lieutenant position.

“Since January 1 we have taken on more responsibilities,” said Police Chief Louis Barbaria. “It made a lot of sense to have another officer to share the administrative responsibility.”

Filak had previously worked in the village’s police department, which was abolished effective Jan. 1 of this year as a cost-cutting measure.

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Barbaria said he has observed Filak’s work in the nine months since he joined the town police, and, “I’m convinced he is capable of filling the position.”

Filak said he is “appreciative and proud” to have been selected for the more responsible position, though it will mean more administrative work. He’ll miss working out of the office.

“I spent 15 of my 22 years on the night shift, and you work with a really tight-knit group,” he said.

Filak said the department is quite different from the village’s: it’s larger and therefore more complicated, but “police work is similar wherever you work,” he said. This past year has been busy for the police force, with call volume up 13 or 14 percent over last year for the town and village combined.

The smooth transition to a single department surprised many observers, Filak said. He includes himself in that number. “The village officers who transitioned here are doing very well,” he said.

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