It is official now: Former Detective Sgt. Robert Lucchesi is the New Paltz Police Department’s (NPPD) new second-in-command.
Lt. Lucchesi was sworn in last week during a special ceremony at Town Hall. Supervisor Susan Zimet said they were “delighted to have him representing our town.”
Town Hall and the NPPD had been in extended negotiations over whether a full lieutenant was needed after Lt. Steve Osarczuk retired in late 2012. For almost two years, it was unclear if local police would have a lieutenant or an “administrative sergeant.”
With the hiring of Lt. Lucchesi that debate is put to rest.
Councilwoman Jean Gallucci put it this way: “It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
The new lieutenant is due to make $86,000 per year, but his contract also stipulates that he’ll pay 10 percent toward his health insurance — a first for any NPPD officer and likely indicative of where future police labor negotiations will go.
Joining Lucchesi that night was another new officer, Cheryl Benjamin, who was also sworn in.
“Tonight is an exciting night — not only for the swearing in of Lt. Rob Lucchesi, but also for the presentation of a new hire,” Chief Joseph Snyder said, adding that Benjamin had risen through ranks and made an impression.
Benjamin, a 2011 Marist College grad, has already been working for the NPPD for about four years — at first as an intern, then as a police dispatcher.
“She put herself through the police academy phase one, on her own. She’s just about to complete phase one,” the chief explained. “Her graduation is July 9. July 10 starts phase two. To be phase two, you have to be a sworn officer.”
She’ll fill a vacancy for one of the NPPD’s officer positions. Three top candidates, including Benjamin, tried out for the job, Chief Snyder said.