New Paltz Town Board members opted to conduct a solely internal search for the next police chief, and after interviewing two candidates, they have decided unanimously and enthusiastically to give the job to Robert Lucchesi, the current lieutenant. Chief Joseph Snyder is set to retire in April.
Board members spoke warmly of Lucchesi’s qualifications and community ties. Several of them referenced Lucchesi’s extensive volunteer resume, including recently helping on the Hasbrouck playground project. His long service in the department, including as second in command, was also highlighted in the reasons offered for selecting him for the top job. He was characterized by deputy supervisor Dan Torres as exemplifying the community’s values. Supervisor Neil Bettez observed that he believes things are going well in the police department now, and that changing leadership at such a time must be managed with care to keep that perceived positive momentum running.
Board members will now begin interviewing for the lieutenant’s job. Once Lucchesi’s replacement is identified, both individuals will begin training for their new positions while carrying the lieutenant rank.
While Bettez sees this as a good time for the department, Lucchesi will have some challenges once he sits at the chief’s desk. For one, he will be overseeing a move to a new police headquarters on North Putt Corners Road. There is also the possibility that Ellenville resident Paul Echols will file a lawsuit against town police for brutality in connection with a September 2018 incident.