STORY SUBMITTED BY THE HAVERSTRAW ELKS
Chief Stephen Scurti, the founding chief of the Stony Point Police Department, was honored with the James V. Stewart Distinguished Career Service Award on the 42nd Law Enforcement Recognition Night held in March by the Haverstraw Elks.
This is Scurti’s story, which is also the story of the founding of the Stony Point Police Department.
Shortly prior to 1967, a group of Stony Point citizens approached the Town Board and requested that a full-time police force be established. Until then, the town’s police services were provided by residents acting as constables and the New York State Police.
On October 25, 1967 the Stony Point Town Board passed a resolution appointing Stephen G. Scurti, its first chief of Police and sole full-time police officer. Prior to assuming his new position, Chief Scurti worked as a New York State Trooper assigned to the Stony Point barracks.
At the time of his appointment, the police station consisted of a single room located in the rear of Town Hall located on East Main Street. Without anyone to guide or assist him, Chief Scurti found himself with the responsibility and duties of establishing a police department. He faced the burdensome task of having to define and develop the department’s mission and establish its goal.
In order to reach those goals, he set objectives that measured advances the department would make during its infancy. He constructed and implemented action plans in order to meet the department’s objectives and continued to monitor, review and change them as needed.
He also assumed the responsibility of creating and presenting the budget, hiring, training and supervising of department personnel, establish and maintain the public relations with elected officials and members of the community, including business owners, schools and the news media.
Administrative duties related to staffing, payroll, time-off requests, purchase of equipment and building maintenance, as well as developing general orders, rules and regulations, procedures on how the department would operate and investigate both non-criminal and criminal complaints.
By 1968 the Police Department had grown to 11 part-time officers who patrolled and provided emergency services to town residents between the hours of 8 a.m. to midnight. As Stony Point continued to grow, so did the Police Department.
In 1971, the Police Department consisting of eight full-time officers, a small complement of part-time officers and crossing guards had outgrown the tiny room behind Town Hall and moved to 112 West Main St.
Chief Scurti believed in the need to provide town residents with a seven day, 24 hours per-day, service schedule and by the summer of 1972, he had done just that. By year’s end, the department had almost doubled in size. As the demand for services increased, so did the need for specialization.
In July 1973, Chief Scurti created the Stony Point Detective Bureau or SIU, as it was originally called. In 1974 the first promotion to the rank of sergeant was made. The position was created in order to provide increased supervision. The department continued to grow throughout the 70s and by the end, consisted of 19 full-time officers, including the chief, who provided quality law enforcement and emergency services to its residents.
In 1980 the Police Department had once again physically outgrown its needs and moved to a newly built modern facility located at 79 Rt. 210.
With more space now available, Chief Scurti and a group of concerned citizens formed the Stony Point Athletic League in an effort to provide activities for youths in the community. Within a year, the Youth Bureau was established to provide services to troubled youth and make referrals for those with special needs.
In 1984 the department added a K-9 unit, which not only provided service to Stony Point but also assisted neighboring jurisdictions.
On March 17, 1985 Scurti’s department was handed perhaps its biggest case. Residents of quiet Stony Point were awaken when a partially burnt and decomposed body wearing a black leather mask, used in sexual bondage practices, was discovered by hikers on the county estate of John LeGeros, an official at the United Nations. The victim identified as Eigil Dag Vesti, from New York City and known to frequent S&M clubs, had been reported missing by his sister three weeks earlier.
Detectives learned that LeGeros had a son Bernard, who worked for art dealer and gallery owner Andrew Crispo. Crispo was also known to frequent S&M clubs. Detectives canvassed gay bars and S&M clubs in an attempt to gather and piece together evidence they could use while interviewing LeGeros. It was during one of those interviews that LeGeros confessed to shooting Vesti and implicated Andrew Crispo. LeGeros pled guilty to murder, second degree and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
In 1991 the Stony Point Police Department became one of the first police departments in the State of New York, and the first in Rockland County, to become fully accredited by the New York State Bureau of Municipal Police Training Council. In the same year, the department established a D.A.R.E. program.
In 1992 the Stony Point Police Department celebrated its 25th anniversary. The department that once used a small back room in Town Hall, now stood at 27 full-time police officers, six part-time police officers and 10 auxiliary officers.
On April 30, 1994, Stephen G. Scurti, the first officer and chief of Police, of the Stony Point Police Department retired after 31 years in law enforcement. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and received a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
In 2005 as a tribute and recognition of Chief Scurti’s years of dedicated service to the citizens of the Town of Stony Point, the Town Board dedicated the police station as the Stephen G. Scurti Police Facility.
Despite being retired, Chief Scurti continues to serve the residents of Stony Point as Coordinator of Emergency Services and remains a strong supporter and loyal friend to the Stony Point Police Department.
His career has been distinguished by the principles and standards of a role model, mentor and leader in the finest traditions and highest ideals of law enforcement professional and is indeed deserving of this award.