Hometown Happenings: Prayers for Vegas and Gratitude for Service

By Supervisor George Hoehmann

This week we were stunned as a nation when we learned of the horrible slaughter of 59 of our fellow citizens in Las Vegas and 527 more injured. Our hearts, still heavy with pain, go out to the families of the victims, and we pray with them in their darkest hour.

Yet, in the chaos and darkness of that night, there emerges, as there always does, the glimmer of light and hope. Evil and wickedness is tempered and broken by courage, selflessness and bravery—the qualities of every man and woman who puts on a uniform, a badge and a gun, and puts their lives in the way of that evil and wickedness for their fellow citizens.

Police officers are never off duty. Police officers, like soldiers, stand in between danger and the public. Each and every day we recall those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty who lived among us. Our police are dedicated public servants who swear an oath to protect and defend the community any time that it’s threatened. And they do—time and again—bravely and compassionately. They do so willingly in both ordinary and extraordinary ways, from traffic stops, to medical assistance calls to life saving efforts facing down criminals, to everything in between—even notifying a family of the death of a loved one or helping in times of need and crisis.

We’re fortunate here in Clarkstown to have one of the most professional police departments in the entire country. Their integrity and high standards are clear for all to see. I thank each and every member of the Clarkstown Police Department for their hard work, dedication to duty and for protecting our town and its residents in all of the aforementioned situations.

A town like Clarkstown and its police department requires an exceptional leader as he takes the reins of one of the largest police departments in all of New York State. Chief Raymond McCullagh is that leader.

Chief McCullagh is a local boy who made good if will. He’s a near lifelong resident deeply involved in our community. He comes from a law enforcement family, having followed in the footsteps of his father who was a decorated veteran of the NYPD. Prior to coming to Clarkstown, Chief McCullagh spent time in the NYPD in the 52nd precinct in the Bronx. I’m certain that had he stayed in the NYPD, he would have risen through the ranks and we would have read about his career. Fortunately, just over 28 years ago, he came to Clarkstown. He rose through the ranks here, performing admirably in each and every aspect of his policing duties. Throughout these many years, Chief McCullagh has demonstrated innate leadership ability and has inspired those under his command. He’s perhaps one of the most respected officers in our department. I, as well as the Town Board, agree that he’s exactly the kind of leader that’s needed for this critical time in the history of our town and its police department.