By Keith S. Shikowitz
The Town and Villages of Haverstraw are officially “open for business” –with CoV-19 restrictions in place —and municipal meetings are being held publicly after several months of having residents “Zoom” into the proceedings.
Supervisor Howard Phillips began his remarks at the Town’s first in-person meeting by welcoming everyone back: “It’s nice to see so many people attending our meeting,” said the Supervisor, “we haven’t been here in quite a while, it’s good to get back to normal.”
The Town’s first order of business was the swearing of Lords Gomez as a full-time police officer, as his parents and Chief Peter Murphy looked on. Gomez, a veteran NYPD officer from the Bronx’s 49th Precinct, spoke to the residents in the audience, thanking them for the opportunity to serve in the community.
Gomez, a native of Haverstraw, is the first person in his family to serve on a police force. “Things were great at the 49th, but I always wanted to be an officer in the place where I grew up in. I enjoyed working with the community when I was in the Bronx, and I’m looking forward to working with the community here in my hometown.”
It certainly will be a change for Gomez, who said policing outside the city “will be much calmer. People appreciate the police up here much more than in the city. One change for me is that I will be patrolling alone. In the Bronx, I always had a partner.” Gomez says his goal is to do a great job and rise through the ranks. Despite the rare “bad apple,” Gomez says there is a common bond that unites everyone who works in public service: “We’re in it because they love helping people, not for the money, and I’m no different.”
While welcoming Gomez, the Town Board also said farewell to school crossing guard Debbie Beyer, who is retiring. “She’s assured the safety of so many of our children who attend Thiells Elementary School,” said Phillips. “Being a guard isn’t easy. You’re out there in all weather—rain, snow, wind and heat waves. You’re out there early in the morning and back in the afternoon to make sure the kids get safely to their destination. And they develop relationships with the students and their parents, especially in a small community like ours. Deborah always did her job with a smile.”