Officer Edward Witko was a member of this department, who in August of 2010, died in a tragic motorcycle accident while participating in a benefit ride to support Combat Veterans. Ed was a proactive, hardworking police officer who was dedicated to his family and his work. He was an important member of this department who made a difference in the lives of the people he encountered.
Each year the East Greenbush Police Benevolent Association awards a $1000 scholarship to a graduating senior pursuing a college degree in the area of Criminal Justice in the memory of Edward L. Witko #29.
history of egpd
On May 4, 1964 the Town Board officially adopted a Resolution creating the East Greenbush Police Department under the direction of Harold Pearlman, then the only full time Constable. The Board determined that the eligible candidate for EGPD should possess the following qualifications:
US Citizen, no felony convictions, able to read and write understandably in English, resident of the Town prior to appointment, between the ages of 21 and 50, able to pass a physical examination and at least 5'6" tall weighing 150 pounds minimum.
In 1964 the Town purchased its first police car, a black & white 1964 Ford. The car included a police radio which allowed communications with the Rensselaer County Sheriffs Department and was marked car 14. During busy spells when more than one car was needed, the officers were expected to use their own cars. The station was located in the Town Hall Building at 668 Columbia Turnpike. (The Bates Building) In 1967 Ronald Harrison was named Chief of Police and the Department moved across the street from Town Hall into an old service station. The force then consisted of 12 men including the Chief and Edward Merhige, Richard Hiller, Robert Kroll, Douglas Snipper, Robert Zullo, Howard Knauf, Donald Hall, James Walsh, John Ruff, Charles Brown and George Stark.
In 1972 the first Civil Service Chief of Police was appointed, John M. Burns, a former City of Troy Police Officer. The Department moved to a new location at 82 Columbia Turnpike and over the course of the next ten years the roster grew to include the following full time officers: Edward Merhige, Richard Hiller, Robert Kroll, Christopher Lavin, Bernhard Peter, Paul Mancino, John Owens, Jerry Lockman, Tom Duclos, Richard Kemner, Joseph DeSeve, Chris Rickert, John Schultis, Robert Whitney, Michael Davidson, John Ryan, Kevin Harrington and Alfred Syvertsen. The Department also had six part-time officers. Burns retired effective January 1, 1990 and Detective Sergeant Christopher P. Lavin was appointed Chief and the Department established the first Police Commission to help oversee the operations of the department.
On May 1, 1974, after having shared a radio frequency with the Schodack Police Department, EGPD switched over to its own frequency. In September 1974 the Detective Division was formed with Sgt. Christopher Lavin in charge. In September 1978 the Fire Evidence Technician Group was formed with the cooperation of the local fire Chiefs to investigate fires of a suspicious nature. In 1979 we accepted the Rensselaer County Search and Rescue Squad, founded by David & Hilda Onderdonk, using their bloodhounds as part of our investigative team.
1980 brought us our own Communications Center within the police station and manned 24 hours a day by the following full-time Dispatchers: Timothy McLaughlin, Lori Fuerst, David Cook, Peter Lattanzio, Lawrence Radcliff, Timothy Boel, Beverly Visconti & Bruce Smith.
This was also the year Officer Joseph E. DeSeve was appointed Juvenile Officer. In 1985, he attended a training program in behavior modification & drug prevention which was instituted in the East Greenbush School District from 1985-88. In June 1989 DeSeve attended the very first NYS sponsored D.A.R.E. training program and the D.A.R.E. Program was introduced in the school district in 1989 and continues today. De Seve was later appointed as a Juvenile Detective in 1990, Detective in 1994 and in 2003 officially appointed head of Detective & Juvenile Units.
In 1986, the police relocated to the basement of the New Town Hall building at 225 Columbia Turnpike (the old Clinton Height School Building) where it remains today.
Today, the department is making movements towards the future. We have added more personnel, upgraded patrol vehicles, upgraded communications equipment and personnel are receiving more quality training then ever. Also, our officers provide "shared services" to Rensselaer, Schodack, and North Greenbush.
As of December 2017 the East Greenbush Police Department is a New York State Accredited Agency.
In June 2019 the East Greenbush Police Department made history by appointing the first female chief in the county. Chief Elaine Rudzinksi was promoted from Detective Sergeant to Chief and immediately put an emphasis on community policing driven department.
As of November 2019 Chief Rudzinski has implemented multiple events that include off duty and on duty officers such as "Candy with a Cop" for Halloween and "Coffee with a Cop" to spark conversations and transparency. Chief Rudzinski continues to implement these events often.