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Long blue line of Reads

COURTESY PHOTO
Proud parents Police Chief Jim Read and Denise Read with their son, James III, who has joined the Shelter Island Police Department.

The Shelter Island Police Department (SIPD) is adding a new, albeit familiar, name to its ranks.

James Read III, the son of Police Chief Jim Read, graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy on last week, marking the completion of a six-month training period. He is currently assigned to six weeks of field training with Police Officer Anthony Rando before he will work on his own in late June.

Chief Read said the department had exhausted its list of potential hires before his son’s name was added. The younger Read was two courses away from getting his Masters in Engineering Control Systems, but withdrew in order to attend the Academy when the training was available.

“As a father, I knew Jimmy had two career paths ahead of him, each with its own advantages,” Chief Read said. “We talked it through and then he made the decision.”

Aware that there could be issues that arise from father and son working on the force together, the Reads consulted with Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley and his son, who’s served in that department for five years. Although the department is bigger than Shelter Island’s, it was helpful for them to discuss the Flatleys’ experience serving together, Chief Read said.

He has removed the possibility of directly supervising his son by having Sergeants Terrence LeGrady and Jack Thilberg be the direct supervisors.

Chief Read’s father, also James, served in law enforcement as well. Beginning in 1964, he was a member of the Suffolk County Police Department. “Except for two years, one of us has always been in law enforcement,” Chief Read said.

As to whether having their son join him on the force would cause his wife even more concerns than she had already lived with, Chief Read said while families are aware of the risks, “they try not to dwell on them. She’s excited for Jimmy.”

He added that while Shelter Island is a great place to live, work and raise a family, one downside of the job is that “you’re never off.” Even out of uniform, officers are well known to the community and may be asked for help.

A second new officer, Sean Clark, will be added next year. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served six years in the Marines. After he attends the Police Academy, he will join the force in the summer of 2020.

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