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What is that? March 27, 2023

If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone 631-275-1859.

Only ever-vigilant Roger McKeon responded to last week’s mystery photo (see below), correctly identifying it via email as the town seal gracing the top of the Shelter Island Police Department’s headquarters in the Center.

(Credit: Ambrose Clancy

In September 2021, a gala event in front of headquarters celebrated the Department’s 50th anniversary of its founding.

As Charity Robey reported then, before the Police Department was established in 1971, the Island was protected by constables — two or three full-timers who worked an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, and were on call overnight — and were joined in the summer by a number of part-time constables.

The early years of law enforcement on Shelter Island sound quaint and even charming by modern standards.

Training was minimal, and the need to remedy that was at the heart of the decision to establish the Department in 1971, Chief Jim Read said. “Before the police academy, it was basically, ‘Here’s a badge and a gun. You’re going to be a policeman.’ People’s expectations of the police are very high now and we want to deliver on those expectations … Whether you call 911 in Albany or Long Island, the level of service and professionalism should be the same.”

Chief Read joined the department in 1987, and in 1998 became chief. He is the longest-serving member of the force in its history.