Photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Police today hosted a send-off for two longtime officers, Lt. David Lessard and Sgt. Thomas Lessard, twin brothers who served the department for more than 30 years.

Sgt. Jill Kubetz reviewed the highlights of their law enforcement careers, which for David Lessard began in January 1988 and for Thomas Lessard began in February 1988. Members of the Riverhead Town Board stood by to wish them well.

“Tom and David, you did well to your community. You spent so many years. You’re so well known in this community. You’re known for your smiles,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said.

“And as a brother in blue, I want to thank you for what you’ve done,” said Aguiar, a retired NYC police officer. “I want to wish you and your family much success. And I’ll always say, if you get antsy after your retirement, don’t join politics. Take up drag-racing and race each other,” the supervisor said. “I wish you luck.”

Councilman Tim Hubbard, himself a retired Riverhead Police detective, praised the pair of veteran police officers for their attitude and the empathy with which they always did their job.

“These two guys were a pleasure. As cops know, we see a lot of stressful things every day. You have to learn to laugh,” Hubbard said. “These guys, they had a lot of laughs.”

See Sept 15 story: “Identical twin cops retire after more than three decades in Riverhead Police Dept.”

Hubbard said the community and the department will be at a huge loss with the Lessard leaving. “I don’t know of any more compassionate police officers that I ever met than these two,” Hubbard said. “They understood that people had bad times. They understood how to treat people. That’s something that I know is very important to them and very important to this community,” he said.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent said when the police department hired the Lessard brothers, the town “hit the jackpot two times.”

Councilman Frank Beyrodt and Councilman Ken Rothwell were also on hand for the ceremony.

After accepting hugs and well wishes from dozens of officers — current and retired — lined up outside department headquarters, the Lessards walked back up the steps, took a radio in hand, and signed off for the last time.

A dispatcher’s voice from inside headquarters came over a loudspeaker. “Ten-four,” she said.

“True leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others. This will be the legacy of the Lessards with Riverhead Police. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We wish you well,” she said.

David Lessard took the microphone. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with each and every one of you,” he said. “You men and women are truly the finest in law enforcement. It’s been an honor. Thank you, guys.”

With the sound of bagpipes filling the air, the assembled police officers snapped to attention and saluted the lieutenant and sergeant as they descended the stairs, side by side.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.