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Love Assumes Acting Police Chief Role in Pleasantville

He officially began on Friday.

As of Friday, May 13, Richard Love has been named acting chief of police of the .

Love, previously a detective lieutenant in the department, replaces , who is on terminal leave through May 30. On May 31, Love will officially take on the title of provisional chief of police.

The lifelong Thornwood resident has been a member of the village's department for nearly 22 years.

"I started in the New York City Police Department in July 1985 and then I transferred to Pleasantville in October 1989," he revealed. "I worked here as a patrol officer; I was promoted to sergeant [after] approximately eight years and then promoted to patrol lieutenant and from there I was assigned to detective lieutenant."

In his latest role, Love, 45, has headed up the detective department, as well as the Youth Bureau and Internal Affairs Division.

"I oversaw all of their work and their investigations," he said.

In his new role, Love will continue to supervise the detective division, while Lieutenant Michael Wilson will oversee patrol.

Effective June 1, Love's annual salary will be $135,813, as approved by the Board of Trustees on May 24. Wilson's salary will be $125,460.

In March of this year, Love graduated from the FBI National Academy, after being invited to participate in a 10-week training program, which he said included "law enforcement executives from around the world," citing Korea, Norway, Taiwan and Canada as a few examples.

He said one benefit of graduating from the program is his continued involvement in a nationwide network of officers who often correspond electronically, sharing ideas to solve local issues.

"We're not reinventing the wheel," said Love. "If there's a problem, then somebody else out there has had it. I've gotten a tremendous amount of emails already. It's pretty incredible—it's a great association to be involved in."

That kind of support will be especially important going forward as municipalities begin to tighten budgets.

"That is definitely the biggest challenge," said Love. "Do more with less. The whole country is going through that right now."

While he would ideally like to bring back a community policing officer to "walk the business district" and speak with residents and business owners on a regular basis, Love said he will work out an alternative within staffing constraints.

"What I'm going to do is try to get every officer to be a community policing officer," he explained. "I'm going to have them park their car, get out and walk a couple of hours a day, talking to people and find out what they really want."

Love will remain provisional chief as the required civil service examination to be named permanent chief is not offered again until March of 2012. He said he plans to take the exam then.

In the meantime, the village has revealed it is looking into the possibility of consolidating or sharing services with either the Mount Pleasant Police Department or Westchester County Department of Public Safety, which currently to the Town of Ossining.

As Love starts out in his new position, he said departing Chief Chiarlitti offered him "a tremendous amount of advice."

"Take your time, don't rush into everything," he recalled as some of the chief's words. "Step back, think about what you're going to do. Write down all of your ideas of where you want to see your department in the next month, six months, year, five years from now."

Some other words of wisdom the new chief is keeping in mind come from an inspiring speaker at the FBI Academy.

"There was a trooper from Louisiana who was shot 10 years back and went blind," revealed Love. "He had a terrible, terrible life. He goes around and talks to law enforcement officers everywhere...and tries to help people."

He continued, "He was at a soccer game one day, watching his son play soccer and a woman said, 'Aren't you the blind state trooper?...I always seem you here. Why are you here? You can't see.'"

The trooper responded, "I'm not here to see my son play, I'm here for him to see me."

"To me, that was a tremendous statement and a way of life," said Love, who lives in Thornwood with his wife Kathleen and has three children, ages 19, 13 and 10. "From that day forward, that really opened my eyes to a few things and family has to be first."

In fact, Love took the five-hour drive to Westchester from the Virginia-based facility on the day of his final exam at the Academy to coach his son's CYO basketball final game before driving back down.

"When I walked in that day, he was jumping for joy," recalled Love. "It just changed my whole outlook on a lot of things and put things into perspective for me."

Love said he has always worked closely with the school district and Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter and hopes to keep doing so as chief.

"I want to continue that relationship," he said, adding he is confident the department will "serve the community as best we can and as we have for the last 113 years—and maybe even try to do it a little better."

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