Longtime Hamptons Police Department spokesman Larry Hirsch announced this week that he will retire before year’s end. His replacement, heroic HPD officer Rex Gallant, has already begun training alongside Hirsch in his daily duties, including preparing reports and remarks for this weekly Hamptons Police Blotter.
“It was a tough decision, but one I’ve been wrestling with for some time,” Hirsch said in a candid interview on Wednesday. “When officers started suing the department because they had to do their jobs, I knew my time was up. I just can’t work in an environment like this, no matter which side I’m defending or representing,” he added, “But it’s like I said, this decision was a long time coming. I’m ready.”
The new HPD spokesman in training, Gallant, is one of the most decorated officers in Hamptons Police Department history, but he severely damaged his knee while singlehandedly stopping a private jet from taking off from East Hampton Airport in June. At the time of his injury, Gallant was jumping onto the wing of the jet carrying Sassy Rags clothing store owners Harold and Ben Gerblert, who were trying to escape justice, despite a warrant issued for their arrest. The brothers and Sag Harbor business owners stand accused of flagrantly creating a storefront with neon lights, brushed metal pillars and floor-to-ceiling glass that does not match the historic character of Sag Harbor Village.
“If Rex hadn’t jumped on that speeding plane, jimmied the hatch and knocked out the pilot, the Gerblert brothers would not be sitting in our jail awaiting trial,” Hirsch said of his successor. “This man is a hero, and he’ll serve this department well.”
Gallant agreed to use his sterling reputation and handsome face to lead HPD public relations after learning that his “bum knee” would preclude him from continuing to work in the field. “If I’m not going to be out there catching bad guys, I’d like to be speaking on behalf of this fine department,” Gallant said.