Warwick Police Officers Brian Luthin & John Harter Promoted to Sergeant

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By Lourice Angie

     The Warwick Town Board held a special promotion ceremony before the start of the regularly scheduled Town Board meeting on Thurs., Sept 24. Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton opened the ceremony saying, “This is one of the evenings where we get to recognize the hard work and dedication of our Town employees and I’m going to introduce the Chief of police for the purpose of promotions.”

Warwick Police Chief Tom McGovern and Lieutenant John Rader recognized Police Officers Brian Luthin and John Harter for their years of commitment, service, and dedication to the Warwick Police Department, before promoting the officers to the rank of Sergeant. Both Officers scored well on the Sergeant’s exam and have earned the promotion.     

Luthin and Harter have served as Police Officers for 13 years and 12 years, respectively. Luthin is a firearms instructor, a member of the regional swat team, and a motorcycle officer. Harter has spent the last four years doing an outstanding job in enforcement. 

  The newly appointed sergeants were joined by family, friends and colleagues. Chief McGovern called upon one family member for each officer to come forward and pin their new Sergeant shields onto their uniform. Harter’s father and Luthin’s wife did the honor. Both men were then congratulated by Supervisor Sweeton and the Board members. 

    “Both of those officers have had outstanding careers and we look forward to them being sergeants in a supervisor’s capacity for the Police Department,” said Sweeton. 

             Seniors Beware of Scammers 

    Scammers often gravitate to resources where they can obtain finances. Within recent weeks, it has been brought to the attention of the Warwick Police Department that scammers are once again targeting vulnerable seniors. According to Chief Tom McGovern, two seniors in the Villages of Warwick and Florida were victims of an attempted scam. 

  In both cases, the seniors were contacted by a scammer who made up a story about a family member being in legal trouble or in an accident. The scammer confuses and overwhelms the senior to send the cash right away and not to call the police or contact an attorney because of court ordered privacy purposes; instead they are urged to send cash by mail. In one instance, it is said the scammer asked the senior to send the cash to a vacant home in Providence, Rhode Island. Thankfully one of elderly victims eventually contacted one of his children and confirmed that the story was in fact false.

  Chief McGovern has a clear message for local seniors and citizens saying that this is happening and citizens have to pay attention. He said if it doesn’t sound right just hang up and call the police.

    “This all came about because a local business person noticed a strange transaction. Once the detective convinced the senior of the scam, he admitted that he had $10,000 in an envelope to send the cash to Rhode Island. Detectives then packed an envelope with newspaper and set up a sting in Rhode Island, where the perpetrator was arrested and charged. It has ties to Miami, FL and ties to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, two people lost over $40,000 before the police were able to intervene in both those instances.” 

    The FBI will hopefully adopt this case and move forward accordingly. Most of these scammers usually obtain the personal information of the victim via online resources, social media, etc. Oftentimes the scammers are extremely successful at these difficult and complicated scams. 

   To complicate matters further, the fact that more seniors are sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are more available to online transactions. This means that fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of seniors who are new digital account holders. 

    Between the financial and health worries associated with the pandemic, it is a time to be on high alert regarding phone calls, text messages, emails and social media. 

   To report scams, call the Police Department at 986- 5000. 

Senior Center Will Remain Closed Throughout October

    Supervisor Sweeton said he was recently in communication with the Orange County Health Department in regards to senior residents and when they can safely open the Town Senior Center. County health officials strongly suggest that senior groups do not congregate at this time.

   “We finally received some guidance from the County Health Department. We know now that the disease disproportionately affects older people in terms of the risks. Right now, our senior center is closed and I suspect we will extend that throughout the month of October,” said Sweeton. 

Public Hearing for Consideration to Expand the Wickham Water District

   The Board held a public hearing for the consideration to expand the Wickham Water District. Supervisor Sweeton explained that the expansion would consist of an additional parcel to the Wickham District which is the Town’s largest district. It has ample water supply, and the addition to the district would help all of the residents in the district because there would be another user helping share the burden of the costs. 

An engineering report is required to demonstrate that there is ample water support for the district with a map outlining the lot location of the parcel located on Kings Hwy. North of Prince St. The report needs to state there is no issue with the ability of serving and connecting to the system and that all costs will be covered by the lot owner. The decision will be approved at the next Board meeting, allowing the Board to receive public comment or written correspondence for the next seven days.

                Next Town Board Meeting

  The next Board meeting will be held on Thurs., Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick. 

Photo provided

Warwick Police Officers John Harter (from left) & Brian Luthin were promoted to the rank of Sergeant by Chief Tom McGovern. 

Photo provided

Warwick Police officers John Harter & Brain Luthin are promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  Family members had the honor of pinning their new shields onto their uniform.

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