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Port’s Top Cop

With Father’s Day come and gone, I couldn’t help thinking of my own father, Samuel Wolf Blankman. If ever I complained about a teacher, my old man said, “Why is it always the teacher? Why isn’t it you?” He advised me to tell the truth because then I wouldn’t have to remember what I said. And he stressed strongly: “Don’t break the law and you’ll never have a problem with the police.”

Speaking of police, Port Washington has been blessed with a first-rate police presence. That doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of the strong, enlightened leadership of our chiefs and our three elected police commissioners and a cadre of dedicated men and women who round out our police force.

James Salerno

James Salerno

Port Washington’s new Police Chief, James Salerno, is a rara avis. He is the only chief in memory who is Port Washington born and bred. He went to Main Street School, then to Weber Junior High and graduated from Schreiber. His father, Albert, worked in the sand pits for a time and later became a custodian at Sousa Junior High. His mother, Lucy, worked as a paraprofessional for the school district for 40 years, retiring at age 80.

When he was younger, Salerno didn’t consider becoming a police officer. But he did become a member of Port’s fire department in 1977. Two years later, when Port’s Fire Medics Company was founded, Salerno was aboard, remaining for five years and earning the rank of captain. And fate handed him a bonus.

One day, Salerno spotted a young woman coming up the ramp to the Fire Medics. There was nothing wrong with his eyesight. “I saw her and I thought she was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen,” he said, smiling broadly. Her name was Jean. She was going to nursing school. He admits to being bashful, which meant it took him some time to ask her for a date. But when he did, the courtship lasted five years. By then, Jean was a nurse at St. Francis. They were married in 1985, found an apartment on Avenue B in Port and settled in, and in time the stork brought Christopher, Ashley and Robbie (now 27, 25 and 22).

Salerno had been working as a paramedic in New York City in 1981, but in 1983, he took a test for Nassau County police and passed, but chose the Port Washington police. In September 1985, he was sworn in by the then-chief Frank Donahue. “I spent the next
five years on patrol,” he said.
(Not to worry, his career was on the ascendant.)

On April Fools’ Day, 1984, Salerno was promoted to sergeant. Six years later, he became a detective. He was promoted to lieutenant in October 2000, assigned to a patrol for one month, then moved to administration, where he became Chief William Kilfoil’s administrative assistant. By 2004, he was promoted to assistant chief. And when Chief Kilfoil retired in March 2013 after 39 years, Assistant Chief Salerno became Acting Chief Salerno. He was required to take the civil service test for chiefs, which he did, coming out number one. On October 19, Acting Chief Salerno became Chief James Salerno.

Police Commissioner James Duncan, 19 years on the job, seven times as chairman, explained, “I have worked with him as a lieutenant, assistant chief and finally chief. He scored number one on the Civil Service Chiefs Test. Jim is the most experienced and a fine worker.” Duncan should know. He has been a dedicated Port firefighter for 52 years and was a Nassau County police officer for 23 years.

Salerno’s predecessor, William Kilfoil, has only high praise for him. “His assistance to me was vital. His professional skills abound and he has an unlimited capacity to work with people to get the job done. I am proud to call him my colleague and my friend.”

Chief Salerno became a police officer because, he said, “I always wanted to do something to help people.” Then, emotionally, he added, “But of all the things I’ve done, the awards and medals, the best thing in my whole career was the baby girl I delivered in the lobby at headquarters. I was getting ready to go off duty after an overnight shift. A cab pulls in with a man and woman in the backseat. The woman was obviously pregnant and ready to deliver. They stopped at the police station because they couldn’t make it to the hospital in time. We carried her in, laid her on the couch and I delivered the baby…I was delighted to be present at her 15th birthday celebration.”

Chief Salerno is a born communicator with great passion for his job. He has set up forums for residents to say what’s on their minds. “I love this job. I love the community and the police officers here, the men and women, who keep us safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

“I am sure he will continue to do a fine job for the people of Port Washington for many years to come,” Kilfoil said.


Chabad Rabbi Appointed PWPD Chaplain

Chabad’s Rabbi Shalom Paltiel has been appointed Chaplain of the Port Washington Police District. He is pictured with the chiefs and commissioners, being presented with his official shield. From left: Chief James Salerno, Deputy Chief Jeffrey Morris, Commissioner James Duncan, Rabbi Paltiel, Commissioner Angela Lawlor-Mullins, Commissioner Dave Franklin, Deputy Chief Robert Del Muro and Police District Attorney Rich Finkel

Chabad’s Rabbi Shalom Paltiel has been appointed Chaplain of the Port Washington Police District. He is pictured with the chiefs and commissioners, being presented with his official shield. From left: Chief James Salerno, Deputy Chief Jeffrey Morris, Commissioner James Duncan, Rabbi Paltiel, Commissioner Angela Lawlor-Mullins, Commissioner Dave Franklin, Deputy Chief Robert Del Muro and Police District Attorney Rich Finkel

Prom Safety

The Board of Port Washington Police Commissioners and Chief James Salerno remind young people to make responsible choices on prom night. Parents and guardians need to talk with their teens regarding prom safety.

Tips for Parents

• Know and discuss the school code of conduct before the prom with your child.

• Does the school code of conduct extend to off-site functions that have been approved by the school?

• Know who your child is attending the prom with and discuss the events for pre- and post-prom parties with other parents.

• Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. New York State law mandates arrest and license revocation or suspension of any person under 21 driving with .02 percent or more blood alcohol content (one drink!).

• Talk with your child about the dangers of club drugs, warning signs and who to notify for assistance.

• Preplan and roleplay answers that your child can use to get out of uncomfortable situations. (For example, being offered alcohol, getting a ride from an intoxicated driver or unwanted sexual advances).

• Discuss guidelines and a curfew. Discuss the consequences of violating these rules.

• Discuss travel plans. Use a reputable limousine service that will not allow a person to bring, serve or introduce alcohol into the vehicle.

• Know who is driving to the prom and who will be a passenger. Limit the number of passengers to increase safety and reduce driver distractions.

• Know the location of post-prom parties and who is sponsoring them.

• Talk to your teenager about the serious dangers and consequences of underage drinking and driving.

• If your child’s plans change, confirm the change with the parents of other children.

• Remind your child that you are there for them if they need a ride home or to an after-prom affair.

Tips for Teens

• Alcohol is illegal for persons under the age of 21. Underage drinking is illegal and can result in arrest, injury or worse.

• Don’t let friends drink and drive.

• Plan ahead—make sure you have a safe plan for prom night.

• Discuss your plans with your friends; remind each other about responsible decision-making and confronting peer pressure.

• Do not accept any drinks from someone you do not know. If you leave your drink, discard it and get a new one.

• Do not leave your possessions unattended.

• Learn the warning signs for alcohol poisoning and drug intoxication. Contact 911 for assistance and immediate treatment.

• Take extra money or have a responsible person available for transportation for a safe ride home or in case an emergency arises.

• Remember to charge your cell phone and have it with you.

• Know where you are and where you are going, keep your parents and friends informed.

• Trust your instincts. If you feel endangered or uncomfortable, leave immediately.

• Intoxication by alcohol or drugs can lead to poor judgment and dangerous situations.

• Remember to contact your parents if your plans change.

• Practice and discuss answers you can use to get out of uncomfortable situations.

• Do not allow anyone who has drugs or weapons to get into your car or limo. It is dangerous and everyone in the car is at risk of getting arrested.

• It is illegal to alter your driver’s license or any other form of government identification.
—Submitted by the
Port Washington Police District


Nassau County Police Department Notice

MissingBoyNotice from Nassau County Police Department re: missing boy

Holiday Safe & Sober Campaign

The Port Washington Police District has announced that they are participating in New York’s Holiday Safe & Sober Campaign.  This campaign will run from Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25.

In 2013, 290,000 Americans were injured and 10,076 deaths were caused by drunk driving accidents. In an effort to reduce this number, the Port Washington Police District is engaging in aggressive enforcement of impaired driving offenses.  Sustained impaired driving enforcement, together with periodic high visibility crackdowns such as the Safe & Sober Campaign, is the key to making our community safer. The funding for this campaign was provided by the Nassau County “STOP DWI” through a grant from the New York State “STOP DWI Coordinators Foundation by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee”.

Please don’t drink and drive!

– Submitted by the Port Washington Police District

Free Smoke Detectors

The Port Washington Crisis Relief Team is a community organization working with the Red Cross on a new Home Fire Safety Preparedness Campaign. They will be installing smoke detectors to any Port Washington family that needs one for FREE. The installation date is May 30. Any Port Washington resident can go to the PWCRT table at PortFest on May 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and sign up for an appointment for a free installation. The goal of the program is to reduce the numbers of fire deaths and injuries in the United States by 25% over the next 5 years. Anyone interested in volunteering to be a part of this campaign can email Vivian Moy at For more information on the Home Fire Safety Preparedness Campaign, go to

Vivian Moy of Port Washington Crisis Relief Team at PortFest 2014

Vivian Moy of Port Washington Crisis Relief Team at PortFest 2014


Police Department Expands Community Outreach

In recent months, under the leadership of Police Chief James Salerno and with the active support of the Board of Commissioners, the Port Washington police department has implemented a new approach to community outreach. The leaders of the department are hitting the road to hold small community meetings and the Board of Commissioners is planning a series of public board meetings at locations other than police headquarters.

Port Washington Police Safety Forum at Port North Village Hall on April 15

Port Washington Police Safety Forum at Port North Village Hall on April 15

[Read more…]

Arrest of Sands Point Doctor

Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Police Department Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced that a joint investigation led to the arrest on April 14 of several individuals including Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto, 52, a resident of Sands Point, who is a cardiologist with an office in Great Neck. Moschetto, along with James Chmela, 43, of Selden, and James Kalamaras, 41, of Suffolk County, are charged with selling assault rifles and drugs during the course of a complex murder-for-hire plot against a competing doctor.

Anthony Moschetto

Anthony Moschetto

[Read more…]

Cetta Sworn In By PW Police Department

Michele Cetta Jr. was sworn in as an officer of the Port Washington Police Department. He is flanked from left by Deputy Chief Robert DelMuro, Commissioner Angela Lawlor Mullins, Chief Jim Salerno, Commissioner Jim Duncan Commissioner Dave Franklin and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Morris.Cetta_041515A


Honorary Chief Appointed

FireChief_040815AOn Saturday, March 28, the Port Washington Fire Department and the Protection Engine Co. No. 1 honored Harold “Porky” Poole and celebrated with him on reaching his 75th year of service to the department and the community. It is an achievement that no other member of the Protection Engine Company has attained. And, it is likely that his tenure as an active member has never been equaled by anyone who has served in the Port Washington Fire Department. [Read more…]