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Oct 7, 2009 12:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Police Department promotes 1st female sergeant

Oct 7, 2009 12:32 PM

Suzanne Hurteau wanted to work for the Southampton Village Police Department because of the variety the job offers. As a police officer, she would never be stuck at a desk, mindlessly completing the same routine tasks everyday.

Little did she know, when she first entered the Suffolk County Police Academy 14 years ago, that she would end up making history by becoming the first female sergeant in Southampton Village Police Department history. The newly minted Sgt. Hurteau, 36, was promoted by Police Chief William Wilson on September 25 after serving as an officer and detective for 14 years. She will be honored by the Southampton Village Board at its public meeting on October 8.

For the last three years, Sgt. Hurteau’s primary assignment was busting drug dealers while working with the East End Drug Task Force, a job she said will help her in her responsibilities as sergeant. The Suffolk County district attorney’s office oversees and manages the East End Drug Task Force, which has been in existence for more than 20 years.

After working undercover and breaking up drug rings, some international in scope, Sgt. Hurteau said she is ready to work out of her home base again. As sergeant, she said she will teach Southampton Village officers many of the techniques she learned as a member of the task force.

Sgt. Hurteau will be one of six sergeants who oversee a squad of three to four police officers each, Chief Wilson said. He noted that there are 31 officers in the department. “They oversee patrol operations, assign police officers’ duties, provide assistance, answer calls and provide accountability on the street,” he said, describing the day-to-day duties of a sergeant. He noted that sergeants are among the highest-ranking members of the department, as only the lieutenant, captain and chief have more authority.

Sgt. Hurteau took the civil service test for a sergeant’s job about two years ago and was waiting for a position to open up in the department, Chief Wilson explained. Promotions within a police department can come only from that promotional list, as per New York State civil service rules.

“Because so much responsibility is placed on the sergeants, we’re very conscious when we promote,” he said. “She has served with distinction for her entire career.”

Sgt. Hurteau is happy to be moving up the ladder in the department, and she sees her promotion as a turning point in her career. “It was time to move on—all good things must come to an end,” Sgt. Hurteau said about her work on the task force. “I’m looking forward to being on the streets here.”

While Sgt. Hurteau is the first woman to become one of the highest-ranking members of the police department, women have a long history in law enforcement on the East End, Chief Wilson explained. Officer Marla Donovan recently retired after 20 years of service in the department, he noted.

Sgt. Hurteau said that she is completely comfortable as a police officer, what is typically considered a man’s job. “I’m not your typical woman,” she said.

She went on to say that she does not see the members of the department along gender lines, and thinks of her co-workers more as members of a team. “I don’t have a problem working with men at all,” Sgt. Hurteau said. “I don’t look at it as men and women. It’s a group.”

Chief Wilson added that Sgt. Hurteau’s promotion was based on her outstanding ability, not the fact that she is a woman.

“She’s instinctive and she’s extremely self-motivated, and she’s diligent in that she requires little supervision and understands her job function,” Chief Wilson said. “She’s been prolifically productive in terms of arrests and she makes good realistic commonsense decisions.

“It takes a lot to be a good police officer, but it takes even more to be a good supervisor,” he added.

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Long time, no see...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 6, 09 2:08 PM
Go Sue!
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Oct 7, 09 1:23 PM
Great news for Sue and for Southampton. Congratulations to Sue on her promotion and to the Village on a very good decision. All the best Sgt. Hurteau!
By Tom Stengel (2), Southampton on Oct 7, 09 11:27 PM
By nicksr (1), southampton on Oct 8, 09 12:17 PM
Congratulations!! GL

By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Oct 8, 09 7:43 PM
Welcome Home Sgt. Hurteau!! Congratulations! Southampton needed some GOOD news!
By wondering (63), Southampton on Oct 9, 09 5:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
The first ever? Congratulations to Sgt. Harteau for blasting thru that glass ceiling. You're an inspiration to us all........
By MaryMac (43), Riverhead on Oct 9, 09 10:03 AM
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 9, 09 2:13 PM
good job!
By WESTEND (15), quogue on Oct 10, 09 2:23 PM
I haven't see Sgt. Hurteau since she was 3 years old (I lived next door to her in the summers.) Hard to believe she is all grown up and busting drug dealers...Good for you Suzanne!! Congrats!
By snowjsy (1), Brewster on Oct 22, 09 8:58 PM