MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Carmel Police Department has another new officer on its staff and like several recent appointments, he is a Mahopac native son.
The Town Board unanimously appointed Daniel Ryan Shea to the force at its Aug. 1 meeting and he was sworn in by town attorney Greg Folchetti. Shea, 24, grew up in Mahopac and is a 2012 graduate of Mahopac High School. He currently attends Pace University where he is majoring in business management with a focus on human resources.
Shea’s family has a long track record of public service, but his foray into law enforcement is somewhat of a departure from what has been somewhat of clan tradition.
“My family is actually all firemen. I am kind of the black sheep,” he said with a laugh. “My great-grandfather to grandfather to father, who was battalion chief, were all at FDNY. I am the first to go into law enforcement. My family found it humorous; they knew eventually someone would break off and do this. But they’re very happy.”
Before becoming a cop, Shea must attend the Westchester County Police Academy, which he began last week. He is slated to graduate on Dec. 21 and will officially join the Carmel police force in January 2019.
“Ever since I was young I wanted to be a police officer,” Shea said. “I would have trouble sleeping all the time thinking about getting to this day. It’s finally here.”
Shea said that while growing up, he was inspired by one of his best friend’s dad, who was a member of the Carmel PD.
“I always assumed I would start with NYPD and if I got lucky I would transfer here,” he said. “But it’s really a dream come true to start my career here in the town that I grew up in. I know pretty much everything about this town. Well, almost.”
Shea said his goal is to “be the best police officer I can be and follow the book.”
“I like the order that [law enforcement] has and that I won’t always be stuck behind a desk, he said. “I get to go out around my town and help people. And there is something new every day. I like the challenge of that and that it’s not always a set time [to go to work]. You can be working different hours.”
Shea said he would love to eventually become a detective and move up through the ranks as high as he can.
Last Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony was attended by his father, John, his mother, Allison, as well as his girlfriend, Mariel Decoro of Somers.
Shea is the oldest of four children; he has two sisters and a brother.
“My brother John is going to be a senior at Mahopac High School and he is excited about going into law enforcement, too, and maybe joining the Carmel PD as well,” he said.
Shea noted that another Mahopac native, Brian Smith, was hired as a police officer for the CPD in April.
“He is my neighbor and we grew up together,” he said. “Never in my entire life did I think this would be happening at the exact same time—going to the academy together.”
It doesn’t end there. Two of Shea’s best friends are also in law enforcement—one a deputy for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the other is a correction’s officer.
“I know the (Shea) family and they’re wonderful,” said Deputy Supervisor Suzi McDonough. “Dan has done a ton of community service, including Relay for Life and MSA. So, welcome to the police force.”
The town has now hired four new officers over the past three months. Police Chief Mike Cazzari said the trend is likely to continue because he expects to lose several more to retirement over the next two years. Meanwhile, he said he is thrilled over the prospect of Shea joining the force.
“I’ve known those [Shea] kids since they were in elementary school,” he said. “I like to add community-minded people like Dan to the force. I want people with the right maturity who want to be here, who want to be a police officer in the town of Carmel and it’s been his dream since he was a kid.”