MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Carmel Police Department got a little bigger last week as the Town Board hired two new officers to join the force. The board has now hired eight new officers over the past 12 months.

The latest officers, Travis Lash, and Vincenzo Rocco, were sworn in by Supervisor Ken Schmitt during a ceremony at last week’s Town Board meeting.

Lash, 31, grew up in Brewster where he attended high school and still resides. He went to Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., where he earned a degree in business administration.

Sign Up for Mahopac Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

He worked for the Worcester (Mass.) Sharks, a semi-pro hockey team, before joining the Army and becoming a member of the military police, for which he is still active. For the past four-and-a-half years, he’s worked as a police officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs at the VA hospital in Montrose. He is also a member of the Army National Guard.

“I have always wanted to be in law enforcement,” he said. “I always had an itch for it—to protect and serve.”

Moving back to the area where he grew up, Lash said, makes the new job even more exciting. “I am familiar with the area.”

Schmitt, who retired from the Carmel PD after more than two dozen years’ service, noted Lash’s military experience. “He has a background in law enforcement,” the supervisor said, “and will be a great addition to the Carmel Police Department.”

Rocco, 28, grew up in East Fishkill, where he still resides and attended John Jay High School there. In 2008, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army and remains active. Like Lash, Rocco became a military police officer, a job he’s performed out of Middletown, Conn., for the past four years.

Rocco was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013-14 and then spent a year in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from which he returned last March.

Before taking the Carmel PD job, he worked for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office as a corrections officer for four years.

“I thought about [becoming a police officer] ever since I was a kid,” he said, “It gets kind of ingrained in you. It is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Rocco said he is excited to get his first patrol under his belt.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

Both Lash and Rocco were scheduled to begin training at the police academy this week.

Schmitt applauded the latest hires. “This is great news that we are adding to the ranks of the department,” he said.

“They will be attending the police academy for basic training,” Schmitt said. “These are brand new officers. It is always good to see that. We have taken a lot of transfers in the past, but we also like to see new officers as new hires who go through the academy. That is something that I’d like to see more of going forward. We have two great candidates here.”