WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains promoted Irene Daniels, the first woman to join the department's auxiliary police unit in Feb. 1975, to lieutenant of the volunteer unit and Jefim Piekarz, an auxiliary officer since Nov. 2005, as sergeant in a Thursday swearing- in ceremony.
Public Safety Commissioner David Chong thanked the two "veterans of the auxiliary department" for their dedication before administering oaths associated with their new positions.
"They come out when most people would be home. They come out on holidays. They come out in storms. And they come out for parades," Chong said. "They don't get compensated. They do it for the love of their neighbors and city."
Daniels, a former White Plains resident looking to return to the city, encouraged those looking to give back to join the auxiliary police unit, which is currently recruiting.
"Believe it or not in those days, they didn't allow women in the police department, so I joined the auxiliary police. They had to change the city ordinance," said Daniels, who started working as the police chief's secretary when she was 20. "This is a wonderful, wonderful way of volunteering. It's a great way to get to know the community."
Joining the 10 auxiliary police officers who help out with extreme weather and approximately 22 parades, festivals, fireworks displays, and other community celebrations each year helped Daniels see what it's like on the other side of the desk
The public safety department has since given her a certificate commending her arrest of three burglary suspects in 1980 and praise from the mayor's office for her assistance during the blackouts of 1977 and 1980.
Piekarz said he was "very, very excited" about his promotion and "up to the challenge of filling Lt. Daniels' shoes."
"I just love it. I enjoy the whole auxiliary [job] and just helping people. I enjoy making sure that the motorists look out for pedestrians," said Piekarz, a White Plains resident and chief mater licensed electrician who has been honored for his emergency storm response in March, 2010. "I like being with the little kids. They like to get up close to you and salute."
Mayor Thomas Roach thanked the volunteers for their service at the ceremony.
"I've seen both of you actually in action on many occasions and I know what a good job you do," said Roach. "We appreciate it."
To learn more about the auxiliary police or volunteer with the unit, contact Cpt. David Burpee.
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