TOWN OF KENT-For 17 years, Sgt. Michael Tierney patrolled the roads in and around Kent as a member of the Kent Police Department.

Times were different from 1962 to 1979 in Putnam County as Kent was for the most part a sleepy little town.

Today, Kent finds itself at the crossroads of the county and while some neighborhoods remain as "back woodsy" little hamlets, other sections of the town find themselves located along busy highway systems.

With traffic comes accidents and when Kent Police Chief Donald Smith became reacquainted with Mr. Tierney, who he worked under as a rookie cop, the chief advised his old friend that the department was interested in purchasing camera equipment. However, they were having difficulty in purchasing up-to-date technology due to municipal budget constraints.

"Mike told me that perhaps he could help and the next day he visited the police station with boxes and boxes of cameras and lenses," said the chief.

When he retired from the force, Mr. Tierney and his wife relocated to Virginia and formed a company called Tierney Liability Investigators, which investigates major crashes for the General Motors Corporation nationwide.

Twenty years later, Mr. Tierney said "it was a time for a change again and Pat and I have moved back."

His company has been in the process of upgrading its photographic equipment and Mr. Tierney said, "why not help my old buddies? I have a great allegiance towards the Kent cops. I have met with success over the years but I'll never forget where my roots were sown."

Mr. Tierney recalled he was one of the first officers to patrol Kent when the force was created in 1962. "We replaced the old Lake Carmel Traffic Patrol. Gardiner Bailey was our first chief. When the officers went to civil service, I was one of the first to sign on," he said.

Mr. Tierney said with municipal budgets becoming tighter and tighter due to the tough economy, "most small departments will never be able to purchase state-of-the-art cameras. Photography is probably the most important aspect of an investigation."

While most of the equipment donated to the Kent Police was used but in excellent condition Mr. Tierney purchased several new cameras for the department. "I wanted the guys to have good equipment not the toys that we were forced to use 35 years ago. When we had to take photographs in the old days, we either used Polaroids or we had to call the sheriff's department or the state police for assistance."

Chief Smith informed Mr. Tierney that two of the department's sergeants, Ron Yeager and James Oster had recently returned from an accident investigation school. Mr. Tierney has donated additional equipment to the force to help the men investigate serious mishaps.

Sgt. Yeager said the four-week long course at the Rockland County Police Academy was extremely beneficial. "It has trained us on the latest techniques of accident investigation. The cameras will be a godsend," he said.

Chief Smith commended Mr. Tierney for "coming to the assistance of the Kent Police Department as well as the taxpayers of Lake Carmel and Kent. Mike saved us at least $15,000 by his generosity."


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005