Sag Harbor natives Randy Steyert, pictured above, and Robert Rozzi have recently joined the Sag Harbor Village Police Department. Photography by Stephen J. Kotz.
By Stephen J. Kotz
The Sag Harbor Village Police Department is taking on a decidedly local appearance with the recent hiring of two new officers, both of whom grew up in the village.
In November, Officer Randy Steyert, who previously had served three years with the New York Police Department, was hired by the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees. Just a month later, Officer Robert Rozzi, who was a part-time officer in East Hampton Town and Southampton Village for the past three years, became the department’s latest hire.
The pair join several other locals on the staff, starting with Chief Tom Fabiano and including Officer Pat Milazzo, Officer Nick Samot, and part-time Officer Michael Labrozzi.
Both Officer Steyert and Officer Rozzi said working in Sag Harbor was a dream come true.
“I love it. What could be better than working in your hometown?” said Officer Steyert, who is 28 years old and a 2004 Pierson High School graduate. “I’ll do everything I can to try to improve the quality of life here.”
“It’s kind of a cliché and cheesy to say you want to give back to the place you grew up in, but that’s how I feel,” said Officer Rozzi, 26, who graduated from Pierson in 2006.
Both officers said they had wanted to be policemen since they were kids. Officer Steyert, the son of Rick and Becky Steyert, won a football scholarship to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he earned a degree in criminal justice. He ran a fitness business before getting the call from the NYPD.
After completing the police academy, Officer Steyert was given his first assignment: New Year’s Day at 45th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. “I was right in the thick of it,” he said. Soon he was transferred to the 32nd Precinct in central Harlem. “It’s known as ‘the tomb of gloom’ because it has the most deaths in the line of duty than any other place in the city,” he said. After only six weeks on the job, he was responding to a call when a suspect fired shots at an officer before being wounded himself.
Officer Rozzi is the son of Robert Rozzi and Michelle Duchemin. He said his stepfather, Kevin Duchemin, an East Hampton Village officer himself, had helped guide him toward a career in law enforcement.
After graduating from Pierson, Officer Rozzi attended Universal Technical Institute in Massachusetts, where he studied automobile mechanics. He landed a job with the East Hampton Village Highway Department before catching on as a seasonal officer with the town and later with Southampton Village.
His first assignment was on foot patrol in Montauk during the height of the summer season. “Essentially, I was dealing with all the drunk people,” he said. “It was quite a scene.”
Officer Rozzi said the wait, after graduating from the police academy in 2012, was well worth it. “It’s everything I thought it would be for a small town. It’s fairly quiet, but there is enough to keep you busy.”
Although Sag Harbor has changed—“I saw it go from Sag Harbor to the Hamptons”—Officer Rozzi said the village retains its small town charm. “It’s nice being a local and knowing all the people and the area,” he said.
Officer Steyert also said he was happy to be home. He left New York shortly before two officers were shot to death in their car by a man who later committed suicide and had bragged beforehand that he was going to avenge the deaths of black men at the hands of police.
“I finished in Central Park,” he said. “You think that’s a safe place, but people are getting their stuff taken every day, there were a couple of rapes, and two gun arrests involving 14-year-old kids.”
“Out here there is not a fear of authority, but of respect, and that makes the job so much easier,” he added.