Town Police Detective Tina Giles was not only feted as the 2012 Officer of the Year in East Hampton at the Kiwanis Club of Southampton Town’s 43rd annual police awards banquet, but she also took home the evening's top award.
Giles, a 27-year veteran of the department, received the Howard Stock Memorial Award, becoming the first female to receive the award. Each year the club picks an officer whose work stands out among the participating agencies, which include the State Troopers, Suffolk County parks police, and East End police departments.
"Everybody was so excited last night," when Giles' name was called, Town Police Chief Ed Ecker said on Saturday morning. He recommended her for the honor, in part, because of her work in cracking one of the town's biggest sex abuse cases.
A victim came forward in April, and East Hampton resident Fidel Castro-Brito was arrested on a rape charge, but Giles had a hunch there were more victims. Her investigation culminated in a 70-count felony indictment in late November related to criminal sex acts against three young victims.
"It really was a fantastic case that she'd done," Ecker said, adding that he believes the Kiwanis Club chose her because of her hardwork throughout her careers. "Her a whole body of work came into the selection."
Giles is the second East Hampton Town detective to receive the Howard Stock Memorial Award in the last three years; Two years ago, Detective Earl Hopson received the award. Ecker didn't realize until the presenters mentioned it on Friday night that no female officer had ever received the award though.
"Tina's broken a lot of barriers," Ecker said. She joined the department n 1986 when women were just breaking into police work in East Hampton, Ecker said. When Giles was promoted to detective over 20 years, she was the department's first female detective, and remains the only one.
Reached on Saturday morning, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said he was filled with a sense of pride. "I'm so excited about this. To me, it's just a great honor for Detective Giles and the incredible detective work by her group, Detective Lt. [Chris] Anderson and Chief Ecker. They are second to none," he said.
Chief Ecker called him with the good news after the dinner on Friday night.
"The fact that Tina Giles as an African-American woman is selected for this honor, and the fact that she is the first woman to get this honor — it's a great reflection on the Town of East Hampton, and its inclusion efforts and the great work done by the police department," Wilkinson said. "You don't get many opportunity as a supervisor to glow and this is one of those opportunities. . . I'm really happy for her, her family, and for the Town of East Hampton."
Also celebrated at the dinner on Friday were Police Officer Mario Julio Galeano, East Hampton Village's Officer of the Year, and Police Officer David S. Driscoll, Sag Harbor Village Police Department's Officer of the Year.