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Oct 16, 2013 9:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Police Add A Third-Generation Officer To Their Roster

Oct 16, 2013 10:19 AM

Although new to the full-time ranks of the Southampton Village Police Department, Charles W. Knoebel is a familiar face at the Windmill Lane headquarters.

A part-time village employee for three years, Officer Knoebel will now follow the tradition of his grandfather and uncle before him, and patrol the streets of Southampton Village. Last Thursday night, Officer Knoebel’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Southampton Village Board, and the 22-year-old lifelong resident was sworn in as a third-generation officer in his family.

“He is a good hire by the village,” Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said this week. “He is a quality individual.”

A member of the Southampton High School class of 2009, Officer Knoebel always wanted to be a cop. His grandfather Theodore Raffel was the first family member to join the department, serving as a lieutenant until his death in 1986. His son, also named Theodore Raffel, is currently a sergeant on the force, on which he has served 19 years.

“I am very proud of my nephew C.J., and I know my father, Theodore Raffel, would be thrilled to have his grandson carry on the family tradition with the Southampton Village Police Department that he started in 1966,” Sergeant Raffel said this week in an email. “His hard work and dedication has finally paid off, and I couldn’t be happier for him!”

This week, Officer Knoebel, who is also pursuing a degree in business from Stony Brook University, said he is looking forward to working with both his uncle and the entire department, and that he hopes one day to move up the ranks.

He first got his feet wet with the village department in 2009, when he was hired as a traffic control officer. In 2012 and 2013, he moved up, working as a seasonal police officer during the busier summer months. At the same time, Officer Knoebel attended the Police Academy, going to six months of night classes five days a week, and all day on Saturday, on his own initiative, and paying out of his own pocket. Typically, an officer is hired by a municipality, which in turn foots the bill for the schooling.

“A lot of people get hired this way,” Officer Knoebel said. “It shows that they really want to do this as a career, and it really pays off.”

Last Wednesday, he said he was surprised when he was called into Police Chief Thomas Cummings’ office and told that he would be added to the full-time roster. The position, Chief Cummings said this week, became available recently when another officer retired, and there was never any doubt about hiring Officer Knoebel.

He was sworn in last Thursday night, and had his first full-time night shift on Friday. He will have a starting salary of $59,083.98.

“He was a good choice for us,” Chief Cummings said. “I think that overall, he has done a good job working for us, so when we had an opportunity to hire him, there was no hesitation.”

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More incestuous behavior of picking favorites at the taxpayers expense. There are people on the police list with military experience that have been on the list for years! I'm sure this guy is fine but it is total bs to pass over more experienced candidates. It sounds like the SHVPD thinks this is the Knoebel family business.
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 20, 13 10:50 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hey there "chief"... anyone who's ever met this young man before would tell you that your statement is false. Your sure he is "fine"... he's the finest. He's the one who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He's the one who would get up in the middle of the night to answer his ambulance pager for someone he had never met before. He puts everything he has into helping and serving others. I'm sure any of those people with military experience (myself included) would understand the value ...more
By SHlocal12 (16), Southampton on Oct 20, 13 10:13 PM
I'm sure he is great. The problem is there are people on the list to be called with more experience, and military time. The veterans weren't giving the shirt off there back they were ready to die for your freedom. Don't stand there and tell me a twenty two year old kid is your best candidate because that is horse crap. The way civil servants are picked is incestuous period
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 21, 13 8:27 AM
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You just cant help yourself, can you Chief? There are provisions under civil service law where a vet gets credit added to his or her final test score. After that, there are physical and psychological tests, then followed by an extensive background investigation. This kid had to have ended up in the top 3 in order to be considered for employment. Whether or not the other two in that group of 3 contained a vet is unknown to me. But you make it sound as though this guy was hired off the street. Can ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 21, 13 5:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
No it's just always a coincidence that 90% of Southampton town hall employees are Republicans, and the police force is full of sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews of cops. Just a coincidence. lol
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 21, 13 5:36 PM
Blank the article reads as if no other candidates were considered. Is there a process in the civil service system for a seasonal officer to be made full time, without the Village having to go to the eligibility lists?
By PBR (4951), Southampton on Oct 21, 13 5:46 PM
Have no clue what Southampton Town Hall has to do with this story. Now, answer the question posed to you above. Do you have any proof whatsoever, that civil service law was by passed in order to hire this kid?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 21, 13 5:50 PM
Absolutely not PBR. One can take the test at 18, but would not be hired till they are 21. There is no way around civil service requirements, as much as Chief would like to pretend there are.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 21, 13 5:52 PM
I used Southampton Town as an example of how the one in three law can be arbitrary. The one in three law is to give discretion to the department and it makes it arbitrary. For example the number one on the list could have a law degree and 5 years NYCPD experience and the dept can pick the number three on the list. Don't sit there and act as if this doesn't happen all the time. Look at schools, towns, and every other civil service job they seem to pick favorites. Not saying this guy doesn't deserve ...more
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 22, 13 7:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
blank!, is chief1 correct about the "one in three" window?

Thanks
By PBR (4951), Southampton on Oct 22, 13 9:22 AM
The one-in-three is (mostly) correct. When hiring off of a civil service list the municipality must interview the top three candidates based on their score. Now, sometimes those candidates have already taken a position in another municipality so they are no longer eligible, or they may not want to give up their current position and decline the interview, in which case the municipality gets to go down the list.

As was correctly pointed out, vets do get bonus points for civil service tests ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 9:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Once again Chief, you have ANYTHING, other than your insinuation, that there was anything done improperly here? You will note when I do what you call being a bully, you never respond to the question posed.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 10:12 AM
As usual your reading comprehension stinks. I never said anyone did anything wrong. I said the process of giving discretion is wrong. Sometimes people higher on the list are disqualified arbitrially by the person hiring them . Maybe that's why there are so many suits by civil service candidates.
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 22, 13 10:50 AM
Thanks blank!, so the upshot seems to be that there IS room for favoritism within limits, which I think was chief1's general point.

Mr. Knoebel seems eminently qualified, and a good fit for the department, just for the record. Good luck to you, sir.
By PBR (4951), Southampton on Oct 22, 13 10:57 AM
Chief stated: "More incestuous behavior of picking favorites at the taxpayers expense. There are people on the police list with military experience that have been on the list for years!"

How does military experience translate into qualifications for village police force? If I were hiring someone, I would probably hire the person who has been working in the Village police system for years (and who, btw, paid for the police academy out of his own pocket) than someone who was in the military. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 11:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Once again, Chief, your claims of "incestuous behavior" (how does that cost taxpayers a dime?) "there have been more qualified people on the list for years" Really? who? When did the list come out. You attempt to indict the village for following civil service law. Out of three candidates, only got the job this round, the kid has both a work history with the village and follows in footsteps of family members. And now that you added a new twist, please inform the readers of the last lawsuit by a civil ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 1:31 PM
No need to tell me about the sacrifice of veterans. I just got home from Afghanistan last year. I stand by what I said.
By SHlocal12 (16), Southampton on Oct 21, 13 4:47 PM
Congrats CJ!
By mklinger (2), Southampton on Oct 21, 13 6:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
If candidates attain one of the top three positions on the civil service list exclusively via their scores on objective tests (e.g. multiple choice, machine scored), the only complaint of favoritism could be directed at the process that chooses one out of those three. On the other hand, if one's position on the civil service list is arrived at in part as a result of subjective evaluations by interviewers, then those results are hardly immune to partiality. This objective/subjective mix is well-established, ...more
By highhatsize (4174), East Quogue on Oct 22, 13 11:25 AM
Charles Knowebel scored 95 on the Civil Service Test as per Suffolk County and was tied for 1,140 on the list. The top score was 107.5 (by 5 applicants) who achieved such a score by acing the test and getting service credits added.

Since the list was established on 12/27/2011, it is likely that many people above the officer in question already obtained a job in other villages/towns or the county or chose to pursue a different career path.

There were a total of 122 people who ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 12:29 PM
Position on the list is solely based on test score. Again, after the written test comes physical, psychological, medical, and background investigations. None of which affect standing on the list. You fail one, you're off the list. (possibly pending appeal)
I made no claim that favoritism is impossible. I just challenged Chief to his claim that favoritism was the overwhelming reason the kid got hired, and that "more experienced people, on the list for years" were passed over, seeing as the ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 1:39 PM
Position on the list is solely based on test score. Again, after the written test comes physical, psychological, medical, and background investigations. None of which affect standing on the list. You fail one, you're off the list. (possibly pending appeal)
I made no claim that favoritism is impossible. I just challenged Chief to his claim that favoritism was the overwhelming reason the kid got hired, and that "more experienced people, on the list for years" were passed over, seeing as the ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 22, 13 1:39 PM
Hmmm so out 1140 candidates (some having extensive police and military experience) we picked a twenty one year old kid? No Blank its not good to keep hiring friends and families in a police department, because it questions the integrity of the entire department. As far as lawsuits in the area of civil servants why don't you look it up on E Courts and find out for yourself or maybe ask anintelligent attorney how many suits go on.
Nature actually thinks that this kid has some right like some ...more
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 23, 13 7:39 AM
"Nature actually thinks that this kid has some right like some ...more sort of family business to get this job." No idea how you came to that from my post. I simply stated that it's not uncommon for people to follow in the footsteps of their family members re: professions and that it's common in a lot of walks of life, not just law enforcement.

Ok, so out of the 1140 candidates, how many were residents of the village/town? How many already had been through basic training? How many had ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 23, 13 9:10 AM
Out of that 1140, it is fair to surmise that most of them reside at points west. Its is the village's practice, and I believe that of most smaller municipalities, to ask for civil service to provide a list of residents within that municipality. The village did not have a list of 1,1140 candidates to interview. You seem to know who is on the list and something about their backgrounds as well, Chief. How you know that is again beyond comprehension of us mere mortals. FWIW I would much prefer them ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 13 10:12 AM
While I totally disagree with most all of chiefs statements, there have been lawsuits over the civil service test. In the mid 90's I took the test, got a 98, and passed all related tests( physical, psych,etc). I was almost guaranteed a job when the entire test was thrown out because minorities challenged that it was racially biased. People were upset because only a small percentage of minorities were represented in the top 10% of the the test scores but I can tell you that when I was taking ...more
By bubby (236), southampton on Oct 24, 13 2:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
I didn't claim it never happened. But that was 20 years ago. Chief made the statement as though it is a common practice on all civil service test. He is attempting to claim nepotism here, with no basis whatsoever. It is unfortunate for you, granted, but if the test itself was eventually thrown out, there must have been some basis, weak or not, for that to happen.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 13 2:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
You don't see nepotism? Wake up pal its alive and well. Look at our schools . We have 22 year old college grads getting teaching jobs over 800 applicants many with years of experience. The person who gets the job is a 22 year old who is the daughter of a school district employee. We have SHTPD who just spent over 100k in legal fees to defend suits from a couple cops wrong doing who have ties in the dept. Its better to have cops unattached and unrelated to others. This way there is no one protecting ...more
By chief1 (2782), southampton on Oct 24, 13 3:28 PM
SO Chief cant see his way to an intelligent debate and changes the subject, again. Here you go Chief, the village had 3, count 'em 3, applicants, not 1,140, to chose from. Do you have any information whatsoever that either of the other two were more qualified for this position?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Oct 25, 13 1:47 PM
Good luck and welcome to the police force of Southampton Officer Knoebel. Your grandfather must be smiling up there and your family should be extremely proud. This young man follows a brave line of extremely good police officers who have served our village for a long time. Good call.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 22, 13 1:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
As the father of a young man with aspirations of being a police officer that currently sits high on the list of eleigible canditates in Suffolk County I will say this. After a call to civil service on the merits of this individual being hired ahead of my child I was advised this:
Charles Knoebel was #2 on the local home list for Southampton Village, the person listed #1 is already employed there . Thereby he is/was #1 in line to be hired.
By blbandit (21), Southampton on Oct 25, 13 9:16 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you for bringing some clarity to this issue. Hopefully Chieftan will settle down....
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 25, 13 9:23 AM
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