Amid controversy, Leyden police chief, captain retire

  • DAN GALVIS

  • GILDA GALVIS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2021 4:25:04 PM

LEYDEN — The Police Department’s chief and captain, who are husband and wife, have both submitted letters announcing their immediate intent to retire.

The letters were submitted just days after an Oct. 25 meeting where the Selectboard shared the results of an Oct. 18 executive session meeting with Police Chief Dan Galvis to review racist, misogynistic and xenophobic content from emails he shared with other town employees and officers between 2015 and 2016.

These emails were first brought to light following a Sept. 7 meeting when board members discussed the chief’s decision not to recommend Police Sgt. Tina Riddell for reappointment. Riddell, who was not reappointed, in turn questioned the chief’s own conduct and shared the batch of emails Galvis had forwarded from what was considered his official work email.

Galvis did not answer calls requesting comment on Thursday afternoon.

Selectboard Chair Jeffrey Neipp said he spoke briefly with Galvis on Thursday morning, and that the letters simply stated the chief and captain would retire officially at noon that day. The chief and his wife, Capt. Gilda Galvis, had been expected to retain their positions until June 2022.

The Selectboard will officially accept these letters during its scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 1.

While Neipp said the Galvises did not voice a reason for their immediate retirement, he suspected it was influenced by the discussions over the last two months, with members of the public expressing concern over the content of the emails and the chief’s conduct.

“I wished them the best and thanked them,” Neipp said. “I thought they were making the right decision with everything going on. … It’s time for the town to move forward and to heal. It’s been hard for the town since this first began.”

Resident Sara Seinberg, who has spoken at multiple public meetings to contest the chief’s past behavior and organized a petition calling for Galvis’ resignation or termination, admitted she was stunned to hear of the chief and captain’s immediate exit.

“I had very low expectations for what the Selectboard would do, and those expectations were met,” she said of the Oct. 25 meeting. “I think we have a long way to go as a town, but through this process people have gotten engaged. People have stood up for what’s right and are ready to take part in making decisions that will bring us together.”

Seinberg acknowledged that the Galvises are long-time members of the community and will continue to be, as the town looks to “work together” to “build a public safety mechanism that works for all the people who live” in Leyden.

This work may continue Monday evening, with expected conversation around reorganization of public safety departments. Selectboard member Erica Jensen, Leyden Fire Department Officer-in-Charge Brian Pelletier and others are working together to bring the town’s emergency medical services into the purview of the Fire Department. These services have been under the jurisdiction of the Police Department.

According to Pelletier, the department has 13 members who are all first responder certified. Jensen, a former firefighter, said she is pursuing a way to instate two certified EMTs — including former Police Sgt. Riddell — as EMTs employed under the Fire Department.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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