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Brewster Police Sgt. Mourned

The Village of Brewster Police Department is mourning the recent loss of a member of its force.

Brewster Police Sgt. Richard Gurniak, 57, suffered a heart attack and collapsed April 21 after finishing his shift. Despite immediate assistance from fellow officers and members of the Putnam Sheriff’s Office, he died after being transported to Putnam Hospital.

According to the Village of Brewster Police Department, Gurniak was a retired member of the NYPD who joined the Brewster force two years ago.

As bunting was placed at the police station, Chief John Del Gardo described the day as “one of the saddest in our history. This is the first line-of-duty death since the department was formed in 2006,” he said.

Those who knew Gurniak called him a great supervisor who was loved and respected by the men and woman of this department.

“The entire force is devastated by Richard’s sudden death,” said Sgt. Jim Phillips, Brewster Police Benevolent Association president. “We are a small, tight-knit department and feel the pain Sgt. Gurniak’s family is going through. Rich was a good man who will be missed.”

Mayor James Schoenig recalled hiring Gurniak.

“He had a stellar career in New York City, which carried over to Brewster,” he said. “Richard was respected by the entire department. Sgt. Gurniak died doing what he loved doing – protecting residents of our community.”

The Village of Brewster PBA and the entire department thanked the PCSO sergeant and deputy who worked tirelessly in an attempt to save Gurniak, as well as the fast and professional response of Brewster EMS.


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