Island police officers shuffle to new departments

Officer Jeff Trudel and Buster shown in this photo taken in November are off to Edgartown. — File photo by Steve Myrick

The Edgartown and Oak Bluffs police departments will soon welcome some new, yet familiar police officers to their ranks.

Edgartown Police Chief Tony Bettencourt received authorization from selectmen last week to hire two new officers. Both of the officers are currently employed by departments in other towns.

Jeff Trudel, a veteran police officer in Oak Bluffs, will move, along with his K-9 partner, Buster, to Edgartown.

Ryan Ruley, a police officer in Aquinnah, will also move to Edgartown, where he previously worked as a special officer.

Edgartown voters authorized one new position at annual town meeting. Edgartown police officer Alex Elias took a job with the Northeastern University Police, creating another opening.

Though Officer Trudel has changed departments, there will be no change in operations for the K-9 unit. All the equipment and operating costs for the drug-sniffing dog are donated, or purchased, through the Martha’s Vineyard Law Enforcement Council. The K-9 unit is available for calls in any town.

Chief Bettencourt said his counterparts in other departments have been able to plan for a smooth transition. “We meet as chiefs once a month, and we discuss it,” he said. “Nothing was done behind closed doors. I’ve been talking to them since the beginning.”

The new officers are well established on the Island. Their reasons for making a move include a return to his home town, in Mr. Ruley’s case, and a salary increase for Mr. Trudel.

“They’re fully trained, they live here,” Chief Bettencourt said. “The officer I’m losing is an individual that moved here, doesn’t have a place to live, found out he can’t really afford to live here, so off he goes to the city.”

The Oak Bluffs vacancy will be filled by Tisbury police officer Dustin Shaw. Introduced to Oak Bluffs selectmen at their regular meeting Tuesday, Mr. Shaw, a native of Oak Bluffs, said it had always been his goal to work for his home town department.

“He has graduated the police academy, he has a bachelor’s degree from Norwich University, and has served in the Coast Guard,” Chief Erik Blake told selectmen. “He’s a local kid, born and raised here. He’ll do an amazing job.”