On Sunday, Lt. Jeffrey (“Skipper”) Manter ceremoniously retired from the West Tisbury Police Department after 47 years of service. The thank-yous given to Manter by the town included a parade of law enforcement, fire, and EMS vehicles, and a tractor driven by Freddy Fisher of Nip and Tuck Farm.
Prior to the parade, gathering inside the vehicle bays of West Tisbury Fire Station No. 2, Manter unpinned his lieutenant’s shield from his uniform and pinned it to the department’s new lieutenant, Matt Gebo. Before he pinned the shield on Gebo, Manter held up a Band-Aid and joked he was ready in case he pricked Gebo. In addition to recognition of Lt. Gebo’s promotion, Brad Cortez received his sergeant’s shield, and Brad Fielder, Mark Nickowal, Dan Durawa, and Connor Bettencourt all received their patrol officer shields. Continuing to joke, Manter said it took the hiring of four new officers to fill the gap he leaves behind in the department.
“I’ve had a wonderful 47 years on the police department,” Manter said. He recalled aloud that before he was a cop, he used to ride around with his dad (who was the chief).
Manter praised the department and took a moment to thank its personnel for their good work.
Manter continued on with his humor streak. A longtime member of the select board, Manter said finally there will be no more 2-0 votes on police matters, because he’ll no longer have to recuse himself. He said votes would be unanimous.
The parade saw vehicles from every Island town. Out of the lead vehicle, Fire Chief Greg Pachico’s command vehicle, stepped retired West Tisbury Fire Chief Manuel Estrella, who gave Manter a retirement hug.
Following the parade, all the folks who gathered to honor Manter returned to the fire station, where the speaker system of one of the fire engines was rigged to relay Dukes County Communications Center audio.
West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone, using his call sign, Whiskey 10, broadcast a request for a “final dispatch” for Whiskey 11 (Manter).
Dispatcher Stephanie Andrade acknowledged the request and read a statement from the West Tisbury Police Department:
“Whiskey 11, for the last 47 years you have honorably and proudly served as a police officer in the town of West Tisbury. You were always willing to help the citizens of the town, both on and off duty. Your knowledge and ability to teach have played a vital role in the training of a countless number of officers who have worked for the town during your tenure. You are irreplaceable in this department. Even though we will not be seeing you in the station, you will always be a part of the West Tisbury Police Department family. On behalf of the town of West Tisbury, and your fellow officers, we would like to congratulate you on a well-deserved retirement — 47 years in the making. Retirement may be the end of something great, but it is also the start of something better. Looks like you have a little extra time on your hands to complete even more marathons. At 1400 hours, Lt. Manter, you will have successfully and safely reached another finish line. Whiskey 11, acknowledge.”
Manter acknowledged with numerical lingo signifying he was signing off, and said thank you. The crowd around him burst into applause.