Pelham Manor Police Chief Carpenter abruptly retires over weekend; mayor not saying more for legal reasons

Pelham Manor Police Chief Jeffrey Carpenter has abruptly retired from the department he served since 1998, according to a two-sentence email statement Wednesday from the Village of Pelham Manor. He was named to the top job in 2015.

In a brief email to the Pelham Examiner later Wednesday night, Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey said, “We expect to release more information shortly, but cannot do so right now for legal reasons.”

The Westchester Rockland Journal News earlier reported it received “a tip that Carpenter had turned in his department car.” The state Comptroller’s Office reported his retirement date was May 29 after he filed for retirement a day earlier, the Journal News reported.

The Manor police are currently under the leadership of Lt. Thomas Atkins, who was hired in 1985 and promoted to lieutenant in 2017, the Pelham Manor statement said.

On May 10, Carpenter delivered a routine report to the Pelham Manor Board of Trustees and presented several officers with acknowledgments for their work that month, which included the arrest of a career criminal. He was not seen on screen at the May 24 board meeting.

An officer answering the phone at the Pelham Manor department said “they hadn’t been made aware of anything yet.”

Carpenter was promoted after then Pelham Manor Police Chief Alfred Mosiello announced his retirement in February 2015 over racist emails he shared with fellow officers, according to an article in the Journal News.

In fact, Carpenter’s appointment and the changes he made to the department were cited often in the past year by Lapey as reasons why Pelham Manor had little new to do in the police reform effort initiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to address structural racism in law enforcement.

When Carpenter was hired, “the only person who stepped up and wanted to help change a department in need was yours truly,” said Lapey during a March candidate’s forum. During a September board meeting, she said the village hit a “reset button” on the police department in 2015 by selecting Carpenter as chief and putting into effect a new commitment to direct communication with residents.

The requirement to address racism in local police departments across the state came in Executive Order 203: New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, which Cuomo signed June 12, 2020 in the wake of the murder by police of George Floyd and the protests that followed across the U.S., including in Pelham.

“We embrace our work under Executive Order 203: New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, which in many respects serves as an extension to the work we are already doing with and through our police department,” said Monachino Lapey at the board meeting.

The Journal News is reporting that Pelham Manor Police Commissioner Bridget Bennett received an anonymous email in February about low morale in the police department and practices that violate criminal law procedure.