Suffolk Police sergeant from Riverhead killed in crash

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Detective Sergeant Robert Reecks.

A police sergeant from Riverhead, who for 13 years headed the Suffolk County Police Department’s Bias Crimes unit, was killed in a single-car crash on Sunrise Highway early Saturday morning.

Detective Sergeant Robert Reecks was off-duty and driving an unmarked department vehicle eastbound on Sunrise Highway in Moriches when his vehicle veered off the roadway and struck a concrete bridge structure near Moriches-Middle Island Road at 5:32 a.m., Suffolk Police said.

The 57-year-old, who lived in Riverhead with his wife Rita, was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to contact the Seventh Squad at (631) 852-8752.

Det. Sgt. Reecks had been a member of the Suffolk County Police Department since 1981. He was commander of the Bias Crimes unit until January, when he was replaced but continued to serve as a deputy in the unit.

Det. Sgt. Reecks was a well-respected cop with a no-nonsense reputation. He once told a Times/Review Newsgroup contributor who wrote a column on a bias crimes seminar he gave: “I don’t play around. I’m the police department. [If you commit a hate crime] I’m going to arrest you.”

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said in a statement that Det. Sgt. Reecks “played a role in building stronger relationships with the minority community and worked to reduce hate crimes through education.”

“His death is a loss for the police department and the community and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time,” Commissioner Dormer said.

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