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Iraq veteran Kyle Gribi new Easthampton police officer

  • City Clerk Barbara LaBombard swears in Officer Kyle Gribi at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.

    City Clerk Barbara LaBombard swears in Officer Kyle Gribi at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on.

    Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on.

    Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Officer Kyle Gribi is sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.

    Officer Kyle Gribi is sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Officer Kyle Gribi gets a hug from his wife, Desiree Gribi, after being sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.

    Officer Kyle Gribi gets a hug from his wife, Desiree Gribi, after being sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex. Purchase photo reprints »

  • City Clerk Barbara LaBombard swears in Officer Kyle Gribi at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.
  • Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on.
  • Police Chief Bruce McMahon speaks about Officer Kyle Gribi at his swearing in ceremony Thursday, while Gribi's 7-week-old son, Gunnar, held by friend Meredith Masloski, looks on.
  • Officer Kyle Gribi is sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.
  • Officer Kyle Gribi gets a hug from his wife, Desiree Gribi, after being sworn in at a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex.

— A decorated Iraq War veteran from Santa Cruz, Calif., is the newest member of the Easthampton Police Department.

Kyle Gribi, 28, was sworn in during a ceremony Thursday at the Public Safety Complex on Payson Avenue. Gribi worked as a full-time patrol officer at the Agawam Police Department for 16 months before he opted to take the job in Easthampton.

“I knew a couple of guys in the police academy that were good guys and they came here, and I trusted their opinion when they said it was nice here,” Gribi said after the ceremony.

“I feel very welcome here,” he said. “I got the feeling in the interview with the chief that this was the kind of place where you look forward to going to work.”

He lives in Feeding Hills with his wife, Desiree Gribi, and their 7-week-old son, Gunnar. Both attended his swearing in, along with members of the police and fire departments, Mayor Michael A. Tautznik and other community members.

In a speech at the ceremony, Police Chief Bruce McMahon said Gribi served in the U.S. Navy for five years. He completed two tours of active duty in Iraq as a medical corpsman, and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat.

McMahon said that when checking Gribi’s references, his work ethic and reliability stood out. “As one person put it, Kyle is one of those guys that you would want with you when things were bad,” he said.

“There were a lot of quality candidates and he really stood out, everyone had very positive things to say about him and he was really good in the interview,” McMahon said.

Gribi will take on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift.

His hiring helps get the department closer to being fully staffed at 28 officers. It is short partly because two officers and one detective were injured in the line of duty and unable to return to work. Since officers get full pay while they are out due to an injury sustained in the line of duty, the department cannot afford to replace them until they are officially retired, McMahon said.

Gribi replaces Richard Facteau, who retired in October

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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