MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Mount Pleasant has appointed Lt. Paul Oliva Jr. as acting police chief following the arrest of Chief Brian Fanelli on child pornography charges.
Oliva is a Mount Pleasant resident and son of former Chief Paul Oliva. He has been with the department since 1988. Oliva received unanimous approval from the Town Board at the meeting Tuesday night.
"I work with a group of great law enforcement professionals and they were shocked at the news but they are professional and we are eager to move on and show the residents of Mount Pleasant that they will continue to get the best service we can give them," Oliva said.
Oliva received a standing ovation from a large group of police officers following his appointment. He said that the large turnout speaks to the level of morale within the department and the support for his appointment.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was some mistrust from the public," he said following the arrest of Fanelli. He said that the officers in the department are hoping to move forward. "It's an honor and a privilege to work alongside this group."
Oliva was chosen because he is one of two senior executive officers within the department. The Town Board will decide upon a permanent replacement for Fanelli within the next 90 days. Oliva said he would consider taking over the position permanently if selected.
Oliva said he could not comment further on the case against Fanelli, who was charged with one count of possession of child pornography. The Department of Homeland Security accused Fanelli of having more than 120 child pornography files on his computer. He was reportedly hospitalized after police found him suicidal in his home. He has since been released from Putnam Hospital Center.
Fanelli is under house arrest after posting $50,000 bail. He is due back in court Feb. 19.