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Nov 9, 2012 5:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Captain Robert Pearce Named Acting Chief Of Southampton Town Police Department

Nov 9, 2012 5:14 PM

The Southampton Town Board agreed to officially accept the resignation of Police Chief William Wilson on Thursday night, bringing to an end the chief’s tumultuous 18-month tenure at the top of the town’s police force.

As the department’s executive officer, and now the leading candidate for the chief’s post, Captain Robert Pearce will take over the lead administrative duties of the police force.

Chief Wilson’s resignation does not take effect until December 1, but the chief has been out since at least October 25 and has told the Town Board that he does not plan to return to duty prior to his official resignation date. He confirmed to The Press earlier this week that he has already accepted a position elsewhere, though he hasn’t said where.

Capt. Pearce would be eligible to succeed Chief Wilson once the town has fulfilled the requirements of State Civil Service hiring codes. The town must request a list of eligible candidates for the job from Civil Service administration, according to parameters set by the Town Board.

On Thursday evening, shortly after the board voted to unanimously accept Chief Wilson’s resignation, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the town plans to request that only officers with a rank of captain or above be considered for the post. Only Capt. Pearce would be eligible from within the Town Police ranks under those parameters, although Civil Service laws say that the town can hire from among qualifying officers from departments within the township, including village police departments.

Chief Wilson was himself the chief of the Southampton Village Police Department when he was choosing to succeed retired Chief James Overton, with the board bypassing veteran Town Police Captain Anthony Tenaglia.

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What a tangled web we weave.

And all behind closed doors . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 9, 12 5:18 PM
Pearce should of had it all along !!
By carson (79), southampton on Nov 9, 12 6:01 PM
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Nov 13, 12 9:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
Absolutely the right choice! Congratulations to Bob Pearce!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 12 7:21 PM
Congratulations to Bob Pearce!

By sandbox (6), southampton on Nov 9, 12 7:33 PM
Bad move. Giving control back to the good ole boys. The deparment will be going back to the "doesn't play well with others mentality" All western departments want nothing to do with Southampton Town P.D. as a result of the management "chief overton and boyz". Chief Wilson was trying to change things but, was faced with huge oposition from Malone and Nuzzi. The department was improving under Chief Wilson. It was an uphill battle to get the small improvements. Now it will be a cliff dive back to ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 9, 12 8:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Dear god. Wilson WAS gone throughout the entire Hurricane Sandy and subsequent nor'easter emergency. Barring incapacity, what excuse can he offer for such irresponsible conduct?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 9, 12 8:52 PM
HHS- he was on a scheduled vacation, and was not even in the country. He worked 72 hours straight during Irene. And I am sure had he not been away he would have worked the same during sandy. Get a life!
By sunnydays (43), Hampton Bays on Nov 9, 12 9:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
I suppose that it would be too much to expect him to return from his vacation early due to the emergency, especially now that we know that he was not planning on coming back - - - ever.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 9, 12 10:27 PM
HHS, in all fairness to Chief Wilson, if his relationship with the SHT PD and the Town Board had deteriorated to the point it appears to have gotten to, perhaps it was a class act NOT to come back and assume command. Your hindsight in this regard appears to be Monday morning quarterbacking IMO, and not up to your usual standards.

There are probably lots of unknown details to this mess which will never see the light of day (a separate issue), which made the Chief's absence not only desirable, ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 9, 12 10:37 PM
Where do you get your information, I have information too, he was home and it was a last minute vacation taken after the case against the lieutenant fell apart because it was a baseless case, brought by a desperate man.
That he was forced to resign is poetic justice, great strategy though waiting for election night to drop the news, sounds like an Obama Friday night info dump.
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Nov 10, 12 10:53 AM
I Heard the former chief will be nominated as the Secretary Of Homeland Security, following in the footsteps of his idol, former NYC police commissioner Bernard Kerik :)
By lotaluck (1), Holbrook on Nov 9, 12 11:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Bob Pearce is a wonderful community mind leader and always present for duty !
By james L. Fogarty (6), remsenburg on Nov 10, 12 8:59 AM
I hope Pearce forgets everything he learned about leading from Overton and Tenaglia because then he might have a chance. It appears he might be the lesser of two evils especially with the Republicans fast track Kiernan's discipline, maybe he'll be in charge of the paperclips or Nuzzi's wireless network in town hall. Republican Politics has made a mockery of the town and Police Department.
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 10, 12 8:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
NO NO NO Wilson is the new Southampton Village Police Commis. starting Jan 1, 2013!!!!
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 12 5:41 PM
Tony Bouza or Norm Stamper if for only a year.
By bayarea (46), hampton bays on Nov 12, 12 7:20 AM
lets see how long it takes the new Chief to get more cops and people promoted, unlike Chief Wilson who the board for some unknown reason disliked and didnt give him anything to work with....Hey at least he bettered himself with a more comfortable retirement then he would of had, so the real question is whos laughing now.....Good luck to the new Chief, and sorry to the boys in blue, it appears through the posts on here you will be going backwards once again.....
By BCHBUM11968 (81), SOUTHAMPTON on Nov 14, 12 10:41 AM
It is to bad that the Southampton town board did not let the police chief run his department and they run theres.
I wonder about there voting to let Lt kiernan return to active duty and who can trust him and the town gave him a slap on the wrist.
I am suprised at that two of the ladies went along with the others to bring him back.
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Nov 14, 12 8:32 PM
You can wonder all you want, the facts of the case were baseless, brought by a desperate man. The Lieutenant is a fine civil servant who did not deserve the dis graceful treatment he received. We are lucky to have someone of his honesty and moral character serving the people of this community. Those are the facts folks plain and simple.
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Nov 14, 12 11:24 PM
By carson (79), southampton on Nov 15, 12 2:06 PM
Why don't you find out the facts then and report back to us. You have been mislead by the media and by others who have posted in recent months.
The news accounts have been erroneous from the start.
They have manipulated by a
Seek out the truth from your town board members, you have that right as a concerned citizen, instead of throwing out further propaganda.
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Nov 15, 12 4:09 PM
You seem to be in the know please do tell so it can be cleared up and things can be moved forward, and truly clear the reputation of Lt. Kiernan
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 16, 12 9:39 AM
Nothing to else to tell, all worked out just fine thanks!
See you at the bar!
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Nov 16, 12 10:40 AM
Why would u know the facts. Sounds like u have fallen victim to what certain people want u to hear. If you know the facts, then tell us all what they are and who you are. Otherwise continue with your clean-up campaign or just move on. Sounds like u are a little to close to this one to be objective. He was dirty as is most cops !
By carson (79), southampton on Nov 15, 12 8:48 PM
Blanket statements about the police serve no purpose Carson. No need too denigrate dedicated men and women who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis to uphold the constitution, so that even ignorant people like yourself can have the freedom to post outrageous and unfortunate statements. Again go seek out the truth yourself. Case closed
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Nov 16, 12 9:39 AM
When are Nuzzis feet going to be held to the fire, He voted for this Chief and then with the advice, Im sure of old time Republicans and his buddy Kiernan, made his job so difficult he quit. I hope the public does remember the bickering and bs that this town board has done.....the only people effected by all of this are the residents who vote them into those chairs. The residents Im sure should be relieved to know that Nuzzi is as honest and moral as Kiernan.....Hey maybe thatll be his campaign ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 16, 12 9:34 AM
Was Wilson forced out or did he really resign? I've heard he had some "dirty laundry." I wonder if Captain Pearce will investigate?

It might be best to just go forward. Pearce is a terrific guy. This is good news for the good people of the East End.
By Steven (113), Westhampton on Nov 18, 12 3:36 AM
As long as politics is in play in the police department theres plenty of dirty laundry all over, Im sure thats why Wilson was given such a hard time by the Republicans, they didn't want theres aired out. Only hope is Spota comes in and takes care of it all but by now Im sure its unlikely. Pearce is a terrific guy.....good news, we'll see about that.....only hope is he can think and act for himself and not allow Tenaglia and others within the department to pull his strings
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 18, 12 2:20 PM
Great editorial this week in the Press about "the rudderless nature of the town and its police department."

The next election is not that far away, thankfully.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 23, 12 2:22 PM