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Apr 5, 2013 2:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Supervisor Calls For Investigation Of Police Department

Apr 10, 2013 12:51 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst this week called on the town to hire its own investigators to take an independent look into the management of the Town Police Department, in the past and present.

After months of accusations from within the department and elsewhere about a variety of improprieties, including a now year-long investigation by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Ms. Throne-Holst asked other members of the Town Board on Thursday afternoon, April 4, to consider hiring an outside firm to take a comprehensive look at the department’s management structure and style, and specific allegations that have been leveled from a variety of sources over the last 18 months.

The investigation, she said, would have to do everything ranging from examining the policies and procedures of the police department down to a forensic investigation of evidence from an internal department investigation going missing, and the circumstances that led to the D.A.’s office to drop charges against five accused felons who were arrested by Town Police.

The myriad claims have been interwoven over the last two years with charges of political meddling, shredding of files and sexual discrimination by the department’s top brass.

“All of these questions are swirling, and I feel like no matter what we say we’re not going to reassure the public until we have a third-party, independent explanation,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “I want to reassure myself and the public that we have followed proper procedures, and that that’s what we have in place in our department, and that any or all possible additional fallout from whatever is out there is looked at.”

The supervisor said that Town Board members agreed in a closed-door executive session on Thursday to begin drafting a specific scope of the things such an investigation would look at or for, individually. Ms. Throne-Holst said she would like to get the investigation started as soon as possible, but that she could not guess as to how long the work would take.

Later in the week, however, other members of the board were still skeptical of the idea of, or the need for, an independent investigation. The issues thought to be at the heart of concerns that might spur a call for such an investigation—discipline of officers, internal oversight, evidence handling procedures and attendance policies—are more of the sort that Councilman Jim Malone thought were better handled internally.

“The majority of these things are manageable through the confidence we place in the department head,” he said. “If at some point in time we don’t feel we are comfortable about what we’ve got there, then you say, ‘We’re going to check your stuff.’ We’re not there at this point—not from my perspective.”

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said that she thought it important to present clear evidence that the Town Board had done their due diligence in investigating some of the allegations that have swirled around the department in recent months and show that they were addressed in an unbiased manner. But she said she is not convinced that hiring an outside firm to do it is the correct path forward yet.

“I think it would certainly serve the public well to be able to move forward in a clean way,” she said. “We want to give the police the opportunity to operate without the appearance of impropriety or undue influence. That’s where I want to go. I’m not sure how we should get there exactly yet.”

The department’s chief, Robert Pearce, himself said that he is fully supportive of an independent look at the department’s practices and policies.

“I’m in favor and supportive of that and will assist in any way my office can assist with the investigation,” said Chief Pearce, who took over the department in December 2012. “The assessment would be most welcome. It’s good to get an impartial view of what’s happened over the last several months.”

The town has contracted two prior outside assessments of its department. In 2003, a firm led by celebrated former New York City and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was hired by the town to conduct an organizational and operational assessment of the department.

Last year, the town also hired the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani—founded by former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, under whom Mr. Bratton was chief of police—to examine the records of hundreds of arrests of accused criminals, most drug dealers, who were arrested by a town officer who was later discovered to have a substance abuse problem. The results of the report issued by the firm have never been released by town officials despite numerous requests by The Press; the officials claim the substance of the report concerns delicate legal topics with regard to the potential for the town to be sued, and thus are not subject to open records laws.

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Running to the hardware store before they run out of whitewash...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Apr 5, 13 2:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Shut the barn door - the horses are out.
By HBPatriot (19), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 13 2:57 PM
3 members liked this comment
It is hard to imagine a private firm without subpoena power doing anything effective with this "real mess" to quote the Press's editorial IMO.

A federal or state grand jury taking sworn testimony, and following all leads no matter where they lead, -- now there is a ticket all can endorse for the November election.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 3:30 PM
The town has paid for two other private investigations of the STPD in the past ten years to no effect. Why would this be different unless it includes a mandate to determine the procedure to be followed to replace the STPD? Otherwise, it's just derriere-covering p.r.

Memo to ATH:

It is not usual procedure for the FBI to inform suspect persons and organizations which they are investigating that they are the subjects of an investigation.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 5, 13 3:47 PM
To no surprise (and to mix metaphors) you have put the cart before a dead horse and you continue to beat it.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Apr 6, 13 12:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
What wrongdoing would anyone find?? I mean all of the birthday cards have already been shredded!
By sunnydays (43), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 13 3:49 PM
"Federal law enforcement officials are investigating the Southampton Town police department and have begun questioning people with knowledge of the Street Crime unit, its supervision and the broader department leadership, according to several sources."

Nothing equivocal in this quote from 3/28/13 IMO.

The federal authorities may be starting at the bottom of the food chain, beneath the radar screen so to speak, to gather consistent AND inconsistent statements -- all before the you-know-what ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 4:08 PM
Wonder if former Chief Wilson might be involved in this investigation?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 4:13 PM
No. Wilson is the guy she had in mind to do this investigation for the Town board. He has experience, owns a local security company, and knows how things work in the Town. Why bring in an outsider with a steep learning curve...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Apr 5, 13 4:23 PM
Surely you jest?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 4:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
ANY private entity will not have subpoena power and the authority to pursue perjury charges for false testimony.

'Nuff said . . .

Now, Wilson could work for the FBI as a special investigator of some kind? Yeah, that might be the ticket!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 4:46 PM
I am not impressed with a police force that has a drug addict on the force.
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Apr 5, 13 4:55 PM
insert, McKayla Maroney, not impressed meme here.
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 6, 13 10:45 AM
So the town supervisor wants to pay an outside agency to investigate the police dept?? Day late and a dollar short...... You have the Feds and DA's office investigating already, unless your afraid as to what they will find and want your own "report"
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Apr 5, 13 5:53 PM
3 members liked this comment
Wake-up ATH. You can bet the Feds are "looking at stuff we are not aware of." Don't waste the taxpayers money on your own investigation.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 5, 13 6:29 PM
"What we have is a failure to communicate."

They fail to recognize that there is very little trust left out here, and that the "reassurance" they seek to provide CANNOT come from an investigation, the scope of which they define!

Subpoenas, testimony under oath, perjury penalties by an independent federal agency -- this may fit the bill.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 6:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
The International Association of Chief"s of Police or the Police Executive Research Forum and the Attorney General's Office will investigate for FREE. I can see why the board would not want any of these agencies to investigate because they could not dictate the results to such a firm. The board wants to keep a firm grasp on the findings and what is released to the public. ATH wants to give the community confidence in the pd so the only way to do that is to hire a paid agency to say what she wants ...more
By sunnydays (43), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 13 6:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
IACP are a bunch of retired police hacks who were more political than actual law enforcers.

The A.G. would be the way to go........ if they'll do it!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Apr 6, 13 1:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Bring back Wilson and let him finish the job he started.
By vaquero (12), Watermill on Apr 5, 13 6:50 PM
the job he started???? the only "job" he started was the snow job that he tried to pull off.
By semaj (10), riverside on Apr 5, 13 8:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Why, so you can have more affairs going on with your Senior Staffers....you need to get out more, and learn about the current affair from the last "police investigation"! Causing us, the tax-payers, thousands of dollars while they carry on like there is no Policy. If it were one of the "lower-paid employees" we'd be canned immediately! Wake up ANNE the Police Department is the least of your issues.
By NoOneOnWatchInSouthampton (1), Sputhampton on Apr 5, 13 6:51 PM
????? Another expensive investigation? Please share.
By vaquero (12), Watermill on Apr 5, 13 7:00 PM
The Feds should come and have a good look at the police Dept and restore some confidance in this vital Department.The Town Board should have no part in this investigation they LACK creadabelity when it comes to this agency.Please attend the Town Board meeting on Tuesday and voice your openion,,,,you can say make a difference even with The supervisors 3 minute rule.Three minutes for the public while she and her fellow board members drone on and on,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and on
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Apr 5, 13 8:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
This whole thing reminds me of the three monkeys
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Apr 6, 13 7:28 AM
Good call!

Especially if you compare previous quotes to the ones above (seeming SO CONCERNED!).

They take us for fools most of the time.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 6, 13 8:46 AM
ATH and boards actions seem more self serving than anything else. Smells like an atempt to head off an investigation by someone with teeth. Forget it ATH. We're on to you. Ask the AG or a Fed prosecutor to do the investigation and make the request publicly so you can try and regain a little bit of trust and respect.
By bird (829), Southampton on Apr 6, 13 10:00 AM
3 members liked this comment
ATH, a hired gun with no enforcement power is not a truly independent party. Is this the only thing you could get the 3 amigos to agree to? Very weak, if you are truly concerned about the police department get on the phone to the DA, NY Attorney General or the US Attorney and tell them there is a problem. If you are not concerned enough to do that then don't waste our money.

"“All of these questions are swirling and I feel like no matter what we say we’re not going to reassure ...more
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 6, 13 10:01 AM
3 members liked this comment
ATH, you are talking out of your pie hole. You are apparently surprised quite often by investigations into the town.

"Ms. Throne-Holst refuted recent reports that the U.S. Attorney’s office was conducting an investigation of the police department. If there is a federal investigation underway, it has not involved any contact with town employees or officials, she said." - above article

"Still, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said Friday’s announcement by the D.A.’s ...more
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 6, 13 10:41 AM
Don't forget to factor in the late night police call to Anna during her camapign with Linda and words to the effect, "We got her". Lots of odd police happenings back then. One night a town police car lurked in a parking lot outside a political meeting in Hampton Bays watching for Linda to come out. It pulled in directly behind the car she got into and tailed it closely all the way to her house in Quogue - too closely for comfort or chance. It was downright creepy.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 6, 13 10:57 AM
Nope. Truth. Like it or not.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 6, 13 2:00 PM
to VOS:

Commissioning an outside private investigator to create a plan for the disbanding of the STPD would ensure that THIS investigation produces a pragmatically useful report. As things stand now, the chaos that an impromptu disbanding would cause would dissuade the Town Board from seriously considering it. With a blueprint in hand, the board members sitting when the next STPD scandal erupts (as when the county and feds ACT on the evidence uncovered in their investigations) will have ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 6, 13 3:28 PM
Do you seriously believe that this Town Board is going to set a scope of action that includes the disbanding of the SHT PD?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 6, 13 4:58 PM
PBR - not a chance.

It is rather transparent to me that ATH would want a private investigation so as to placate or head off the Feds. Are we really as dumb as she thinks we are?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Apr 6, 13 5:12 PM
Or as she as dumb as she really is .....
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Apr 6, 13 7:48 PM
Testing... Testing.
By Geppetto (59), Southampton on Apr 6, 13 5:55 PM
1, 2, 3
By rightbesideu (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 7, 13 12:01 AM
to PBR:

All of the Town Board members are patrons (or agents) of either the PBA or the SOA and there is no chance of them doing anything to materially change the situation at the STPD. The possibility of their directing an outside private investigator to create a plan for disbanding the STPD is remote, to say the least. However, when the county and federal investigations are complete, some or all of the current council members may resign. At that point, new councilpersons without compromising ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 6, 13 9:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
County investigating... Scarlato in jail, Nuzzi at least resigns but will most likely get arrested and Malone will resign. Pearce will resign or get arrested and Kiernan will be in jail.
US Atty investigating, Scarlato, Nuzzi, Malone, Kiernan, Pearce in jail. Spota, Ed Walsh, John J LaValle resign and McPartland & Scalera big question marks as to wether they roll. Flemming sat the fence well enough and Throne-Holst is borderline with her talks with Spota and Wright. They could be good wagers...
Right ...more
By rightbesideu (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 6, 13 11:44 PM
How did we get this far?

".... charges of corruption, political meddling, shredding of files, and sexual discrimination by the department’s top brass."

The tax payers of Southampton Town have been abandoned by their elected and appointed officials.  Feeble suggestions by the supervisor to bring in a private company to investigate, "themselves", is a waste of our tax dollars.  The suggestion of the Feds having to come in, only suggests that's the DA's office is purposely ...more
By Geppetto (59), Southampton on Apr 6, 13 11:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
The politicians will always have strings. It is only a question of how long and how far west they go. Brookhaven and the DA's office are getting concerned/annoyed at how Southampton keeps coming back to them and may (or may not) cut some ties... still a waiting game on how much bad press and how aggressive the feds get.
Nuzzi took everyone down a bad path with Kiernan and the weeds are getting thick. Some party people have to worry to, like LaWall and a few others.
Really it all comes down ...more
By rightbesideu (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 7, 13 12:12 AM
How does Brookhaven figure into any of this?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 7, 13 11:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lets play a trivia game...
Where was Nuzzi before Southampton?
Who is the head of Suffolk County Republican party?
Who is the Brookhaven Parks Commissioner?
Who is Kiernan/SOA's attorney?
Who was going to run for DA against Spota?
How did Spota get around term limits?
What Party line(S) is Spota running on?
Who else has the same endorsements?
Who does Malone work for?

start connecting the dots.

If you think Southampton is a political island, ...more
By rightbesideu (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 8, 13 2:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wash rinse repeat .....Suffolk County Police 8th pct .
By BCHBUM11968 (81), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 7, 13 9:32 AM
Add to the Scope of Investigation: a clear and convincing statement that favoritism did not cause the 11-day delay in releasing the ID and photo of the driver who mowed down Sister Walsh last July.

Tomorrow will mark the 40th week since this tragic hit-and-run, and Tuesday will be the NINTH month.

At a minimum perhaps the SHT PD and Town Board could give us an update on the status of the investigation?

PS -- The hit-and-run driver's employer was related by marriage to ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 7, 13 2:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
Rhymes with humor or with brand?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Apr 7, 13 3:26 PM
Rhymes with Frank Lautenberg
By loading... (601), quiogue on Apr 8, 13 12:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
In this July 18th article, Chief Wilson was quoted as promising:

“We will follow the trail on this guy until the end of time,” Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. said. “We’re never going to stop going after him.”

Now that Mr. Wilson is no longer behind The Blue Wall of Silence, perhaps he could update us on what happened in those crucial days ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 8, 13 5:01 AM

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 8, 13 5:01 AM
I guess by "the end of time" he was referring to the Mayan calander
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Apr 8, 13 6:19 AM
Now officially NINE months of this failed "miscarriage of justice" investigation, per the Press's editorial.

Rest in Peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 13 6:19 AM
You should have the Suffolk Police Dept. come in and take over. We have spent too much money in law suits already. We as taxpayers are all paying for this.
By MR.? (8), southampton on Apr 7, 13 3:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
We need to pump more money into the SHPD. Perhaps if these guys and gals got a living wage they'd be able to...
huh, huh
huh, huh, huh

retire at 30.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Apr 7, 13 7:47 PM
it still cracks me up STFD ..
By david h (405), southampton on Apr 8, 13 2:16 PM
I thought Wilson was beyond reproach. Reading the regular posts here you think that Wilson could do no wrong and here we now have some innuendo about a murdered nun and a U.S. Senator, maybe the Feds (ha) will be able to get a two for one investigation going! We could watch Wilson being led away in bracelets, wouldn't that be karma, huh folks.
By Jm225316 (18), Holbrook on Apr 9, 13 11:49 AM
Another Tuesday article out last night on the PD recordkeeping, which appears to cover ground already plowed here by Mr. Wright.

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 13 1:59 PM
Hey PBR drop the whole sister Walsh story. I gave you insight of who the owner of the car was, and who he is related to. I'm not saying anything inappropiate went on, but connect the dots. This country is making me sick we become more liberal each day, and our morals go out the window. When a nun gets run over, and nobody cares that is when you know we are near rock bottom.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 9, 13 9:55 PM
I intend to continue posting reminders of this "miscarriage of justice" (per the Press's editorial) until "the end of time," to mirror former Chief Wilson's promise.

If the Town Board, Mr. Wilson, or Chief Pearce can clear the air on all outstanding issues, this drum beat could find a natural "closure."
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 10, 13 10:39 AM
The majority of these things are manageable through the confidence we place in the department head,” he said. “If at some point in time we don’t feel we are comfortable about what we’ve got there, then you say, ‘We’re going to check your stuff.’ We’re not there at this point—not from my perspective.”"

Wow, what perspective do you have? From here is looks pretty bad and people with subpoena power should be reviewing this. Sounds ...more
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 9, 13 11:17 PM
In the SYA (save your own arse) category today...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 9, 13 11:24 PM
The article was updated today with more detail IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 10, 13 7:51 PM
Interesting update on this article. I wish they would print the updated parts in another color or make the text bold. My favorite part, besides Malone's comment is :

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said: “We neither confirm nor deny any ongoing investigations.”
By vaquero (12), Watermill on Apr 10, 13 10:39 PM
The Scope of Investigation being debated focuses only on specific PD-related items, and envisions only Band-aid solutions IMO.

Of course, the "Rot in Denmark" exists well outside of the specifics being discussed, so naturally the Town Board is not cheer-leading for a federal investigation under oath with threat of perjury convictions.

Only such a broad brush can carve out and rid us of the malady, and possibly cure the patient.

Band-aids or surgery, that is the question.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 11, 13 5:32 AM
Good editorial in the Press:

"It could be evidence of a deeply entrenched, deeply troubled operation, with rot in its leadership structure."

Unfortunately the perception of "rot" may be too narrow IMO.

Moreover, the Press's optimism that the current Town Board is capable of defining a meaningful Scope of Investigation, seems misplaced.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 11, 13 4:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
In this election year, if the Town Board is REALLY interested in The Whole Truth, it should ask for a state or federal Special Prosecutor to be appointed ASAP.

The Supervisor as chief executive of the town has the authority to make this request sua sponte.

Does she have the courage?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 11, 13 4:52 PM
ATH is impudent on the board and does not have the courage to bring in an investigating agency. I think this is a case where you have to amputate the head to save the body and the body will survive.
Everyone needs to go under oath. If Lieutenant Kiernan had been under oath in internal affairs he would be in jail.
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 11, 13 9:21 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 11, 13 10:00 PM
ATH - If you are going to be a cat, be a lion not a pussycat.

Not sure why I was censored the first time.
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 12, 13 7:06 AM
Adding "cat" probably did the trick, and your point is well-taken.

Time for our leaders to roar like lions, even if it risks their political careers, because if they don't roar soon their careers are probably toast anyway IMO.

Time to LEAD!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 12, 13 7:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
What a remarkable photo of ATH accompanies this article. The hairstyle she has adopted gives her a gamine appearance that (in this photo, at least) takes decades off her age.

I imagine that hope for an effect such as this is what motivates ladies to acquiesce so readily to the stunning fees that salons demand.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Apr 11, 13 11:47 PM
Unless you're willing to put your picture out there for public criticism, you probably shouldn't opine on someone's appearance.
By Chitown (21), Chicago on Apr 12, 13 2:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
She is, in fact, a single mother of three children. What's the problem?
By Chitown (21), Chicago on Apr 12, 13 2:29 PM
from someone who has been verbally abused by the police force on multiple occassions, and has had basic rights infringed upon, this is great news.
By brandonhelms (1), hampton bays on Apr 15, 13 8:31 AM
Off topic?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 15, 13 8:52 AM
Two more convictions dismissed according to another source, which concludes the article with:

"Southampton police Chief Robert Pearce didn't return a call. A Spota spokesman declined to comment."
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 17, 13 7:47 AM
New article -- link above under photo.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 17, 13 12:30 PM
7 felons released and nobody is accountable? Very disturbing.
By OU812 (161), East Quogue on Apr 17, 13 5:21 PM
Let's start this inquiry by getting rid of that hideous Police shooting range within earshot of the whole of Southampton! Anyone agree? Take your bullets to Calverton. Are you reading this Mr. Bishop? Because I will ask you about his before to long!
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Apr 17, 13 9:57 PM
That range is used only by Southampton Village Police and that entire property is owned by Southampton Village.....isnt Calverton where the terrorists from 9/11 practiced? Maybe that should be shut down
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Apr 18, 13 1:50 PM
What possible connection can you make between Congressman Bishop and the village police gun range?
And how often is it used that bothers you so much?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 18, 13 1:58 PM
With the campaign season starting, hopefully all candidates will lead with clear and decisive campaign pledges about cleaning up this SNAFU.

Roar like a lion!

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 18, 13 6:52 AM
Sister Walsh was left to die on the side of the road FORTY-TWO weeks ago today, and Southampton Town has not justified the 11-day delay in releasing the driver's ID and photo.

As the campaign season gets rolling, this issue will not go away.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 22, 13 11:59 AM
PS -- Compare this to Boston, where the authorities were apparently also hesitating to release the surveillance tapes, concerned that this would drive the suspects underground.

Guess what? There is no "underground" any more in our information-intensive world (for better or worse).

Surely the 11-day delay last July resulted in the suspect fleeing the country.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 22, 13 12:01 PM
It was reported elsewhere on Friday that the Town Board has rejected (4-1) this proposal for an outside study, with one board member expressing confidence in the Chief.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 2, 13 10:05 AM