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Nov 5, 2014 10:26 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Intends To Hire Six New Police Officers Over Next Two Years

Nov 5, 2014 10:57 AM

The Southampton Town Police Department could grow by as many as six officers in the next two years, according to budgeting forecasts laid out this week by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

With three new officers already scheduled to be added in 2015, allowing for an expansion of the supervisory ranks, and a fourth expected to be hired once nearly $300,000 in anticipated new funding from Suffolk County is secured next year, Ms. Throne-Holst told Town Police Chief Robert Pearce that more relief would likely be forthcoming in 2016.

Currently, the police force has 72 officers, as well as 14 sergeants, two lieutenants, a captain and a chief—for a total of 90 uniformed officers.

The additional funding will come from a newly agreed upon sharing of Suffolk County sales tax revenues, which funds public safety efforts across the county. After years of lobbying by East End lawmakers, County Executive Steve Bellone agreed to substantially increase the amount of money that will go each year to police departments on the South Fork, where an out-sized portion of the sales tax revenues are generated.

In 2015, Southampton Town is on tap to receive an additional $295,000 in annual funding, and another boost of $295,000 in 2016 and each year after that. Ms. Throne-Holst’s $88.5 million budget proposal sets aside $20.7 million for the police department next year.

When Ms. Throne-Holst released her budget proposal, it included funding for three new officers. But Chief Pearce had requested six officers to bring the department to a level that, he said, was still a shadow of what was really needed to comfortably meet the town’s law enforcement demands.

Ms. Throne-Holst said that Town Board members pledged soon after her budget was unveiled that a fourth officer would be added to the payroll once the county funding was secured. This week, in work session discussion with Chief Pearce, the supervisor said she plans to call for an additional two officers in the 2016 budget, when the county revenues are expected to jump again.

“That will get you there … not all this year but within, roughly, a year or so,” Ms. Throne-Holst said to the chief.

Ms. Throne-Holst noted that with four new officers this year, and two more set to come on board in 2016, the department would then be at the staffing levels recommended in an analysis of the department conducted by the town in 2012. Chief Pearce, however, pointed to a similar 2003 study of the department, when it had 102 total officers, which noted that such a staffing level was already considered lean at the time.

“So, we’re down 10 percent from where we were 10 years ago,” Chief Pearce said. “We were running lean then. We’re running emaciated now.”

Pointing to current and future staffing levels, Chief Pearce said he will continue having a hard time assigning enough officers to keep two cars on-duty in Flanders and Riverside, sectors that Town Board members have said need to be a top priority of the department in the coming years. Each sector added to the schedule requires five officers to be assigned to it to fill the 24/7 schedule. The chief said current staffing levels will also stretch thin his “crew unit” whose specialized officers are asked to focus on quality of life issues, another priority identified by the board.

Each new entry-level officer’s salary and benefits will cost about $100,000 per year, according to officials.

Also, with a new scheduling agreement, which was a product of the new officers’ union contract ratified earlier this year and set to be implemented in March, Ms. Throne-Holst’s budget calls for the creation of new sergeant’s and lieutenant’s positions that will be filled through promotions.

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Highest paid police department in the lowest crime area in the country

By joseph chiarello (7), QUOGUE on Nov 6, 14 3:37 AM
Some people would conclude that those two events are related. . .
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 6, 14 9:06 AM
Nature, please. Suggesting that the two are related is silly.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Nov 7, 14 9:37 AM
I said SOME people would conclude that... didn't say I was one of them : ). That being said, I certainly would be far more concerned if the highest paid police department had the HIGHEST crime area in the country (or county).

Someone has to be paid the highest, no? Might as well be the guys that are apparently ensuring there is no crime.**

**That being said, one has to look no further then the recent shooting in Flanders by someone who was released from prison due to poor police ...more
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 7, 14 12:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about 6 new night shift code enforcement officers? there's no need for 6 more cops to sit at the fire department.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Nov 6, 14 7:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just have one stationed at the corner of St. Andrews and Montauk Highway and ticket everyone that goes through the red light....he will pay for himself and be a net profit center for the town!
By surfmat (15), Southampton on Nov 6, 14 3:26 PM
I hope that STPD PBA Vice-President-for-Life Kevin Gwinn plants a big sloppy one on Anna in gratitude.

$600,000, not a bad Christmas present for the cops from the de facto PBA board rep. Let's not forget the new lieutenant's and sergeant's positions as well. God forbid that the ratio of managers to workers in the p.d. should fall below 1 to 4 (even though it's 1 to 10, at the most, in private industry.)

Here's a thought. Don't hire any more cops. Don't create any more higher ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 7, 14 8:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
The jealousy is strong with this one. . .
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 7, 14 9:13 AM
It's amazing how clueless some of you are when it comes to policing in this town. Given the opportunity to hear the police radio chirp on any given day, it would blow your mind what type of calls these officers respond to. These officers are asked to approach highly volatile situations alone with backup sometimes 10 minutes away. To have to beg for new officers to reach safe staffing levels is a shame. When it looks like some relief is on the way by means of new hires, people cry about it. For the ...more
By Elliver (20), southampton on Nov 8, 14 9:37 AM
Once again, HHS attempts to correct what he perceives to be a problem with illegal or "reinvent the wheel" attempts. The department IS staffed at winter levels, and the town already hires part timers during summer months. And I realize he still wants gurkas riding elephants in the streets, but 1 in 10 in private industry means nothing in comparison.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 14 4:05 PM
For all the complaining that all you people do, you seem to forget that being a police officer is not all about crime. Although, if you think that the only things that happen in Southampton Town are printed in the press, I can assure you this is not the case. Let's not forget that every time an ambulance is called, the police are dispatched. How many times do they show up to a family fighting and trying to help solve their problems. It's many. Or how about when the have someone who is depressed ...more
By whp (21), East Quogue on Nov 7, 14 8:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
We need them as there has been more thefts in the North Sea area, speeders, drunks, and to many people txting driving over the line. You could make a career out of just Noyac Road. Station one here full time and not be a local so everyone is treated the same.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 8, 14 4:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
No. We don't need cops in noyac road, nor anywhere near North Sea. We can police ourselves.
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Nov 8, 14 11:01 AM
That is either extremely naïve or ridiculously over-confident.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 9, 14 5:25 PM
Its easy for you computer warriors to sit behind your key board and bad mouth the police, when you never have to put your life on the line. But dont worry while you sleep at night there are officers waiting for your calls to 911. You have no idea what these officers deal with so you don't have too.
By dauntless11968 (2), southampton on Nov 8, 14 8:17 AM
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Nov 8, 14 11:01 AM
6 over 2-years is minimal and will probably replace 10 retiring/injured etc. If you don't think an area could use more police officers, I hope it's not your call they are late responding to because they are stretched so thinly.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Nov 8, 14 10:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Dauntless give me a break they arent in the Marines. They make a 130k work 180 days full benefits they play injured with 3/4 pay. Municipal workers are running a racket. Eventually what happened in Detroit will happen here.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 9, 14 11:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
There is an absolute correlation between a well paid police force and a very low crime rate. High wages attract quality applicants who do a better job than low paid police forces.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 10, 14 7:50 PM
There's a difference between well paid and ridiculously overpaid. And let's not forget the blatant racketeering that goes on to pad their pensions.
By bird (829), Southampton on Nov 10, 14 8:59 PM
Sorry but that is just not true
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Nov 11, 14 7:37 AM
what eastend said
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Nov 11, 14 7:39 AM
Sorry but it's the worst kept secret in town. Officers work unlimited overtime in their last 3 years to artificially inflate their pensions. They're practically asleep at the wheels of their cars. The end result is tens of millions of dollars in undeserved pension payouts that the taxpayers get the bills for.
By bird (829), Southampton on Nov 11, 14 10:05 AM
That is a complete and total fabrication.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 12, 14 5:36 PM
Everyone commenting here needs to know EXACTLY what goes on. I work there as a Public Safety Dispatcher. I have been there for 9 years. The officers do their jobs well and are paid handsomely, but by no means are they "sleeping on the job". Some calls are worse than others. I work the Midnight shift so I can honestly attest to that. What I do object to is the blatant disregard for the other employees of the STPD who are underpaid comparatively with minimal staffing and resources, such as my ...more
By MattO916 (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 11, 14 2:50 PM
Anyone who works in retail gets full fully and well abused by customers and works holidays, except Christmas Day in most cases. You miss the same family gatherings, and it's not limited to the Winter holiday season. It ain't right, and y'all ain't alone.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 11, 14 3:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
All the more reason to unionize
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 12, 14 9:40 AM
We are Unionized.
By MattO916 (4), Hampton Bays on Nov 12, 14 9:31 PM
I was replying to Z and referring to retail workers. Sorry that wasn't clear
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 13, 14 9:09 AM