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Sep 28, 2011 10:35 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

After 37 Years, Veteran Detective Retires From Southampton Force

Sep 29, 2011 10:16 AM

Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Randy Hintze has gone stretches of 36 to 38 hours without sleeping.

During those sleepless marathons, the veteran officer has found himself responding to the grisly scenes of fatal motor vehicle accidents, investigating armed home invasions, grand larcenies and sexual assaults and strategizing to contain raging wildfires.

As the head of the department’s detective division for the past eight years, Det. Sgt. Hintze has seen every felony case in the town come across his desk in his windowless office at police headquarters in Hampton Bays, a room not too dissimilar from the cells where some of those charged with those felonies awaited trial. In addition to felonies—the most serious classification of crime, which have numbered in the thousands during his tenure as detective sergeant—many less severe crimes, such as smash-and-grab thefts from cars, have also fallen under his purview.

The Flanders native is in his 37th year on the force, which marked only its 60th anniversary this summer. He is now passing the torch—and, in the process, swapping emergency responder hats.

After Sunday, when he officially retires, Det. Sgt. Hintze will drop his current title—and resume volunteer duties as a firefighter and medic in Wading River, where he lives and is an ex-chief.

“I’ve always been interested in public safety,” the 56-year-old reminisced during a recent interview at headquarters. His last day of work was actually September 9, although he has been in and out of headquarters this month tying up loose ends. Last week, for example, he made a final appearance at the department’s Citizen Police Academy, giving a four-hour presentation on the laws of arrest and the ins and outs of the detective division.

His father, also named Randy, also served with the Town Police, retiring as a lieutenant in the late 1970s, and an uncle also served the town as an officer.

“Just like any other kid, I liked the big red trucks and the siren and everything that goes with it,” he said with a laugh in describing his attraction to the world of emergency services.

Det. Sgt. Hintze served as a public safety dispatcher and seasonal police officer before becoming a full-time officer in April 1982. He rose to the rank of sergeant in 1988 and to his current post in 2003. He played a lead role as the town began using the enhanced 911 system, which provides dispatchers with much more detailed information about a caller’s location than the old system, a transition he cites as one of his proudest achievements with the department. He is also the town’s deputy emergency preparedness coordinator, one of the department’s two exposure control officers and an advanced emergency medical technician.

“He brought a very, very deep knowledge,” noted Lieutenant Robert Iberger, who called his retiring colleague “an institution.”

During the Sunrise wildfires, which scorched acre upon acre of pines in the western part of town in 1995, for example, Det. Sgt. Hintze “really ran the show out on the road,” Lt. Iberger said.

The detective sergeant said the wildfires were one of the major events during his career.

Burning the midnight oil has been part and parcel of his job, but it is also, admittedly, his favorite part.

“He was an incredible leader. If there was any question in the department we could always go to Det. Sgt. Hintze,” said Chris Brenner, a public safety dispatcher who vividly remembers the time he had to tidy 
up the radio room. “Every second of every day he was there for us.”

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Randy was a wonderful public servant and I wish him well in his retirement.
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 11 3:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is this the start of the exodus of experienced Police leaving under the threat of forced retirement by Supervisor Throne Holst? How many more will go and what will that do to law enforcement here in Southampton? How many jobs will be cut when ATH's budget comes out next week?
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Sep 29, 11 12:17 AM
From one long time retired county Sergeant to a now retired "townie" Sergeant, stay busy, stay active and most of all enjoy life to the fullest. Congratulations! Sgt. 173, SCPD
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Sep 29, 11 5:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
All the cops do a good job that's not the point. The average cop make more than 100k full benefits, and many days off. The point is we can't afford it.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 29, 11 9:32 PM
Oh my god... That guy seemed like he worked an awful lot. Can't afford? The police tax in Southampton Town is minimal. So minimal its funny. Reform has to be across the board. Fine. Lower the cops value, but don't stop there. To this Hintze fellow. Many thanks for putting that many years in dealing with this ungrateful community.
By mightycolemack (15), Hampton Bays on Sep 30, 11 5:49 PM
2 members liked this comment
And today Supervisor T-H submitted a budget whcih called for laying off 8 more PO's.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Oct 1, 11 2:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
If you were looking for a man to get the job done, Randy was it. Extremely knowledgeable. Retirement ain't that bad man. Sorta like winning the lottery.Congrats!
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Oct 2, 11 2:25 PM
always a gentleman, always a professional and always a great friend of the local fire dept's. May you have a long and healthy retirement.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Oct 3, 11 7:00 PM