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Aug 12, 2011 12:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Police Officers Promoted

Aug 17, 2011 11:07 AM

Three Southampton Village Police officers were promoted by the Village Board last week, but board members decided not to approve two additional moves recommended by Police Chief Thomas Cummings.

Village Board members, in a 4-1 resolution, promoted Lieutenant Michael Ryan to captain, Sergeant Christopher Mohl to lieutenant, and Police Officer Bernard Bobinski to detective. All three moves approved on Thursday, August 11, went into effect the following day.

Chief Cummings had also requested that the board approve two more promotions, a 2nd lieutenant and one sergeant, but Mayor Mark Epley said budget limitations held the board back. The mayor estimated that the additional promotions would have cost the village at least an extra $50,000 per year, not including the hiring of new officers to replace the more senior ones.

“To me, it’s purely about trying to keep the budget as low as possible and fill the minimum number of spots necessary to effectively operate the department,” the mayor said, adding that the board also has rejected promotion requests in other village departments.

Trustee Bill Hattrick cast the lone dissenting vote. Mr. Hattrick said on Friday that he voted against the promotions because he was in favor of all the chief’s recommendations. “From a money standpoint, I can understand what the others did, that’s cheaper,” he said. “I thought the chief made a brilliant case for what he was seeking, and I frankly elected to vote in favor of him having it.”

Chief Cummings said he could not discuss his additional recommendations because they were “confidential personnel matters.”

Captain Ryan, who had served as lieutenant since 2007, is now the department’s second in command. The captain’s position had been empty since Chief Cummings was promoted in early June, succeeding former Chief William Wilson Jr., who moved to the Southampton Town Police Department as its chief. Captain Ryan and Lieutenant Mohl—who had been a sergeant since 2008 and is also a trained chiropractor—had been among six officers interviewed in the spring for the village chief position.

Detective Bobinski, who had previously been assigned to the Detective Division as a police officer, fills a vacancy created by Detective George Ronan’s retirement. Det. Ronan has been on terminal leave since the spring, using accrued time before his retirement officially goes into effect sometime around January 1, 2012.

A Fix For Tickets

When motorists get parking tickets in Southampton Village, the tickets list fixed fines for certain violations—but more often than not, they do not match village code, and at least two violations listed on the ticket do not appear in the village code at all.

The fine for parking in an area without a required permit, for example, is listed at $250, but the chief pointed out that is only the fine for illegal parking near Lake Agawam. Other restricted areas of the village, such as at Coopers Beach, actually have a fine of $100. The ticket also lists the fine for beach parking from Memorial Day through Labor Day as $50, but village code actually lists the penalty as having a maximum fine of $1,000. Other lines on the ticket, such as those corresponding to having an expired registration and expired inspection, have sections of village code listed on the ticket, but no such sections exist.

The chief said he and the board are looking to order new ticket books after the summer that will be more in line with village code. “We’re not changing what’s illegal—we’re changing what happens to you when you do something illegal and get found guilty of it,” Chief Cummings explained.

Also at issue is the fact that the fine for parking illegally along a beach road, $35, is less than the cost of a daily Coopers Beach parking pass, $40.

The board adopted the chief’s recommendation of deleting certain times and maximum fines involving illegally parked vehicles in an effort to clarify the code. Village Attorney Richard DePetris and Chief Cummings said the change will mean that the board will no longer have to update its code every time penalties change.

Beach Markers To Be Installed

The Southampton Village Board last Thursday agreed to authorize Southampton Town to install color-coded beach markers along its stretch of beach. The goal of the markers is to help the public identify and convey their exact locations for first responders in the event of an emergency.

Hedge Boundary Regulations

Southampton Village Attorney Richard DePetris unveiled a newly drafted piece of legislation last week regarding hedges growing along property lines. The legislation calls for the owners of hedges in the village to regularly cut and trim them so that they do not become “overgrown and unsightly.”

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Congrats all. Well deserved I'm sure.
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on Aug 13, 11 12:20 AM
Thank goodness we have another captain and lieutenant. The crime in Southampton is rampant. These church goers j walking after Sunday mass must be stopped. Don't worry a couple more overpriced cops will fix everything. Seriously when will this country learn it's time to cut and not promote. We are on the road to bankruptcy and no one wants to cut anything. This little village police force costs millions, and for what? To make sure people do 25 mph on Hill St?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 15, 11 7:30 PM