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May 23, 2012 11:02 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Street Crime Unit Case Review Involves "Particular Officer"

May 24, 2012 7:59 AM

The Southampton Town Police department is reviewing a number of arrests made by the department’s now-defunct Street Crime Unit—which focused on drug activity townwide—over the past two years, according to Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr.

The chief noted that the review included cases involving a single officer, whom he declined to identify. The findings of the review could potentially affect people who have already been convicted of crimes and are in jail.

“They are being reviewed to ensure that all defendants received fair, impartial and professional treatment,” the chief said.

He said he could not comment further on the particular officer, citing confidentiality issues related to personnel.

Earlier this month, however, Town Police Lieutenant James Kiernan, the former supervisor of the Street Crime Unit, was suspended by the Town Board, pending the outcome of 32 disciplinary charges the chief filed against him.

A town official previously confirmed that those charges involve acts of “misconduct and malfeasance” he is alleged to have committed while supervisor of the unit. Lt. Kiernan is alleged to have protected an officer under his supervision who allegedly developed an addiction to prescription drugs, but who had remained in the line of duty.

Chief Wilson said that this investigation was sparked by information developed about six months ago—after he had recommended Sgt. Kiernan’s October promotion to lieutenant—that caused him “great concern in reference to the operations of the Street Crime Unit,” calling the matter a “public safety concern.” The Street Crime Unit was phased out last summer and was completely disbanded by November 2011.

When then-Sgt. Kiernan led the Street Crime Unit, his direct supervisor was then-Lt. Robert Pearce, who was in charge of the department’s investigations division. Lt. Pearce was promoted in March to captain by a majority of the Southampton Town Board, without the chief’s support. At the time of that promotion, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who voted against the promotion, alluded to a confidential personnel matter that they said should have been considered prior to the appointment.

Capt. Pearce declined to comment this week.

The Town Police make approximately 2,300 to 2,500 arrests annually, of which approximately 15 to 18 percent are narcotics related, although not all narcotics arrests were made by the Street Crime Unit.

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I do not understand why the officer involved remains unnamed. Other newspapers know the name and it now seems every resident in Sputhampton know the name of the officer involved. What is the Press trying to cover up?
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 28, 12 9:55 AM
remember when in America it was innocent until proven guilty?
By cabin fever (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 3, 12 11:47 AM