hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

May 30, 2012 10:30 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Police Union Calls For Investigation Into Leaks

Jun 1, 2012 11:40 AM

Angered by what it sees as inappropriate discussion in the press of confidential details from private meetings of the Southampton Town Board and Town Police officials, the union that represents senior police brass has called for an investigation into the possibility of leaks, saying it should result in disciplinary action against those responsible for them.

An attorney for the Superior Officers Association, the union that represents the police department’s sergeants, lieutenants and captains, said this week that statements made about an ongoing departmental investigation in The Press and online at 27east.com had clearly come from official discussions that were supposed to be kept private to protect the privacy of employees and the interests of justice. The attorney, Raymond Perini—also the attorney for Southampton Town Police Lieutenant James Kiernan, who was suspended by the Southampton Town Board earlier this month pending the review of more than 30 disciplinary charges filed against him by Chief William Wilson—said the town should be interested in identifying who shared the information with members of the press and discipline them for disobeying official town policies covering personnel matters.

“There were comments made in the press, which were mostly inaccurate but seemed to be intended to make public a personnel matter that by contract and by right is to be private,” Mr. Perini said this week. “As the attorney for the Superior Officers Association, I’m raising concerns when private matters hit the papers to inflame or take advantage of publicity. If someone is leaking information, they should be disciplined. I think someone should investigate it.”

The Press has reported, citing confidential sources in town government, the police department and other law enforcement agencies, that the charges stem from Lt. Kiernan’s years as the head of the town’s Street Crime Unit, an undercover drug investigation team that was disbanded by Chief Wilson earlier this year.

The Press also has reported in recent weeks that Lt. Kiernan might have inappropriately handled the supervision of an undercover officer who he was aware had become addicted to and was abusing illegal narcotics and prescription drugs. Last week, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office dropped charges against two convicted and imprisoned felons because of doubts about the veracity of some of the evidence supplied by an officer of the Street Crime Unit and used to convict them. The men were released from prison immediately.

Mr. Perini said that it is dangerous and unfair to Lt. Kiernan to have details of the inquiry into the Street Crime Unit’s personnel leaked to the public before all the facts of the case can be properly explored.

“You don’t want these matters tried in the public forum until you know exactly what’s going on,” Mr. Perini said of the investigation into the Street Crime Unit. “There have been some very detailed remarks about the charges that are being leveled against the Street Crime Unit. You’ve got careers on the line, and it’s not right and not fair to individuals or their families to handle these matters this way.”

This week, Town Board members acknowledged the concerns that the union representing Lt. Kiernan was raising but said no specific plans for an investigation into the leaks have been made.

“I’ve heard a number of times about information from executive sessions being inadvertently or deliberately let out into the public domain,” Councilman James Malone said. “Whether or not there’s an investigation under way, I don’t know, but I’m certainly aware of the complaints to that effect.”

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the union’s displeasure with some of the information that has been made public is understandable, and that board members have discussed the leaks themselves as well. “I know that they are concerned that there have been leaks to the press, and that is their prerogative—the union looks out for their membership, and that’s good,” she said. “We’ve had the same concerns that there’s been a lot of information out there, and we’ll take that one day at a time. Time will tell what the result of all this is.”

The Southampton Town Board suspended Lt. Kiernan on May 4 and will revisit his status with the department on June 12.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Inferior Officers Association
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Jun 1, 12 11:14 AM
More ATH doubletalk.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jun 1, 12 12:23 PM
to protect the interests of justice ? Haha !
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Jun 1, 12 12:57 PM
The PBA suspects the SOA; the SOA suspects the PBA; the old guard suspects the new guard; the new guard suspects the old guard; the Chief suspects the Board; the Board suspects the Chief; the Republicans suspect the Democrats; the Democrats suspect the Republicans; and the DA suspects everyone but particularly the STPD.

This is just too complex. Can we get rid of them all and start fresh?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 1, 12 1:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
Good idea. In fact maybe we should just not even have the police. We can just all strap guns onto our hips for our own personal defense, just like the wild west, and if we need to round up any law breakers I'm sure we can just rustle up a posse and track them down.
But oh, wait a second, what would the imbeciles who religiously post on 27 east do with their time if they could not comment on articles about the Town Police?
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jun 1, 12 7:15 PM
Sad fact is these imbeciles have such a rich trove of material to waste their time commenting about!
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jul 7, 12 6:24 PM
The whole town has sprung leaks as everyone is out to protect themselves. Everyone is talking or writing letters.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 1, 12 1:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
Personally, the first place I'd investigate would be ATH's phone record.....
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Jun 1, 12 4:45 PM
4 members liked this comment
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Then again, what is money but "power" incarnate?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 12 7:39 PM
Leaks are not innaccurate, they are true. I am just glad that Perini clocks in at $300 / hr., soon we will be done with these SOA retirees. How about the Kratoville email this week, telling Southampton employees that they need to keep quiet, even though they are "all family". Hahaha......clown.
By Geppetto (59), Southampton on Jun 1, 12 9:42 PM
I'm not really sure what the union is trying to accomplish? But as usual they look like a bunch of baffoons trying to protect a potentially dirty cop. Why would you want to protect a slime bucket who could potentially caused over a 100 drug felons to go free? Why would any cop would you even want your union dues spent on an attorney to represent this Jack ass? There are good cops in SHTP they should stand up and distance themselves from this guy. He is a blemish on the dept and is yet another ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 1, 12 10:11 PM
Im sure its not the union as a whole but the Old Regime that is still in play in it. President Robert Pearce and Vice President Anthony Tenaglia Im sure have alot to hide from the last 20 or so years that they are still trying to protect, so they will continue to try and pull the wool over the eyes of the public
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Jun 1, 12 10:35 PM
Another example of how unions, especially public service unions, have outlived their usefulness
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 2, 12 8:04 AM
2 members liked this comment
to Bayman1:

As I suggested long before this latest scandal broke, we can replace the civil service police force with a sworn contract police force and have better cops and better service for less than 40% of what we are paying now. Moreover, retirement and health care would be the concerns of the contractor rather than of the Town.

A fresh start would see a p.d. staffed by cops without a sense of entitlement, or an inclination to insubordination, or a history of misbehavior.

It ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 2, 12 9:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes highhatsize very insightful remarks. We all know that before the civil service existed that government was free from cronyism, corruption, malfeasance and unscrupulous behavior on the part of elected officials and that public services were a model of efficiency. What a fantastic idea! You are much smarter than you make yourself sound.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Jun 2, 12 11:20 AM
2 members liked this comment
Give it a rest, Hat - get back to reality! Do you really want mercenaries out there doing such an important job? Is there another municipality anywhere in the US doing this? Would such a scheme be legal in the state of New York? What about existing contracts? What about the expense of fighting the sure-to-be-filed lawsuits? What do you see as the obvious outcome of those suits?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 2, 12 11:43 AM
Leaks? There worried about leaks? They got felons being released from jail, a drug addicted cop, felony drug cases being dismissed and there worried about leaks? sounds like it may be too late to be worried bout the leaks cuz the boats already sinking! Maybe their lawyer should be more focused on making sure hes got enough life vests for everybody!
By srk (15), southampton on Jun 2, 12 11:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
By the time the smoke clears they are going to have to mortgage Town Hall and tax us to death to pay for drug dealers lawsuits.The price of drugs will drop because of the increase in competition.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jun 2, 12 12:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
to Bayman1 & Tennyson:

The state government of California (among others) contracts incarceration to private prisons and private sworn contract corrections officers. Contracting for private security is an everyday occurrence for governments at all levels.

STPD officers serve on a yearly contract. Were the contractual officers phased in as the civil service officers' contracts expire, I can see no legitimate legal difficulty.

Yes, there will be lawsuits (from the state ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 2, 12 1:53 PM
Serve the public trust. Protect the innocent. Uphold the law.

Problem solved.
By banina81 (11), Sag Harbor on Jun 2, 12 5:15 PM
I believe you are mistaken. Officers are hired individually by the town to seasonal or year round positions; the year round positions are permanent. The annual contract between the PBA and the town may regulate working conditions but does not limit employment to one year increments. You say "the state PBA at the very least" would challenge any elimination of the Police Department in favor of mercenaries - there is no such organization other than one representing officers employed by the state ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 4, 12 12:04 AM
3 members liked this comment
to VOS:

We have this conversation about specificity periodically. As I have repeatedly told you, if I had specifics, so would the authorities and charges would be levied. Since you first presented your demand, that is precisely what has happened. As the investigation widens and more actionable behavior comes to light, more charges will ensue.

As for behavior that is not actionable or not proven, I give you the uniformed mobbing of Town Board meetings by STPD officers, the insulting ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 6, 12 12:54 AM
Stick to the story. It doesn't mention the Pba but it does the soa. We understand how you feel about the STPD. We just reread you past rants and they are all basically repetitive... Repetitive... Repetitive... Repetitive... Repetitive... Repetitive... Repetitive. Now, if you want to respond to this issue with something new and insightful I'm sure we would all read it.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Jun 6, 12 9:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, we've done this before and you never change your broad brush technique of smearing an entire organization any chance you think you have. Insubordination? Where? Unprofessional? How? Corrupt? Premature, but I'll concede it appears a small handful, or less may have embarrassed us. But they have certainly hurt the other members of the department more as many people, certainly like you seem to be unable to differentiate between the few and the many. It certainly seems that the new chief ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 7, 12 1:49 PM
already a 50 mill lawsuit from Proctor when will it ever end. used his kid as a lookout found drugs and now he is free. something smells in denmark!
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 3, 12 6:00 PM
The police union is wondering about a leak of corruption? They should be ashamed of themselves but they aren't because they are entitled.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 5, 12 12:37 AM