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Jun 9, 2011 10:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Southampton Village Police Chief Will Seek Closer Ties With Other Police Agencies

Jun 15, 2011 10:47 AM

Newly sworn-in Southampton Village Police Chief Thomas Cummings’s rise to the top spot on the force could portend closer ties with neighboring law enforcement agencies, according to one of the new chief’s goals.

The Village Board appointed him chief in a 3-2 vote last Thursday night following an executive session that lasted roughly one hour. At about 10:20 p.m., the board emerged from behind closed doors, and Mayor Mark Epley and Trustees Bonnie Cannon and Paul Robinson voted in favor, while Trustees Nancy McGann and Richard Yastrzemski voted no.

Chief Cummings, who had been captain of the department since 2005, succeeds former Chief William Wilson Jr., who became Southampton Town Police chief last month.

In an interview a few weeks before his appointment, then-Captain Cummings said his vision for the department includes working more closely with other agencies, such as the Town Police—an idea that Chief Wilson has also promoted. Over Memorial Day weekend, the two departments, along with the Suffolk County sheriff’s office, coordinated a safety checkpoint on County Road 39A that netted 10 arrests for charges including DWI and felony weapon possession, in about four hours.

While touting cooperation, the former captain said he does not believe consolidation of the region’s local police forces—an idea recently floated by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst—is the way to go. He said he would also like to see more belt-tightening in the department, possibly by downsizing its fleet.

The new chief, 47, of Wading River, took the oath of office Friday morning at the Southampton Village Justice Center, before the Village Board, fellow Village Police officers and his wife, Linda, daughter Mary, 18, and son Tom, 16, among others.

“I have to say, when I became a police officer, I never dreamed that I’d get to this position,” the smiling new chief said. “All along, I’ve learned something from everybody I’ve been working with and came in contact with.”

The 24-year police veteran’s résumé highlights include serving as lead detective on several violent felony investigations, helping develop a confidential informant whose information helped lead to the arrest and prosecution of some individuals responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and serving as incident commander at the scene of a barricaded subject at the Southampton Inn in 2006. He joined the Village Police as a patrol officer in June 1987. Over the next several years, he served as a plainsclothes officer in the detective division who was assigned to the East End Drug Task Force and as a field training officer until his 1992 promotion to the rank of detective, according to his résumé. He rose to the rank of sergeant in 1995, followed by promotions to lieutenant in 2003 and captain in 2005, when he became the department’s executive officer, or second-in-command.

Although he has passed the Civil Service chief’s examination twice with top marks, those results have expired, so he will need to pass the test again when it is next administered, in March 2012.

The mayor revealed last Thursday night that Chief Cummings was the top pick of retired Suffolk County Police commissioner John Gallagher, whom the village had consulted for an opinion.

“I believe that we have the best man for the job, with the most experience, who’s been in a leadership and executive position in that department for six years, and has rallied support from members inside the department,” Mr. Epley said Thursday night, moments after the vote. “And I think he will have a very successful career as the chief of police in the Village of Southampton.”

Ms. McGann and Mr. Yastrzemski said they still support the new chief, despite their dissenting votes.

“I knew he was going to get it, so I decided that I would hold out and make a statement,” Ms. McGann explained, saying she preferred Sergeant David Dorchak, one of three finalists under consideration—along with Detective Sergeant Herman Lamison—because of his leadership qualities.

Mr. Yastrzemski declined to immediately divulge his preferred candidate, but said of Chief Cummings: “A ‘nay’ vote for him in no way indicates that I didn’t think he could do the job.”

Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said Chief Cummings’s new salary should be determined by the next Village Board meeting, on Tuesday. His current base salary is $149,438, although the total amount he was paid by the village in the fiscal year ending May 31 was $190,309, including overtime and benefits, Mr. Funsch said.

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And he thought he would join the Suffolk County PD and be a motorcycle cop....
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Jun 9, 11 11:52 PM
This fellow deserved to get the Job - the only member of the Department with administrative experience. It's odd that they interviewed two others with no administrative experience. Southampton politics
By johnnytax (29), new york on Jun 10, 11 12:45 AM
Best wishes to the best candidate for the position!!!!! I can sleep at night now knowing they didn't make the wrong choice.
By mildred (2), southamtpon on Jun 10, 11 8:14 AM
Congratulations, Tom! Best of success!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jun 10, 11 10:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Holey Moley! An appointment in the Hamptons based on merit rather than social/political connections/commands. June 9, 2011, a date that will live in memory.

It is astounding that a sergeant who had never even passed the lieutenant's exam and who owed his sergeancy to a suit against the Village rather than to merit appointment could have been in the running for the administrative position of Chief.

The extraordinary bad judgment of Councilwoman Nancy McGann and Councilman Richard ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 10, 11 10:34 AM
One down, so many more to go!
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Jun 10, 11 10:40 AM
Perhaps now they will enforce the traffic laws in the Village.
By Tree Man (19), Southampton on Jun 10, 11 5:41 PM
Are you dreaming? That Mercedeslx will still make a u ie in Main Street right in front of Village Hall and go merrily on their way.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 10, 11 5:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Congratulations Chief Cummings!!! Best of luck.
By Blue Line (1), East Patchogue on Jun 11, 11 1:42 PM
Congrats Tom it's a well deserved job for you! Thank God Lamison didn't get it!!
By johnnyhampton (82), Southampton on Jun 11, 11 4:51 PM
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Anyone read today's Poat?

Maybe his first order of business could be to clean up Nello Summertimes.

Pretty scathing stuff...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 12, 11 9:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 12, 11 12:07 PM
An amazing story regarding how well our town board looked into the background of the Wilson Corporation before appointing him to Chief of the Town Police. While we don't don't know if he broke any rules or laws it certainly smells rotten, especially since no violations , at Nello's, were ever turned over to the SLA in Wilson's entire tenure as Security Chief while also serving as Chief of SHV-PD. Every other mom & pop bar operations should be envious of this questionable and close relationship ...more
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Jun 12, 11 10:35 AM
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to Mr. Z:

Shocking! It's almost as if the police were using their official status to enable illegal activity that club owners who don't employ them are unable to offer! You would think that the Village would check for such conflicts of interest when cops ask to be allowed to moonlight. (Wait. I just remembered. Former Chief Wilson, former owner of the "security" service with which the club contracts, rescinded the rule that required cops to ASK permission. Just a coincidence, no doubt.)

And ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 12, 11 10:55 AM
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WOW! That article is shocking, all you bar owners within the Town are on notice, there is a new security company in town, and the PBA girls (Anna and Bridget) roll on.
By gusbeme (33), southampton on Jun 12, 11 11:19 AM
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Does anyone realize that the NY Post does not confirm information provided by it's sources? Before everyone starts commenting on the Post's Nellos article, perhaps someone should question whether they have factual information about who has or has not provided security for them.... Just because it is written, it isn't necessarily true. It might be prudent to do a little research of your own before you jump on the ban wagon, especially one that is based on lies.
By Tired of the Ignorance (4), Southampton on Jun 13, 11 12:35 AM
Point well taken "Tired of Ignorance", it is tough to know what is fact and what is fiction in this day of instant blogger news. Many of the traditional news outlets print things they see on the Blogs without verifying them. But isn't there a bigger issue of high ranking police providing "security" for establishments they oversee in their jurisdiction?
By gusbeme (33), southampton on Jun 13, 11 7:50 AM
it would seem to be to be a problem with the old school media rather than bloggers. when the media stopped becoming objective observers, it became impossible to find any honesty on television or in the print media, in my opinion. but to suggest that this isn't happening, also without any references is sort of the same. to me, it doesn't seem that far out of the real of possibility at all. and to suggest that it be allowed because kids that are drinking out of the bottle then driving home are ...more
By kaluss (113), Southampton on Jun 13, 11 8:34 AM
to Tired of the Ignorance:

Poppycock. This is the first-hand, eyewitness account of a NY Post intern who personally visited the club and reported what he observed occurring. With whom is he supposed to confirm the behavior in front of his eyes?

Nello Summertimes is only the latest bar/club/bodega that he has visited attempting to be served underage. In 2010, he was served at 57% of the thirty venues in NYC at which he ordered booze as a twenty-year-old.

Your assertion ...more
Jun 13, 11 9:00 AM appended by highhatsize
Apologies. Not inane as regards the security service. However, if the Post publishes false information that it has made no attempt to verify, it is open to a libel action. Do you have any references confirming your assertion of the Post's dereliction? It is hard to believe that a mainstream newspaper would be so cavalier.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 13, 11 9:00 AM
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My mistake for not clarifying exactly which part of the article I find ridiculous, but Highhatsize just totally proved my point...didnt bother to ask, just picked one and blasted me. My comment was directed at who Nellos has used for security. I bothered to do a little research and make some phone calls. Didn't take long to find out that there is no history of Chief Wilson or his wife working at Nellos. I can only imagine who the source at the Post is who provided this information.
By Tired of the Ignorance (4), Southampton on Jun 13, 11 9:27 AM
Maybe you should re-read the article.

Neither ever worked ON the premesis. The security company's services were retained by the establishment.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 13, 11 7:30 PM
To Tired of the Ignorance:

"Research" that is defined by telephone calls to unnamed sources is unworthy of the name.

By contrast, in my misunderstanding that you were criticizing the reportage of the underage drinking, I took the trouble to find a documented source (earlier editions of the NY Post.)

Furthermore, I don't know if you are being disingenuous, but the article didn't state that Chief Wilson or his wife worked at Nellos, but that the security service that they ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 13, 11 9:49 AM
The fact remains that Nello's has been letting underage kids in and allowing them to buy drinks for years. It's been a point of pride for certain local kids, especially girls, to dress up to get in there. It's not just summer kids that attempt it.

I know several scandalized adults who have taken alcoholic drinks out of the hands of 15 year olds they knew who'd been let in - not 19 or 20 year olds, but just 15. I don't care who'd doing security, they need to be fired. Kids that young can ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 13, 11 10:42 AM
You make a great point...but in the same breath what parent would be careless enough to not know there fifteen year old might possibly be iin a bar? one could argue that we've become a society where being a shitty parent is easy to cover up because when things go really bad they can just blame cops, bad security, or teachers. Trust me... i hate Nellos and every other place like it, but come on..
By srk (15), southampton on Jun 17, 11 8:37 PM

Editor I hope that you will look into this.

What was the final outcome of this debate between Mayor Epley and (then) SHV PD Chief Wilson about the secondary employment regulations?


What ARE the current regulations, and when did they go into effect? Did they cover Chief Wilson (and his family)?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 13, 11 12:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Keep hoping. When was the last time you saw deep investigative journalism here?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jun 16, 11 10:07 PM
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