UPDATE: Tuesday, 1:36 p.m.
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon, said she respects Chief Wilson’s decision to resign, maintained that some of his policy ideas are still priorities for her, and said she will do her best to ensure a smooth transition to a new chief.
The supervisor’s full statement:
“I respect Chief Wilson’s decision and want to thank him for his good service to the town. I, too, share his admiration and respect for the men and women who serve the Southampton [Town] Police Department. I want to assure all that I will do my utmost to [ensure] a seamless and positive transition.
“I also share Chief Wilson’s concern with regard to proper staffing levels and the need for the implementation of modern police technologies, which have been and remain a priority for me.
“I have confidence [that] the current management at the Southampton [Town] Police Department will work together with us, the Town Board, and their fellow police officers, toward an effective transition.
“In the next few days, I will be conferring with my fellow board members to develop a transition plan and a proactive course leading to the next phase of leadership for the police department.
“Again, I thank Chief Wilson for his service to the town and wish him the very best.”
Later, in response to a question about who is currently leading the force, she said Captain Robert Pearce is acting in his capacity as executive officer.
All other details will be released after the Town Board convenes for a work session on Thursday, she said.
UPDATE: Tuesday, 12:44 a.m.
Chief Wilson will not return to his post and will close out the month using vacation and sick time until his resignation takes effect December 1. He begins his new job on January 1, 2013.
The Town Board never issued him a contract during his 18 months in the chief’s post, but, just recently, on October 23, passed a resolution spelling out written terms of his employment.
UPDATE: Tuesday, 10:42 a.m.
Reached by phone, Chief Wilson said he is leaving his post to pursue another opportunity, although he declined to elaborate.
He said his resignation was unrelated to the recent settlement of the charges against Lt. Kiernan, who was scheduled to return to work on November 1 after an approximately five-month suspension on dozens of disciplinary charges.
Rather, the chief said his departure was prompted by budgetary restrictions and factors among the Town Board members that did not allow him to move the department forward.
“For the good of the town and the police department and myself, I’m going to move forward with another opportunity and hope to have more of an impact there,” he said.
Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. has resigned from his post effective December 1, 2012.
The chief announced his resignation in an email Tuesday morning he sent to Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and the town’s labor attorney Vincent Toomey.
“I would like to thank you, and the Board, for the opportunity to serve with the men and women of the Town PD, they are a talented group of law enforcement professionals,” the chief wrote. “The people of the Town of Southampton are fortunate to have police officers of their calibre.
“I urge the Board to reconsider its position regarding funding of the police department. Lack of staff, technology infrastructure and equipment are making it increasingly difficult to provide effective services to the community. For the good of the Town and future of the STPD, please provide them the resources necessary to fulfill their critical mission,” he wrote.
He did not indicate in the email what his next move will be.
Chief Wilson was sworn in as chief of the East End’s largest law enforcement agency in May 2011, succeeding longtime former Chief James Overton. Chief Wilson had served about 26 years in the Southampton Village Police Department, where he became chief in 2006.
His term with the town was tumultuous, including ongoing investigations with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota’s office regarding the alleged removal and/or destruction of sensitive police documents from headquarters shortly before he took office, as well as the department’s Street Crime Unit, an undercover anti-drug squad. Throughout his term, he and the Republican/Conservative Town Board majority often clashed on policies.
His resignation comes shortly after the settlement of a disciplinary case involving Lieutenant James Kiernan.