The Southampton Town Board agreed to officially accept the resignation of Police Chief William Wilson on Thursday night, bringing to an end the chief’s tumultuous 18-month tenure at the top of the town’s police force.
As the department’s executive officer, and now the leading candidate for the chief’s post, Captain Robert Pearce will take over the lead administrative duties of the police force.
Chief Wilson’s resignation does not take effect until December 1, but the chief has been out since at least October 25 and has told the Town Board that he does not plan to return to duty prior to his official resignation date. He confirmed to The Press earlier this week that he has already accepted a position elsewhere, though he hasn’t said where.
Capt. Pearce would be eligible to succeed Chief Wilson once the town has fulfilled the requirements of State Civil Service hiring codes. The town must request a list of eligible candidates for the job from Civil Service administration, according to parameters set by the Town Board.
On Thursday evening, shortly after the board voted to unanimously accept Chief Wilson’s resignation, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the town plans to request that only officers with a rank of captain or above be considered for the post. Only Capt. Pearce would be eligible from within the Town Police ranks under those parameters, although Civil Service laws say that the town can hire from among qualifying officers from departments within the township, including village police departments.
Chief Wilson was himself the chief of the Southampton Village Police Department when he was choosing to succeed retired Chief James Overton, with the board bypassing veteran Town Police Captain Anthony Tenaglia.