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Oct 7, 2009 4:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Police remain mum on ongoing internal investigation of incident

Oct 7, 2009 4:34 PM

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating an incident that took place seven months ago within the Westhampton Beach Police Department, and expects a final report within the next week or two.

The investigation was launched following allegations of misconduct within the Village Police Department, said Inspector David Ferrara, the commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, when reached on Tuesday afternoon. He said he could not elaborate on what prompted the investigation, adding that his office has not yet determined how many officers were involved in the incident.

The investigation, which was started in the spring, came to light during a Westhampton Beach Village Board meeting on Thursday, October 1, when Trustee Hank Tucker introduced a resolution instructing Police Chief Ray Dean to share a copy of the final report of the investigation, which is expected in the next seven to 10 days, with board members.

Mr. Tucker also stated at the meeting that the internal investigation was initiated by the board—a fact that was disputed by Chief Dean.

“The facts are what the facts are,” said Chief Dean after he approached the lectern. “It was not initiated by you. You cannot rewrite history.”

On Monday, Chief Dean said he was the one who went to an “outside agency,” asking it to investigate the incident. He added that he could not offer specific details of the incident, nor identify the agency that he had approached.

At last week’s meeting, Mr. Tucker insisted that board members did, in fact, initiate the investigation. He later explained that he brought it up during a public meeting because he wanted his request for a copy of the final report to be on the record.

His resolution passed by a 3-1 margin, with Mr. Tucker and fellow board members Joan Levan and Jim Kametler voting in favor. Mayor Conrad Teller voted against the measure, and board member Toni-Jo Birk abstained. Ms. Birk did not return calls asking why she abstained.

Ms. Levan said she voted in favor because she believes the board initiated the internal affairs investigation. “So, naturally, we would all want the report,” she said.

Mr. Kametler also insisted that the board made the request, adding that Chief Dean never approached the Suffolk County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. “We made him do that,” Mr. Kametler said.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Tucker said board members know why an investigation was launched, though he declined to say what the investigation entails. He said he wants a copy of the report because the board initiated the investigation.

Chief Dean, who assured board members they would receive a copy of the report as soon as it is available, said he could not discuss what prompted the internal investigation because the case is not closed yet.

The report should be completed in about a week and a copy will be released to Westhampton Beach Village a few days later, Mr. Ferrara said on Tuesday.

On Friday, Mayor Teller said that Chief Dean was the person who initiated the investigation of his department. After they caught wind of what was happening, board members asked New York State Police to be the investigating agency, according to Mayor Teller. After they declined, the board approached the Suffolk County Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, he said.

The mayor said Friday that he does not think board members should review a copy of the report, explaining that it could taint their judgement if they are ever asked to serve on a hearing board if disciplinary action must be taken against a member of the village’s police force.

There were questions raised immediately after last week’s meeting about whether the resolution introduced by Mr. Tucker was valid. It wasn’t clear if the proceedings to take up an unannounced resolution were properly followed, Village Clerk Kathy McGinnis said Friday. After reviewing the transcript of the meeting, Ms. McGinnis said Wednesday that the resolution was properly introduced, but she wasn’t sure if it was legal.

Village Attorney Bo Bishop said he would have to consult with a labor attorney before concluding if the resolution was valid.

Also during last week’s meeting, the Village Board named Mr. Tucker as the only trustee who could communicate with the village’s labor attorneys—a move that was intended to ban Mayor Teller from playing a hand in ongoing contract negotiations with Chief Dean. His old contract expired at the end of last year.

Some board members last Thursday night accused the mayor of being a rogue negotiator, alleging that he went behind their backs by directly speaking with Chief Dean and other employees who are now negotiating new contracts.

But Mr. Bishop argued that the resolution, which was introduced at the last minute by Mr. Kametler and approved by a 3-2 margin, might not be legal because the mayor has a right to meet with department heads.

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If the Mayor has not been designated as the representative of the Board of Trustees to negotiate the next contract with the Chief, and if he was talking about the next contract with the Chief, then at the very least he owes the Board of Trustees an apology. He wasn't saving any one "a dime."

As for motions made, and resolutions passed at the meeting of the Board of Trustees, the notion that the motions needed more than a vote of three to be binding on this board unsupportable.

The ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 2, 09 8:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just wait until Kabot's shyster gets a hold of this.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 2, 09 8:24 PM
Keahon will have a field day with this.
By HB90 (139), southampton on Oct 2, 09 11:34 PM
One can only hope that the incidence of DUI traffic stops without probable cause is one of the areas that the SCPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating. If would certainly be fortuitous if the report were released before the Nov. election.
By highhatsize (3366), East Quogue on Oct 2, 09 11:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Probable cause? Any traffic offense is probable cause, as is erratic driving. Other than defending to the death the innocence of Kabot, what makes you think there is ANY incidence of traffic stops without probable cause?

Traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens(15-20 year old) and 31% of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related. In August, a 15-year-old boy from Hampton Bays was killed by a drunk driver while riding a bike near his home. This is just one of all-too-many horrible ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 3, 09 12:04 PM
Your assertion that the cops must be following proper procedure in DUI busts because there are so many innocent people being killed by drunken drivers is nonsensical, truly.
By highhatsize (3366), East Quogue on Oct 3, 09 1:46 PM
An assertion that exists only in your mind, right next to SHT "police officers routinely abuse their arrest powers", and " 'failing to maintain his lane' is copspeak for 'We don’t have probable cause' ".

It is your unfounded assertion that police routinely "act without probable cause" that is absurd and wholly without evidence, as well as the basis for my opinion of your beliefs.

FYI erratic driving, such as failing to maintain lanes, is a clear visual indicator of driving while ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 3, 09 3:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Are you someone who bashes the police all the time until you need one? In so many of your posts, highhatsize, you routinely disparage the police officer in this town. I think it quite unfounded and in fact, insulting to the many officers and departments who go above and beyond in ably serving the public. You must have some real unresolved issues with the police, huh?
By JimmyKBond (151), Hampton Bays on Oct 3, 09 5:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
When Chief Dean says he already initiated "the" investigation, did he really mean "an" investigation? Was the Chief doing his own, in house, investigation? OR, Had he already kicked it to an independent police agency?
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 3, 09 8:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
This Title of this article is Very - Very misleading. IAB is investigating an "incident" that happened .... not the WHB PD in general.
By T.J. (29), WHB on Oct 3, 09 3:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Welcome to The Press News Group :]
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 3, 09 4:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
On what basis are you asserting that this involves "an 'incident'" rather than one or more personnel? I just re-read the article, and I don't see anything definitively indicating one or the other. Or do you have special knowledge?

Is that Tucker guy hoping to help Linda Kabot by coming out with this now? As Noaj Way picked up on right away, old Bill Keahon must think Christas came early this year!
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 3, 09 5:12 PM
Ain't this the truth. Her high priced attorneys will rip to shreds the WHB police ... hold on, itc coming ...... UGH!
By JimmyKBond (151), Hampton Bays on Oct 3, 09 5:43 PM
T.J. Headlines are somtimes very misleading and inaccurate.
By eyewitness (21), southampton on Oct 3, 09 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well, Frank, I'd put $50,000 on the fact that "T.J." of Westhampton Beach is none other than Mr. T.J Speer, better known as P.O. Jeff Speer of the Westhampton Beach Police Department.
By Tom Selleck (8), Sag Harbor on Oct 4, 09 12:35 AM
Well, so what if it is? WHB PD isn't doing the investigation, Suffolk County PD Internal Affairs is doing it, and why would they be telling "T.J." anything about their investigations?

And it "T.J." is the "Speer" as you say, isn't he the same police officer who the Beach blogger exposed for being sound asleep in the middle of the morning on Dune Road while on duty a year ago?!?
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 4, 09 1:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
ZZZZZZzzzzz ...........
By Austin (3), Austin on Oct 4, 09 7:58 PM
"Chief Dean, who assured board members that they would receive a copy of the report as soon as it is available, said he could not discuss what prompted the internal investigation because the case is not closed yet. He said that a copy of the final report is expected soon."

The Trustees should receive the report before the Department under investigation, or, at the very, very least, at the same time as the Chief of Police so that the implications of that report can be considered in a timely ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 7:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Glad you highlighted that paragraph, Publius. It seems to undercut Trustee Tucker's contention that it was he, not Chief Dean, who started the process. If it was a member of the Village Board, then the SCPD report would be going directly to them, not the Chief, and they wouldn't have to ask for it, now, would they?

By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 5, 09 9:41 AM
3 members liked this comment
Seems pretty premature to make any judgment about who is right and who is wrong, until the merits of the investigation are disclosed. Did Chief Dean kick this to the SCPD on his on initiative, or at the behest of the Trustees? Too soon to tell, and we don't even know what the investigation is about.
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 11:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
It's not too soon at all -- read Trustee Tucker's own statements, and watch the videotape of the meeting. Or don't, and shut up.

Your collective comments on this matter reveal that you HAVE already determined "who is right and who is wrong," sir, so stop the crud.

In answer to the question posed, if the SCPD report is being delivered to the Chief, then it's obvious that the Chief is the one who initiated the investigation, and that would make Trustee Tucker a liar. (And, having ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 6, 09 8:21 PM
Riddle me this, Puby *cough* disgruntled dispatcher Charlie Benkov *cough*: why should the board recieve these results before the head of the department? Is there a fear that this investigation will incriminate a fellow miscreant(s) of the WHBPD? Hanky Panky’s effort to get his hands on the report is his attempt at covering up for his corrupt cronies. I have a sneaky premonition that this report is going to drop a bomb on this sleepy little village of yours. So to those in fear of what will surface ...more
By Tom Selleck (8), Sag Harbor on Oct 5, 09 12:58 PM
Shouldn' the mayor and the board be telling Dean what to do, not the other way around?
By William Rodney (468), southampton on Oct 5, 09 3:33 PM
No-Dean's in charge and has shown he's the only one who knows what he's doing.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 5, 09 5:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hey Tom Selleck....why don't you tell us what YOUR real name is? Or are you only an obnoxious tough guy when you are hiding behind your alias?
By concerned citizen (41), Hampton Bays on Oct 5, 09 5:32 PM
Gee, concerned citizen, how 'bout you first?

Sauce for the goose, doncha know?!
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 5, 09 7:30 PM
The Chief and all of the Village Police Officers are employees of the Village and answer to the Board of Trustees.

The fact that the investigation had to be farmed out makes it clear that it is a matter over which the Trustees should retain oversight. If the Chief acts responsibly in the eyes of the Trustees, then he has nothing to worry about and the Trustees will have fulfilled their obligation to the community that elected each of them.

The Chief of Police can't have it both ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 5:33 PM
The Chief and all of the Village Police Officers are employees of the Village and answer to the Board of Trustees.

The fact that the investigation had to be farmed out makes it clear that it is a matter over which the Trustees should retain oversight. If the Chief acts responsibly in the eyes of the Trustees, then he has nothing to worry about and the Trustees will have fulfilled their obligation to the community that elected each of them.

The Chief of Police can't have it both ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 7:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Alexander Haig thought he was in charge, too.
By William Rodney (468), southampton on Oct 5, 09 7:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
That's a cute little comparison, Rodney. However, this would imply that the chief feels as though he is the mayor, which I don't think is the case. He is what his title implies: Chief (n. leader, boss, person in charge) of Police.

Concerned Citizen: I am a tough guy; a big brawny, manly, hairy man. My name is Tom, although I am sometimes recognized as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV. Do I offend you? Tough. So please, grace the comment section with your true name, will you?

Puby, ...more
By Tom Selleck (8), Sag Harbor on Oct 5, 09 10:48 PM
Yikes for the Chief if, as you say, he has no Taylor law protection and can be terminated because, his contract expired last December. In fact, I tend to agree with you that the chief SHOULD be recognized as a managerial position who does not have Taylor law protection, but it is not that clear cut. Instead, we have a Chief of Police who claims that he has accumulated comp. time in excess of the express contractual limits, and a Mayor, a former Chief of Police, who refuses to correct the records.

If ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 5, 09 11:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
PUBLIUS: "Chief Dean needs to make peace with the Trustees, it is evident that the old ways of doing things (or more accurately NOT doing things) will no longer be acceptable."

Several months back the Beach blogger outed you as a local "gadfly" named Palmer, and one who is fully in the Village Board's pocket, so everything you post here should be assessed with that in mind. You have become the "Baghdad Bob" of Westhampton.

I had gotten the impression that you'd been ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 6, 09 12:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
thanks frank for not forgetting about the police brutality, to bad nobody else wants to remember!
By ratboy (17), sousd-hampton on Oct 11, 09 5:51 PM
Mr. Wheeler, you are mistaken on every point except your description of "the old ways" which continue to this day, and with 500 hours of claimed comp. time and the long term contract obtained from "good old boys" the old ways have been institutionalized by contract for the Chief of Police himself.

The Chief is just trying to keep a lid on it, but not correcting root causes, and the Trustees aren't having any of it. In my opinion, the Chief himself is a big part of the problem if he can't ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 6:44 AM
Publius/Palmer - you really are a gas bag, aren't you? You're going down for the count on the internal affairs matter, so now you're scrambling back to the comp time issue of last Spring, and don't look now, but that's a loser, too.

Elsewhere I spoke to your lack of credibility. Here you prove the accusation by stating "The Chief is just trying to keep a lid on it, but not correcting root causes." Again, I ask you, are you a liar, or just uninformed? The Beach blogger seems to have documented ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 6, 09 8:43 PM
All I know is, the two times I ran out of gas recently,ironically on the way to the station, a SHT officer happened by to help push the car off the road.

Warranted, I had to walk for gas, and it was a reasonable distance, BUT there was a cop when I needed one.

You guys can bash to your heart's content, but just pluck the bad apples out, and wash off the rest of the bushel before you do.
By Mr. Z (9660), North Sea on Oct 6, 09 12:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe Dean can now tell us why he asked JIM THE GUN to leave the force.
Maybe that should be looked at all so
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 1:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree with Mr. Z, the Southampton Town police force, from my experience, does a very professional job. The contrary seems to be true in the village of WHB. As for bad apples, in a small department they can ruin the whole bunch in a hurry if they aren't plucked out. Chief Dean does not seem to have addressed that issue during his long tenure here.
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 5:44 PM
Gas bag! What do you call going to SCPD for an internal investigation if not "addressing the issue."

You're incredible in the truest sense of the word, in the same way that Baghdad Bob was incredible! I don't understand what horse you have in this race?

Oh, and mine? Truth, Justice and what used to be the American Way..
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 6, 09 8:48 PM
Publius is complaining about a modest comp time claim Police Chief Dean accumulated since 1999. That's TEN years accumulation of unpaid service. I could see if he was padding his retirement pension with massive amounts of overtime as many unscrupulous cops and other civil servants do. His claims fall far short of your indignation. Get over it.

Where does Trustee Kametler fit in as we talk about fermenting apples? He's no longer on the force, is he? I think former Chief Teller called ...more
By Jean (76), whb on Oct 6, 09 8:55 PM
Whoops, hit the wrong key-- to complete my sentence : ...I think former Chief Teller called in many a favor to keep this fella Kametler on the free side of the barbed wire...
By Jean (76), whb on Oct 6, 09 8:59 PM
From the posts we have Mayor Teller, the former Chief of Police, protecting Jim Kametler, we also have the present Chief of Police politely having him retire. At the same time it appears that Mayor Teller is doing all he can to protect the present Chief of Police.

Do you really think the Westhampton Beach PD is getting the job done? Is there a lot swept under the rug that is just not pursued? Why isn't WHB PD NOT accredited with New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services? ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 10:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Looks like the GOOD OLD BOY THING is falling apart
9 years and no reform????
WAKE UP WESTHAMPTON BEACH
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Oct 6, 09 11:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm from Westhampton Beach and believe me I"m awake.It appears as if sjd and publuis have an axe to grind.What is your problem,you take every opportunity to bash the police.On what authority do question the legal procedures that are being followed by the chief?Also if the board was in fact the ones who went to the authorities,why then would the report go to the chief? Common sense answers that question! Why not wait and see the outcome before you get on your soapbox spewing your misguided opinions! ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Oct 7, 09 9:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Curious: Our Chief of Police filed a notice of claim this past summer against the Village. That was a threat by him to sue you and me. Okay, everyone has the right to protect their legal rights, but examine the right he says was infringed.

The Board of Trustees passed a resolution directing the Village Clerk to calculate the hours of comp. time submitted and claimed by the Chief of Police. It should be evident to everyone that there was a problem. He claimed he was carrying 500 hours ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 8, 09 9:21 AM
Publius-well said, Joan thanks you
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 9, 09 11:49 AM
Publius, you seem SUCH a kiss-buttock sock-puppet for the Joanie crew.
Do the math: Ten Years, that's 10 years of work; with a claim total of 500 hours of comp time. The guy is claiming 50 hours yearly in addition to his standard hours, which I'd estimate are about 1,840 hours a year, less lunch; that's a total of 18,400 hours regularly worked over ten years. So WHY are these goons complaining about Fifty hours a year? You should be relieved that's all he asked. Last I heard, being in the ...more
By Jean (76), whb on Oct 9, 09 6:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
Publius,
Your postings on this board have been proven to be inaccurate, however, you continue to post fictional fairly tales. You portray these three trustees has the fairies who will save this village from the evil Chief. The problematic situation occures when understanding that James Kamelter IS one of the good ol' boys as was Connie Teller. It wasn't long ago that Connie was awakend by the fact that no good deed goes unpunished.
It is people like you Publius who play word twist with ...more
By foundthefacts (8), westhampton on Oct 9, 09 7:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jean: you argue that claiming 500 hours of comp. time when the Chief's contract limits him to 200 hours is no big deal. You point to abuses in other areas of government to excuse ignoring that which is under our own nose.

To quote you: "You REALLY need to look at the blatant ABUSE of SCPD overtime, Civil Service overtime, "disability," clocked hours not really served and our village school supervisor's outrageously HIGHER than the Police Chief's salary -before you start attacking an ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Oct 10, 09 8:06 AM
Mr. Publius,
IF you would like this to be a constructive forum, may I suggest you start by taking your own advice? Restrain your comments and conjectures and twisted nonsense. It's vexing, inaccurate, gaseously long winded and, quite frankly, a bore.
76:12 (nope, not Scripture-- the ratio of your posts to mine.)



By Jean (76), whb on Oct 10, 09 10:06 PM
There are proper avenues of redress and legal steps one must take to safeguard ones rights leading up to arbitrating a grievance -- anyone aware of municipal governing knows that fact. So let's get past this nitpicking, ad nauseum, diatribe that has gone on here, please.

Isn't it time we stuck up for the police and let any individual grievances be handled by village management? Trying in this forum your own "beefs" with the police only serves to demoralize a whole cadre of talented, selfless ...more
By JimmyKBond (151), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 09 4:20 PM
There ya go!
By Frank Wheeler (1742), Northampton on Oct 11, 09 5:36 PM
you guys make me happy i dont know how to read
By ratboy (17), sousd-hampton on Oct 11, 09 5:58 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 11, 09 8:38 PM
Bobba,How unfortunate that you felt the need to post such a mean spirited comment.
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Oct 11, 09 10:05 PM
Pshhhh!!!! Mercedes?! Range Rover?! I saw one of the Deans driving around in a Rolls Royce the other day. 24 karat gold rims, diamond studded door handles, the works!!! Get with it man...

I guess nobody beats their meat, ya know?

By Uncle Jesse (3), Southampton on Oct 11, 09 11:46 PM
In reflection it may have been mean spirited, for that i appologize. But sometimes the truth hurts. The regime needs change.
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 18, 09 2:37 PM
Remnants, area rugs, rolls in stock