Turning down my dream job as the chief of police for the Southampton Village Police Department was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make [“Carter No Longer Taking Southampton Village Police Chief Post; Trustees Blame the Mayor,” 27east.com, January 16].
Making matters even more challenging is that for the last six months, Mayor Jesse Warren has continuously made inaccurate statements about how I was selected and why I decided to step down. After watching the mayoral debate, in which he repeated a number of these claims, I feel it is important to state the facts.
In December 2022, I received a call from Village Hall offering me the position of provisional chief of police, following five months of interviews and a thorough background check. Several days later, I received a call from the mayor informing me that he would not support my appointment. Knowing full well that the mayor is the face and voice of the village, and that he acts as the de facto police commissioner, having the mayor’s support was crucial.
Mayor Warren has consistently failed to mention that the next day I called him and offered to withdraw. I currently have an incredible role with the Suffolk County Police Department as their deputy police commissioner, so I could easily continue my work in that important and fulfilling position.
After stating to Mayor Warren that, without his support, I was not the right guy for the job, he said: “I am going to support you, and we will work well together.” He added that the problem had nothing to do with me but with unrelated issues concerning all of the trustees.
To be clear, I would not have accepted the position without the mayor’s support.
Unfortunately, the evening of my introduction will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. In an unexpected about-face, Mayor Warren denounced my appointment and did so on a public stage with the press, my new department and my entire family present, completely contradicting what he told me in private.
It has been hard, since that day, to hide my disappointment in what I believed was the beginning of a new leadership role that I’ve worked tirelessly to achieve. His continued effort to obscure this chain of events, as he again stated most recently in the debate, is frustrating and unjust.
I am passionate about public safety and know that without clear lines of communication between the chief of police and the mayor, lives will hang in the balance. The great men and women of the Southampton Village Police Department need and deserve honest, supportive and effective leadership from their mayor.
I hope that setting the record straight will help begin that process.
One fine body…