Southampton Town police chief to be sworn in Thursday

12/03/2012 11:24 AM |
Pearce named chief Hamptons, Hamptons crime, Hamptons policing, Long Island police

SOUTHAMPTON PRESS COURTESY PHOTO | Southampton Town police Chief Robert Pearce at his desk in Southampton police headquarters in Hampton Bays.

The Southampton Town Board will be swearing in a new police chief at a special ceremony in Town Hall Thursday.

Board members unanimously approved Robert Pearce’s promotion within the department, from captain to Chief of Police, at a Southampton Town Board meeting last week.

Mr. Pearce had been serving as acting police chief ever since former chief William Wilson submitted his letter of resignation early last month. Mr. Wilson had been hired in May 2011 to replace longtime police chief James Overton.

Mr. Wilson served as the Southampton Village police chief for five years prior to moving to the town.

But less than two years after he was hired, Mr. Wilson announced his resignation on Nov. 1.

The chief battled with the Town Board during his tenure over funding and staffing issues, saying the department was short-staffed due to budget constraints, as well as investigations into alleged wrongdoing within the department.

Mr. Wilson’s resignation will take effect on Dec. 1, though he has spent the past weeks using vacation and sick days. Mr. Pearce managed the department during superstorm Sandy and helped coordinate the police’s emergency response to the storm.

The 110-plus member Southampton Town police department is one of the largest on the East End, and the state. Locally, its territory covers the town’s hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, areas also in the Riverhead School District.

psquire@timesreview.com