Kevin Law to lead Suffolk commish search

Steve Bellone speaks after a closed door meeting

Steve Bellone speaks after a closed door meeting of business leaders hosted by the Long Island Association in Melville. Looking on is Kevin Law, left. (Nov. 21, 2011) (Credit: Ed Betz)

Kevin Law, president of Long Island's largest business group, will lead a national search to find a new police commissioner for Suffolk County Executive-elect Steve Bellone.

The appointment of Law and four other search committee members, including representatives from law enforcement and minority communities, will be announced Tuesday at a news conference at Bellone's transition office in Hauppauge.

"This is the biggest departmental job Steve will have to fill," said Law, president of the Long Island Association.

"It will be a broad search" that also will consider local candidates, Law said. "We always talk about Suffolk County having the finest law enforcement professionals in the country so I don't see . . . why the next commissioner could not come from Suffolk as well."

The search follows long-running complaints by police unions about current Police Commissioner Richard Dormer for allowing County Executive Steve Levy to interfere with day-to-day department operations. Levy argues that the unions are unhappy he has taken steps to streamline the department and make it more efficient.

Jeff Frayler, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, urged the Bellone search team to look beyond the county for a candidate.

"We need a professional manager who can instill professionalism and pride," Frayler said. "And we'd be better off getting someone from the outside rather someone inside with political connections."

Law called it the first national search for a new commissioner since the county brought in former Nassau Commissioner Daniel Guido in 1988 following serious questions about departmental operations.

Law said he expects the committee to make a recommendation in three to four months.

The other members of the search committee are: Emily Constant of Port Jefferson, Suffolk's chief assistant district attorney; John Bilich of Sayville, chief investigator for the Manhattan district attorney's office; Diana Dominguez Weir of Wainscott, executive vice president of the Long Island Housing Partnership and former Republican East Hampton Town Board member; and Errol Toulon of Smithtown, a retired captain in the New York City Department of Correction. Toulon, who is African-American, ran unsuccessfully for the Suffolk County Legislature in 2009.

The names of potential commissioner candidates circulating among political insiders include: Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, who is currently term-limited; Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko, a former assistant U.S. attorney; James Burke, Spota's chief investigator; current SCPD chief of department Robert Moore; Thomas Spreer, a former Spota law partner and former Suffolk police lieutenant; and John Timoney, a former NYPD chief of department who also has served as police commissioner in Philadelphia and Miami.

Before heading the Long Island Association, Law was chief executive of the Long Island Power Authority and was chief deputy county executive under Levy. He also led a search for a new medical examiner, who works closely with law enforcement agencies.

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