It’s possible that the commissioner’s posts in the Nassau and Suffolk police departments — both of which have been hit by scandals over the past few years — could be vacant by the beginning of 2018.
In Suffolk, County Executive Steve Bellone last week endorsed fellow Democrat and current police Commissioner Timothy Sini, who is running for county district attorney.
Should Sini, who faces opposition from Republican nominee Ray Perini, prevail, Bellone for the third time since taking office in 2012 will have to find someone else to run the police department.
In Nassau, County Executive Edward Mangano recently announced he would replace retiring acting police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter with another acting commissioner, Patrick Ryder.
Mangano, who has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption-related charges, has yet to announce whether he will seek a third term.
However, county Republicans have named former State Sen. Jack Martins as their county executive candidate. He is running against Democrat Laura Curran, a county legislator from Baldwin.
And there could be primaries.
Nassau Comptroller George Maragos also is vying for the Democratic nomination for county executive, William Ferris, a former prosecutor, has said he will challenge Perini for the Republican line in the Suffolk DA’s race.
Still, it’s not too early for Bellone — or any of the candidates for county executive in Nassau, for that matter — to consider what kind of leadership the county police departments need.
In Nassau, three former high ranking officers were convicted of charges stemming from the department’s refusal to press charges against a high school student whose father had connections with Nassau’s police department.
In addition, sources have told Newsday that federal investigators have subpoenaed law-enforcement records in the Huntington Station shooting of an unarmed cabdriver by an off-duty Nassau police officer in 2011.
In Suffolk, meanwhile, federal prosecutors have said that former Chief of Department James Burke’s attempted cover-up of the beating of a burglary suspect involved other unnamed police officers.
Mangano in a recent interview said that because the election is only months away, he decided to appoint an acting commissioner to replace Krumpter, rather than reaching out for candidates beyond the department.
“I wasn’t going to do a national search so close to an election,” Mangano said. “It would be a waste of money.” Besides, Mangano said, he has full confidence in Ryder, a 33-year department veteran.
Sini has drawn criticism for saying during confirmation hearings last year that he would not run for district attorney — yet quickly jumping into the race after District Attorney Thomas Spota announced that he would not seek re-election.
Also, in his yearlong tenure Sini has had to deal with a series of gang-related murders, including the recent slayings of four men in a Central Islip park.
Is Bellone satisfied that Sini can run for office, and simultaneously handle police commissioner duties at a critical time?
“Look, people who are in one position run for another position all the time,” Bellone said.