Steven Skrynecki, chief of department for Nassau County police, has been named the new Southampton Town Police chief.
The decision was announced Thursday at a town board work session. Skrynecki, 63, will replace Robert Pearce, who is expected to retire Sept. 30. He was chosen by a seven-member search committee from among four finalists.
Skrynecki said in an interview Thursday that he is “honored and thankful” to be selected to lead the Southampton Police Department, but said it was “bittersweet” to leave Nassau, where he has spent more than four decades.
“I look back on 42 years of incredible relationships with the men and women of the department who I have the greatest respect and admiration for,” said Skrynecki, who became emotional as he reflected on his career.
He said he plans to start in Southampton on Jan. 16.
Skrynecki, who has a residence in Southampton as well as in Nassau County, added that he doesn’t expect to usher in any “dramatic” change, but said he first wants to develop relationship with officers on the 100-member force.
Skrynecki said he will help acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter select a new chief and added that Krumpter has made it clear he would like Skrynecki to spend some transitional time with his successor.
Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Thursday that the town board will introduce a resolution to appoint Skrynecki at a special board meeting on Sept. 29.
Southampton Town Police Capt. Lawrence Schurek will run the department on an interim basis until Skrynecki takes over.
Schneiderman said the town and Skrynecki agreed on a two-year deal which was “roughly equivalent” to Pearce’s current salary. Pearce was paid $201,550 in 2014, including a $175,136 base salary. Skrynecki was paid $237,636 last year.
Schneiderman added that Skrynecki will continue to have his pension and health care covered by the Nassau County police system, which will save Southampton about $80,000 annually.
Krumpter cited Skrynecki’s efforts helping to revamp the department’s use-of-force policy in 2014 and his more recent efforts to bring an active-shooter alert system to the county’s schools as important contributions with lasting impact.
“He can’t be replaced; 42 years of experience can’t be replaced,” Krumpter said. “He was a partner and we made a lot of great changes to the department, and it’s a significant loss to the department.”
Krumpter said he would begin discussions next week with County Executive Edward Mangano on Skrynecki’s successor.
Mangano released a statement praising Skrynecki’s decades of service.
“Chief Skrynecki served the Nassau County Police Department for 42 years,” Mangano said. “As Chief, he has reduced crime by 24 percent, advanced anti-terror training and intelligence-led policing techniques, helping make Nassau one of the safest large suburban counties in the nation.”