John Barry, who overhauled the Suffolk County Police Department’s internal affairs bureau as first deputy commissioner, will temporarily serve as acting police commissioner, officials said Tuesday, as the search for a permanent leader of the approximately 2,500-member force continues.
Barry, an NYPD veteran, will oversee the police department until a new commissioner is chosen to replace Timothy Sini, who was sworn in Tuesday as Suffolk County district attorney.
Barry then will begin work as the chief investigator for the district attorney’s office under Sini, said Jason Elan, spokesman for County Executive Steve Bellone.
The first deputy commissioner becomes the acting commissioner following the departure of the police commissioner, according to county law.
Barry, in an interview Tuesday, said he had not applied for the police commissioner job and would eventually go to the district attorney’s office.
“I’m not here to put my stamp on the department,” said Barry, 48, who was named first deputy commissioner in 2016. “I’m just here to be the steady hand to keep the department going in the right direction it has been going for the last two years.”
Barry, who began his law enforcement career with the NYPD as a patrol cop in 1990 and later worked on a DEA task force, was a criminal investigator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for six years.
He was the chief investigator in the prosecution of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges and an investigator in the corruption case against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam.
With Barry overseeing internal affairs, it closed 284 cases in 2017 — the most in the past 11 years, he said, adding that the bureau had made “tremendous strides.” Previously, the bureau was beset with hordes of cases older than 18 months — the cutoff for the department implementing discipline.
Bellone said in a November interview that he hopes to choose a permanent police commissioner by early 2018. The county legislature must vote on his selection.
“It’s not something I’m looking to drag out,” Bellone said Tuesday. “It’ll happen sooner rather than later.”
With Andrew Smith