Southampton’s Town Board on Thursday officially appointed Steve Skrynecki, chief of department for Nassau County police, to lead the town’s police force.
The board voted 5-0 in a special session to appoint Skrynecki, a 42-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department. He will replace Robert Pearce, who is expected to step down on Friday.
Skrynecki, 63, was all smiles in the hallway before the meeting as he introduced himself to several members of the department, which has 100 officers, and said he looked forward to working with them.
After the meeting, Skrynecki — who has a residence in Southampton as well as in Nassau — said one of the things that attracted him most to Southampton was the tight-knit feel of the community. He added that one of his priorities would be to build on fostering relations between the department and residents and community leaders though a mix of private and public meetings.
“I think we’ll have a good transition, and I hope to bring my expertise and combine that with the years of great experience that exists with the men and women of this department to make this department the best it can be and provide the best public safety to this community,” Skrynecki said.
At the meeting, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman presented a special proclamation honoring Pearce for his years of service to the community, prompting a standing ovation from local police officers and elected officials.
“He’s one of the good guys,” Schneiderman said. “He has done a tremendous job protecting public safety. As a town board, our most important charge is protecting the public. I know I was able to sleep better at night knowing that Chief Pearce was watching over this department.”
After the meeting, Pearce said there was much that he was proud of in his 34 years with the department, but that he was proudest of “working with the great men and women of this department.”
Schneiderman praised Skrynecki’s experience with the Nassau police, citing his initiatives in community police relations, an active shooter program and heroine and gang abatement programs. He was hired in 1974 as a patrol officer and has held command posts in several units in the department, including the Robbery Squad, Vice Squad, Narcotics Squad, Internal Affairs and Chief of Detectives.
“It shows the type of individual that we are talking about, a decorated history in law enforcement,” Schneiderman said. “It was a challenging decision; I think the board made the right decision. I am extremely honored and pleased that Chief Skrynecki has accepted the offer.”
Town officials have said that Capt. Lawrence Schurek will run the department until Skrynecki’s expected takeover in January.