An FBI agent will lead Southampton Town’s new public safety and emergency preparedness department as part of efforts to strengthen code enforcement, officials said Monday.
Steven Troyd, who has worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 28 years, will take office next month and oversee the departments of code enforcement, animal control and fire prevention, officials said.
Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Troyd will be the first direct administrator for the existing departments, which have lacked oversight while reporting to the town attorney’s office. Troyd will also coordinate with Schneiderman’s office to handle emergency management.
“Our town has enacted strong codes to protect our quality of life,” Schneiderman said. “The laws need to be vigorously enforced.”
Schneiderman said he sought an administrator with experience in law enforcement and investigations and that he plans to hire another code officer next year to boost enforcement of housing code and environmental regulations.
Minerva Perez, executive director of the nonprofit Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, said she is concerned a stronger code enforcement department could create a housing crisis, citing that the people who live in illegal rentals typically cannot afford other accommodations.
“With any strengthening of code enforcement, the town needs to be responsible for equally strengthening the dearth of adequate housing for our workforce, so we don’t need to be making people homeless and calling that solving a problem,” Perez said Tuesday.
Schneiderman said the town is working with Diana Weir, director of the recently re-established department of housing and community development, to create more affordable housing units.
“But I can’t turn a blind eye to illegal rentals,” he said.
Troyd, of West Babylon, did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment. He most recently supervised the FBI’s New York Metro Safe Streets Gang Task Force and previously served on the Long Island Gang Task Force. His emergency management duties included responding to the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 and superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Troyd’s hiring announcement comes after the Southampton Town Police Department said last month that it created a counterterrorism unit that allows some officers to carry rifles.
Schneiderman said the bulking up of law and code enforcement in the town will help “keep people safe.”