Nassau Chief Stands Out

A decision could be announced as early as next week as to who the next chief of the Southampton Town Police Department will be. It has become known in recent days that the town board is eyeing one candidate, said to have stood out among the nine considered for the top brass position.

Steven E. Skrynecki, the current chief of the Nassau County Police Department, rated higher than the three candidates a search committee recommended the board interview. The committee evaluated candidates on experience, communication skills, and characteristics of leadership, said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. Chief Skrynecki had a near perfect score.

Chief Skrynecki, 64, who has been in law enforcement for 42 years, rose through the ranks to become second in command, after the police commissioner, of Nassau’s 2,400-member department. He oversees a budget in excess of $700 million. Southampton Town has 94 officers currently and covers 145 square miles with a budget of $22 million.

The chief is familiar with Southampton, as he owns a house in the town. Reached on Tuesday, he said he was not prepared to comment.

“He is a very, very strong candidate,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I wouldn’t want to be competing against him. It’s like swimming against Michael Phelps.”

The three others who received interviews were East Hampton Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen, Shelter Island Town Police Chief James Read, and Southampton Town Police Capt. Lawrence Schurek.

“We had great candidates. Probably all of them would have made a strong chief,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

The supervisor expects the town board will announce its decision by early next week. Robert Pearce, the current chief, is retiring on Sept. 30. His salary is $182,212 per year; Chief Skrynecki’s is $237,636.