Southold begins its search for next police chief

by |
06/02/2011 5:58 AM |

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Police Captain Martin Flatley with former supervisor Josh Horton during last summer’s Town Board discussion of the NOFO Rock and Folk Fest.

The chief is retired (almost)! Long live the chief!

Who will become the town’s top cop when Police Chief Ty Cochran steps down on July 5? The question remains open.

It appears unlikely that the Town Board will appoint a successor within the next month, in which case the department becomes the responsibility of Captain Martin Flatley, the executive officer and currently second in command. As for a permanent replacement, no decision has been made on whether to hire from within the department, as the town has done for decades, or seek a chief from another agency, as the Town of Southampton did recently.

“We’re looking at what our options are,” said Supervisor Scott Russell.

In Southold the full Town Board acts as police commissioners.

The first step in the selection process is for the town’s personnel officer to inform the Suffolk County civil service department of a vacancy in the chief’s position. The chief’s job is a civil service position, which places some limits on the town’s options. For example, a successful candidate must pass the chief’s test within a certain time frame.

“I envision we’d have a new chief of police long before summer is over,” Mr. Russell said.

The last four police chiefs all rose up through the ranks of the town department. Chief Cochran, who announced last week that he’s leaving after 33 years on the force, the last 10 as chief, started at the bottom as a seasonal officer.

Carl Cataldo, the last chief to come from outside the department, was an administrator with the Suffolk County Police Department. He took over in Southold in the 1970s.

Capt. Flatley, a Mattituck native who has held virtually every management post other than chief, said he would welcome the opportunity to be chief.

“When you work your way up through the ranks it’s certainly something you aspire to,” he said. “I look forward to the [selection] process.”

The captain joined the force as a seasonal officer in 1976. After a stint with the now-defunct Greenport Village police, he became a full-time Southold patrolman in 1981. He was also assigned to the Juvenile Aid Bureau, served as a detective and headed the investigations office as detective sergeant and lieutenant prior to becoming the department’s first captain in 2004.

Southold isn’t the only East End law enforcement agency with a recent change at the top. In March, Southampton Town Chief James Overton retired after 21 years in that position. He had been a police officer for 43 years.

But rather than promote Captain Anthony Tenaglia, the next in line, the Southampton Town Board chose Southampton Village Police Chief William Wilson, leaving a vacancy in the village force.

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3 Comment

  • Marty deserves getting appointed Chief more than anyone else on the “Force”, In my opinion for what that’s worth. I’ve known Marty for well over 20 yrs and can’t think of a more dedicated Police Officer/Public Servant. He worked his way up through the years and knows every aspect of the Department as well as the people he serves and has served in the past. Marty if it were up to me, there would be no debate, but protocol is protocol and the law is the law. So, he ( Marty) must go through the motions and whatever other “redtape” that may be involved to keep it above board, not to mention appease the public as well. Good Luck Marty, may you have a long(er) and fruitful career ahead as The Chief of Southold Town Police. I no longer live on the NOFO, but I’m still on beautiful Long Island and will always be proud to call Southold Township (Mattituck is my home town) the NOFO or whatever you choose to call it my forever home.

  • Why do you need a chief?

  • >> In Southold the full Town Board acts as police commissioners.

    You mean In Southold the full Town Board appointed itself as the police commission.
    It has never taken a single lawful action as police commission.


    The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
    Law Enforcement Accreditation Program* became operational in 1989.

    East Hampton Town Police Department became accredited in 1992.
    Southampton Village Police Department became accredited in 1993.
    Southampton Town Police Department became accredited in 1998.
    Suffolk County Police Department became accredited in 2005.
    Shelter Island Town Police Department became accredited in 2009.

    Southold Town Police Department has not yet applied for accreditation.

    When I questioned the Southold Town Police Commission (aka Southold Town Board)
    it was unaware of, and uninterested in, Law Enforcement Accreditation.

    *The NYS Law Enforcement Accreditation Program provides formal recognition that a law enforcement agency is administered and operates effectively and efficiently, follows clear policies and procedures and works together with other law enforcement agencies.

    There is no application fee and all materials are provided at no cost. Associated costs that may be incurred to achieve and maintain accreditation are minimal since existing personnel, equipment and facilities are utilized as much as possible. These costs may be more than offset by increases in efficiency. The benefits of accreditation include a reduced vulnerability to civil law suits and costly settlements and an increase in public confidence in the agency.

    Effectiveness, efficiency and economy are all goals of the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

    What are the goals and policies of the Southold Town Police Department?