Steven Grattan to succeed Martin Flatley as chief of Southold Town Police Department

The Southold Town Board announced that Captain Steven Grattan will succeed Chief Martin Flatley as head of the town police department following his retirement later this month. The announcement was made at Tuesday night’s regular Town Board meeting.

Pending the results of the chiefs exam, Capt. Grattan will replace Chief Flatley upon his June 25 retirement. The board will present a formal resolution appointing Capt. Grattan at its next regular meeting scheduled for June 18. Board Member Jill Doherty said Capt. Grattan’s salary will be determined in a forthcoming contract.

Town Supervisor Al Krupski said that Capt. Grattan’s life-long connection to Southold was a key factor in the board’s decision.

“Ultimately the board determined that the candidate who could best protect and serve the residents of Southold is a person who has local understanding of the town’s concerns and needs,” Mr. Krupski said following the announcement. “Someone with the distinct and local appreciation of our numerous hamlets and villages, someone homegrown and trusted by our residents. In doing so, the board rejected the option of looking for someone outside of Southold because an outside candidate would lack the local awareness, relationships and qualities the board sought for its next chief, Steven Grattan.”

“I am grateful to Supervisor Krupski and the members of the Town Board for giving me this opportunity,” Capt. Grattan said in a text message Tuesday night.

Before passing the resolution accepting his retirement, each board member thanked Chief Flatley for his service to the town.

Mr. Krupski reminded the community to not take the police department’s work for granted.

“We tend to, I think, take things that work well for granted in life in general. You get in your car and your car starts you don’t think about it,” Mr. Krupski said. “Public safety is kind of like that. If you feel safe and secure, you know that someone’s there. If you need help you can make a call to 911 and someone will respond, you know that and the chief was part of that and was part of that culture and I think that I’m just grateful for all the years, that’s a lot of years that he served the town.”

Chief Flatley has “done an excellent job and he’s done it with his heart,” Ms. Doherty said. “He’s always been a very approachable person, even before he was chief, when he was captain and he’s always been out in the community and all the different community things we have, you always see the chief there.” He’s going to be missed.”

Chief Flatley’s retirement is part of a settlement reached in 2022 when the Town Board took disciplinary action against five town employees based on the findings of a two-year investigation into the police department’s handling of community complaints regarding a 2020 retirement party for one of its sergeants which clearly violated state mandated COVID-19 restrictions.

Chief Flatley was suspended indefinitely without pay through the ratification process of the settlement agreement. Capt. James Ginas – who retired last July – served as acting chief until Chief Flatley was reinstated in late October 2022.

At a special meeting Oct. 24, 2022, Chief Flatley apologized to residents for the department’s response. As part of the settlement, he was required to retire on June 24, 2024. The agreement also required a reprimand letter to be permanently placed in his personnel file.

Chief Flatley began his career at the Southold Police Department as a seasonal officer in the late 1970’s and was hired full time in 1980. During his career, he served as a detective, a sergeant in the detective division and captain. He was appointed chief by then Town Supervisor Scott Russell and the Town Board in June 2011.

Capt. Grattan graduated from Southold High School class in 1998. He served as a traffic control officer in town for three years. He has an associate degree from Dean College in Franklin, Mass., and studied at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

He entered the New York Police Academy in 2001 and was on the streets along with his fellow cadets following the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Capt. Grattan graduated from the academy in 2002 and patrolled the 112th precinct in Queens as part of the station’s burglary team.

He transferred to the Southold Town Police Department on Sept. 12, 2005. During his career in Southold, he was promoted to relief sergeant, then a sergeant in charge of his own squad in 2017. He later became a lieutenant and was promoted to the rank of captain in the department last summer.

The board does not yet have a candidate to fill Capt. Grattan’s current position.

Before moving on to the next resolution on the agenda, Mr. Krupski touted Capt. Grattan’s hometown roots and public service record.

“Steven Grattan is the right candidate for the position of chief,” he said. “He is someone who is respected [for] proven service, leadership and experience as captain. Steven Grattan has exhibited faith in himself and the trust of our residents. In moving forward with this decision, the town shows the same faith in him.”