Former Chief James Overton spoke out this week in his first interview about turmoil in his former department and a grand jury investigation into the handling of police records, Newsday reports.
In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, Overton said the current Chief William Wilson made the wrong move disbanding the department's street crime unit, which Overton had formed during his tenure. Wilson has said the unit, which conducted narcotics investigations, lacked administrative oversight. Wilson has instead favored the multi-jurisdictional East End Drug Task Force, overseen by Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Lt. James Kiernan, the former supervisor of the street crimes unit, was recently by the Town Board at Wilson's recommendation for undisclosed reasons. Days later, detectives with the Government Corruption Bureau of the Suffolk district attorney's office from containing investigatory documents. Wilson told Newsday that he is now — a review that could affect inmates.
Overton sees political motives behind investigations of Southampton Town police personnel and procedures, he told Newsday, saying it goes from the DA's office to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst's office. Throne-Holst told Newsday that the results of the investigation will reveal whether criticism of police is "unfounded or founded."
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