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Cop at Center of Controversy May Be Suspended

Southampton Town police chief serves disciplinary charges against Eric Sickles.

A Southampton Town police officer who — according to a confidential source and corroborated by many published reports — became addicted to drugs while working in the ’s now-defunct Street Crimes Unit is slated to be suspended Tuesday.

At the Southampton Town Board’s 1 p.m. public meeting Tuesday at , the board will take a vote on suspending Eric Sickles without pay “pending the disposition of disciplinary charges.” According to the resolution, the vote comes at the recommendation of Police Chief William Wilson, who served the charges, which are not specified in the resolution.

In April, Lt. James Kiernan, who was the supervisor of the Street Crimes Unit, was , then in early May.

The reasons for his suspension were also never publicly stated, as town and police officials cited confidentiality of personnel matters. But Wilson began an internal review of two years of Street Crimes Unit cases, and he told Newsday that the unit, which conducted narcotics investigations, lacked oversight.

And on May 9, the Government Corruption Bureau of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office " from Town Hall. Then at the end of May, Spota announced that two convicted drug dealers who had been arrested by the Street Crimes Unit would be and their charges were vacated. Their releases were the result of an ongoing review of more than 100 of the unit’s cases, according to Spota, who said that his office has gathered information that affects the credibility of a police officer.

Defense attorney Sue Menu said the cases were tossed out because the men's constitutional rights had been violated.

Spota said his office is still reviewing both pending and closed cases, which will likely end in more cases being dismissed.

If the board goes through with the suspension, Sickles will be able to use accumulated sick and vacation time to keep receiving paychecks.

The resolution does not state when exactly the board will revisit the matter, but it does direct Wilson to report on the status of the case to the board on a regular basis.

According to past Town Board resolutions, Sickles was appointed a part-time police officer in September 1998, though he did not officially begin until completing the Suffolk County Police Academy. In September 2000, he was appointed a full-time officer.

KRUSH July 10, 2012 at 10:51 AM
WHY IS THE PUBLIC KEPT IN THE DARK ABOUT WHAT THESE POLICE OFFICERS WERE INVOLVED IN -
Brendan J. O'Reilly July 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Thanks, Alice, for pointing out the inconsistency. I have revised the story.
Mary Anne DiMilia July 10, 2012 at 02:06 PM
HI known Eric he was my neighbor in Westhampton Beach at the Oak street apartments for years, in fact I remember when he was in the hiring process at the Police Department, I had given him a recommendation, for he lived upstairs from my apartment. I sure hope all these allocastions aren't true and sorry to hear that if it is wow the police will be losing a good man. Mary Anne DiMiliua my email address is mardim1978@aol.com if need be
RyeDad July 10, 2012 at 07:15 PM
How much has the Town of Southampton paid to lawyer Vincent Toomey so far for handling this case for the town and how much more will it cost them in the future? Toomey and his law firm have already been paid $1,700,000 from 2005 through April 2012.
Nancy Evans Figat July 16, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Suffolk County government has run amock. Not limited to Southampton. They are all guilty of RICO crimes.

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