A year into his new gig as chief, William Wilson, formerly chief of the , spoke before the Hampton Bays Civic Association Monday night, laying out his goals for the department.
Wilson, who was , says the past year has been challenging, but the Southampton native said he is slowly working towards change. The following is what he laid out during the meeting:
With a force of 88 officers, including himself, Wilson said a new computer system and software is a necessity.
"We are still using pens and paper, writing tickets by hand," said Wilson, who noted that when he started as chief, he had 105 officers. However, due to cutbacks, the size of his department has dwindled.
"In order to maintain the level of service that residents deserve, we can't go backwards in staffing without technological improvements."
Wilson was before the Southampton Town Board in February to to keep the systems licensed and operational.
The Town Board has not yet made a decision on the chief's spending proposal.
Willson said he is making every effort to improve communications between the police department and the public, saying his door is always open. Referring to the recent , and reports that a , the chief urged residents to ask him directly about what's happening.
"You've read the newspapers; there are a lot of rumors going around," he said. "But there hasn't been a full version of events because there are things we can't speak about because we are prohibited from doing so."
Wilson continued, "We are going through a rough patch with some employees, but I assure you that out police officers are some of the hardest working that I have had the privilege to work with."
While Wilson said that Southampton is very fortunate in that violent crimes don't happen very often, the department fields numerous other calls from break-ins to drugs and domestic incidents.
And with that, Wilson said he is working to revamp the current seven-sector systems in which at any given time, the department has three cars in eastern Southampton, three in western Southampton and one in Hampton Bays/Flanders/Riverside.
"It has been like that as long as I have been a cop — that Hampton Bays car, called Bravo 32, doesn't stop," said Wilson, who has 27-years of policing under his belt.
Wilson said he'd like to add a second car to Hampton Bays, which he says is the largest Southampton hamlet with 15,000 residents in a concentrated area. He's also like to add a second car to the Flanders/Riverside area while maintaining the current staffing level.