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News & Information - Spotlight 2023

Posted on: December 9, 2022

Southampton Town Swears In New Police Chief


Southampton Police Department Captain James Kiernan was appointed as the Town’s new Police Chief at a Special Meeting of the Town Board yesterday. Then, with his family and dozens of police officers, officials, and East End police chiefs looking on, Chief Kiernan took his oath of office, administered by Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer. 

Chief Kiernan received a unanimous vote by the Southampton Town Board. He replaces Chief Steven Skrynecki, who died in October after a brief illness. Kiernan becomes the sixth Police Chief since the Southampton Town Police Department was founded in 1951.  

James Kiernan was hired by the Town as a police officer in 1997, after having had previous employment as both a social worker and court officer. From there, he rose swiftly through the ranks: assigned to detective in 2004; promoted to sergeant in 2005; promoted to lieutenant in 2011; became detective lieutenant in 2018; promoted to Captain/Executive Officer in 2020. Along the way, assuming increasingly challenging and responsible assignments, Jim accumulated numerous commendations and awards citing excellence in performance. He has also completed various additional intensive professional training courses. 

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman commented, “James Kiernan has earned this position, after a distinguished career within the Southampton Town Police Department. The Town Council members and I have complete confidence in his ability to lead the department into the future with fairness, compassion, and integrity.”

Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, who is Town Board liaison to the Police Department, said, “We are proud of our police and it is appropriate to make this promotion from within the ranks of our police department. Chief Kiernan has spent a career of serving the people of Southampton Town and we now look forward to the future of the Southampton Town Police Department under his leadership as chief.” 

Councilman John Bouvier added, “I am very pleased that the Town of Southampton has appointed Jim Kiernan Chief of Police. I know he will lead this department professionally and I look forward to working with him into the future.”

“Captain Kiernan has been an outstanding leader on and off duty in our community. He will lead our town with the same high level of determination and pride that he has throughout his own life as our Chief”, noted Councilman Rick Martel.

Councilwoman Cyndi McNamara shared her praise for Kiernan, “I have had the privilege of working with Jimmy Kiernan for the past year. He is a dedicated man of integrity who cares deeply about our community.  I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead as Chief and look forward to working with him to make our police department the best it can be.”

The President of the Town’s Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, Erik Breitwieser, offered high praise in his remarks at the Special Meeting, “We are one hundred percent behind Chief Kiernan and support him. On behalf of both the PBA and the SOA (Superior Officers’ Association), we look forward to working with him to continue the strong relationship that we have forged.”

In his own remarks at the ceremony, Chief Kiernan thanked the Town Board for its confidence in him, and for being strong supporters of law and order, in partnership with the community and surrounding jurisdictions. “I pledge that this department will do all that it can to ensure a safe environment for our residents, guests, visitors and businesses. I appreciate your vote of confidence and support, and will do my utmost to deserve this honor.”


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