Jul 30, 2014
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Lt. Kiernan Headed Back to Work

Settlement agreement lifts suspension of embattled Southampton Town police officer.

Lt. Kiernan Headed Back to Work

The Southampton Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to ratify a settlement with James Kiernan of the town police department — an agreement that puts the lieutenant back to work for the first time in about six months.

Town Board members did not discuss the details of the settlement during Tuesday's public board meeting, but did say after the meeting that it lifts Kiernan's suspension. Had disciplinary hearings continued, Kiernan could potentially have had his employment terminated.

In April, Chief William Wilson put Kiernan, the former commander of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit, on administrative leave, and in May, the Town Board suspended him without pay.

Just days after Kiernan's suspension, detectives with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's Government Corruption Bureau subpoenaed the Southampton Town clerk's office and seized boxes of police documents said to contain details of "every confidential personnel police investigation from the police department from the years 1990-2009."

The seizure came following allegations that documents were shredded just before Wilson assumed his post in 2011.

A couple weeks after executing the subpoena at Town Hall, Spota announced that two convicts who has been the subject of Street Crimes Unit cases would have their sentences vacated and be released from prison. The move came after his office began reviewing more than 100 cases involving a Street Crimes Unit officer whose credibility was called into question, according to Spota.

The police officer was later identified as Eric Sickles, who was suspended himself in July. The outcome of his suspension is still pending.

According to Town Board resolutions and minutes, Kiernan became a police officer in 1997 and was promoted to sergeant in 2005. He was sworn in as a lieutenant at a Town Board meeting on Oct. 11, 2011.

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