A changing of the guard took place this week for the three top Suffolk County law enforcement posts as a new police commissioner, district attorney and sheriff all took over.
Errol Toulon replaced Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent Demarco on Monday. On Tuesday, outgoing Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini was sworn in as district attorney. And his deputy, John Barry, was named acting police commissioner Monday while a search gets underway for a permanent replacement.
“The first and most important objective is to restore integrity the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, which has been called into question,” said Sini, referring to the indictment of his predecessor, Tom Spota, who resigned after he pleaded not guilty in October to federal corruption charges.
Sini, a Democrat, beat Republican criminal defense attorney Ray Perini in the race to replace Spota, who declined to seek a sixth term this year before he and his top public corruption investigator were accused of trying to cover up the former police chief’s beating of a handcuffed inmate.
“I promise that to the best of my ability, I will create a culture that empowers my administration, my assistants, to do the right things,” Sini said. “To secure convictions that will withstand appeal and to protect the innocent.”
Barry, who worked with Sini at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, had been Sini’s top deputy commissioner, making him next in line to take over as acting commissioner. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has said he’ll launch a nationwide search to replace Sini. Barry,an NYPD veteran, had led the investigation into ex-New York State Assembly Speak Sheldon Silver (D-Manhttan), who’s facing a retrial on federal corruption charges after his conviction was overturned on appeal.
Toulon, a Democrat, beat Republican Larry Zacarese following a recount in a race that was too close to call on election night. Toulon is the first African American to hold a county-wide seat in Long Island history. He replaced DeMarco, who didn’t seek re-election and lost his Conservative Party support after getting its ex-leader convicted of $200,000 in payroll theft.
“I want to create an environment over the course of this transition that encourages our employees to share their ideas and ways in which I can support their professional growth,” said Toulon, who spent the transition assessing staff levels, learning about the inner workings of the Sheriff’s Office and fine-tuning his agenda.
In addition to those changes, U.S. Attorney General appointed Richard Donoghue the interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which prosecutes federal crimes on LI, beginning Friday. He investigated and prosecuted a wide array of cases, including MS-13 racketeering cases and other violent crime, white collar crime, public integrity offenses, and drug trafficking and transformed the agency’s Public Integrity Section.
Bridget Rohde, who has been Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District since Sessions dismissed her predecessor, Robert Capers, will resume her role as First Assistant United States Attorney.