Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki, who worked his way up the ranks after starting his career as a Nassau County police officer nearly 50 years ago, died Thursday. He was 69.
Skrynecki joined the Nassau County Police Department on July 12, 1974 and spent 43 years on the force before retiring as Chief of the Department — the top uniformed officer reporting to the commissioner — six years ago, when he became chief of the Southampton Town Police Department in 2017.
“My father dedicated his life to law enforcement and serving the public at a very young age,” said Nassau Police Det. Sgt. Scott Skrynecki. “I am overwhelmed with pride to follow the example he has set. But the center of his life and his greatest gift to us was his dedication to his family and beloved friends. We will miss him dearly.”
Tasked with reforming Nassau police procedures during his tenure and then doing the same in Southampton amid a recent statewide mandate, he was routinely on the front lines speaking with concerned residents at community events and reporters at news conferences in addition to his investigative duties.
“Police reform is a never-ending process, always searching for new police methodologies and technologies to be used in policing,” he told Dan’s Papers in a March interview. “They need to constantly evolve and need to meet community concerns and objectives.”
He was appointed to many specialized units throughout his career, including Chief Hostage Negotiator, Commanding Officer of the Narcotics Vice Bureau, Internal Affairs, Robbery Squad, and numerous Precinct Squads. Among the many medals he was awarded, the highest was the Medal of Distinguished Service for bravery.
“Chief Skrynecki was one of the finest individuals I have ever known,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “Chief Skrynecki always made public safety his highest priority. Southampton Town is forever grateful for his service and offer our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Skrynecki, who founded the Nassau County Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums and served as its lead drummer for the last 48 years, was also a member of many other fraternal organizations within and outside of the police department, including the Holy Name Society, Municipal Chiefs Association, and was a past graduate of the prestigious FBI Academy.
“I have known Steve Skrynecki for over 35 years and can say that he was the best of the best in law enforcement,” said Nassau Commissioner of Police Patrick J. Ryder. “I had the pleasure of working cases with him while I was in the Bureau of Special Operations … This man will be sorely missed for his dedication to law enforcement and even more missed by many others, as he was so dedicated to his family and friends.”