Long Island police chief due for million-dollar payday



Meet the million-dollar cop.

The police chief of tiny, low-crime Southampton Village — pop. 3,307, with 30 sworn officers — makes more than NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

That would be the top cop of New York City, pop. 8,300,000, with about 36,000 sworn officers.

Chief Thomas Cummings was compensated $441,945.82 last year, according to village documents. His annual base pay was $263,829, easily topping Shea’s $239,092.

The village is not exactly a hotbed of crime. It has not had a murder since 2008, and last year reported no homicides, rapes, robberies or aggravated assaults. It did have two car thefts, one burglary, and 42 non-violent larcenies, according to state Division of Criminal Justice Services data.

Cummings’ massive compensation package included $86,256.66 in retirement contributions; $31,000 in extra vacation, a $23,893.02 night differential — and a $4,000 line item called “cleaning/clothing/college.” No one could fully explain what “3 Cs” taxpayers were being billed for.

Thomas Cummings
Chief Thomas Cummings first joined the department in 1987.

But that’s not all. Whenever Cummings, 57, decides to retire, taxpayers — villagers have an average household income of about $96,250 — will have to shell out well over a million dollars in post-employment costs, including $737,073 for health benefits and $503,828 in accrued leave.

His forthcoming payday came to light at a contentious village board meeting on March 11.

“Perhaps the most egregious thing is that the previous administration inserted an evergreen or perpetuity clause into his most recent contract, basically making him chief for as long as he wants to be,” Deputy Mayor Gina Arresta said, according to a video recording.

Cummings and the former mayor, Mark Epley, were allies who “saw things the same way,” said an East End source.

Jesse Warren, the current mayor, said at the meeting that the village is now negotiating Cummings’ next contract. (There are rumors that Warren wants to dissolve the department, as reported by the Southampton Press, which first covered the meeting.)

“While I can’t comment on Chief Cummings’ contract since we are in the midst of negotiations, I do fully support our Village police and will ensure they always have the resources to keep us safe,” Warren told The Post Friday.

Dermot Shea
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea oversees about 36,000 sworn officers — and gets paid less than Chief Cummings.
Pacific Press/Shutterstock

Cummings joined the department as a police officer in 1987, after graduating the year before with a fine art degree from Syracuse University, according to his LinkedIn page.

He supervises his son, whose hiring as a police officer was green lit in a 2019 midnight vote despite ethics concerns, Newsday reported.

Cummings isn’t the first Southampton Village Police Department high-roller. In 2011, The Post reported that then-Detective Sgt. Herman Lamison ran a seven-figure private security firm, a valet-parking business, and owned homes then worth some $11 million. And all of that before his police pay of $170,000 in 2010. He’s since seen his pay rise to $210,529 despite maintaining the same rank, according to SeeThroughNY.

Southampton police
There are rumors that Jesse Warren, the current mayor, wants to dissolve the department.

Messages seeking comment from the chief and Arresta weren’t returned.


The top cop in Southhampton Village makes more than the NYPD Commissioner:

  • Salary — $238,930.20
  • Night differential — $23,893.02
  • Extra vacation — $31,000
  • Holiday pay — $14,236.26
  • Cleaning/Clothing/College — $4,000
  • Medicare — $4,524.86
  • FICA — $7,960.80
  • Retirement contribution — $86,256.66
  • Dental/optical — $2,200


Post-employment costs: 

  • OPEB (post-retirement health benefits) — $737,073
  • Payout of accrued leave on retirement — $503,828



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