The Police Department could potentially have to manage without two high-ranking commanders by the end of the year.
Detective Lt. Thomas DiMezza announced earlier this month that he would retire from the department Aug. 27, and now Lt. Al Kercado has announced that he intends to take a military leave of absence to take a position at the Pentagon at the end of the year.
There are currently nine commanding officers in the department.
The position at the Pentagon’s Army Operations Center is not a definite yet. Kercado said there is a 75 percent chance he will be ordered to the position, but “nothing is a done deal in the military until you get orders cut.”
Kercado said if the position comes through, he would take a military leave of absence from the Police Department for between six months and one year.
“It wouldn’t be permanent,” he said.
To take the position, Kercado, a 24-year Army Reservist, would be coming out of a two-year retirement. He served two tours in Iraq, one in 2004 and one in 2005. He said he retired two years ago from the Army Reserve because his deployments were coming rapidly and “the only way to take a breath and give the Police Department some continuity was to retire.”
However, he said he has always wanted to take a position at the Pentagon and his experience and qualifications make him the perfect fit.
Kercado said it would be an awkward time for him to leave the Police Department, though. He is instrumental is organizing two major initiatives between the department and the city: the Nuisance Abatement Law, up for a vote tonight, and the reinstated Neighborhood Watch Program.
However, Kercado would be frequently in the area, as the position works on a four day on, four day off rotation. He doesn’t even plan to move to Washington, D.C.
Deputy Chief Victor Hugo said he isn’t sure how the department will fill DiMezza’s position yet. A promotions test is scheduled for September and is available for anyone holding the rank of sergeant in the department.
Until then, there is a detective sergeant with about a dozen years of experience on the force who is familiar with most of the department’s operations.
“We’ll be fine in the short term,” Hugo said.
And the department is familiar with working while Kercado is on military leave, having done so twice already, Hugo said.
“It’s going to be business as usual,” he said. “We’re just going to have to do more with less. Everyone is going to have to step up. We’ll get through it.”
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Categories: Schenectady County