The town of Rotterdam has yet to name a new police chief after G. William Manikas retired at the end of April, a retirement the Town Board knew was coming for a year.
In the meantime, Deputy Chief Michael Brown, who Manikas recommended for the chief’s position, has been the acting chief and overseeing the day-to-day operations.
“Chief Manikas officially retired on April 30, 2021, ahead of his anticipated retirement at the end of 2021,” said town officials in an emailed statement through the public relations firm they hired. “Town Board members have concluded interviews of qualified candidates on the current civil service list and have made their recommendation to the full Town Board for consideration. A vote on a permanent replacement is forthcoming.”
Manikas said he sent his official letter of retirement to Town Board members via email in April 2020 stating he’d be retiring in 2021. Before that he said he let the town and deputy supervisors know when he took over as chief in 2017 that he would be retiring in 2021.
Town officials did not comment on how many people applied for the job, how the interview process was conducted or when they would actually be voting to hire Manikas’ replacement.
There was no resolution on the town’s draft agenda for its Wednesday meeting regarding the matter as of Tuesday evening.
Manikas said six weeks before his retirement he recommended Brown for the position. He said he’s the right candidate for the job and more than qualified.
He said Brown passed his civil service exam at the top of the class and also graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in 2012.
“Although it’s not required by the civil service it’s certainly a prestigious training academy,” Manikas said.
Manikas said that no matter what position Brown gets he’s “extremely confident” he will do his job. However, he believes Brown will become the next chief.
“He’s a man of high character and that would be my first recommendation of anyone taking over the position of chief of police – you do your job with integrity and morality,” he said.
Brown has spent 24 years at the department, becoming deputy chief in 2017.
Manikas spent over 36 years at the department after being hired in December 1984. He worked his way up the ranks until he was named chief in 2017.
Over the years he said many aspects of policing have changed – the most obvious to the everyday eye is technology.
“The technology has advanced greatly, as far as laptops in the cars, wireless communication, street cameras, body cameras, all of those types of things weren’t available when I was hired,” Manikas said.
However, he said the training over the last 20 years hasn’t changed much even with police reform because the department gets its training requirements from the New York State Accreditation Council, which has accredited the department since 2000.
“The executive order in essence just mandated that all agencies, whether they be accredited or not, follow the accreditation rules as they pertain to training,” he said.
He said they did institute a policy of participating in the training more frequently.