Gregory Kaczmarek had a colorful career on the Schenectady police force, including a six-year tenure as chief, and spent much of that career dodging allegations of drug use.
1975 — Kaczmarek begins his career in law enforcement. Drug rumors would begin as early as five years later, when he is called “Sgt. Snow” and “Lt. Noriega” behind his back by some.
September 1992 — Kaczmarek rises to assistant chief in charge of the Field Services Bureau. He is in line for the chief’s job, but is opposed as critics argue Kaczmarek is being pushed because he worked on Mayor Frank Duci’s 1991 campaign. The police chief’s position is abolished, but the move is later ruled illegal by the courts and the position is reinstated.
June 19, 1996 — After 21 years on the force and years of whispers about drug use, Kaczmarek holds a news conference to deny those allegations. A week later he is appointed police chief by Mayor Al Jurczynski, one of those who had opposed Kaczmarek’s appointment earlier. Jurczynski would say Kaczmarek, with hard work, could become “perhaps the best chief in the history of the department.”
July 26, 2002 — Kaczmarek offers his resignation after a turbulent six years that saw an FBI investigation lead to four officers being sent to prison. The retirement also came as he was stung by criticism for playing golf while out on sick leave with a bad back.
Early 2007 — Traffic stops in Saratoga and Greene counties start police on a path that would lead to Schenectady and a drug ring led by Kerry Kirkem
Jan. 31 — Wiretaps begin after investigators amass evidence through informants and surveillance.
Feb. 1 — Four seemingly unremarkable calls involving Kirkem are made. The first call has a male voice asking Kirkem to call him back once he got out of bed. Later phone calls that day refer to requests for cocaine. That male voice, investigators would come to believe, was that of Kaczmarek. The days following bring more calls, these from Kaczmarek’s wife, Lisa, asking for more cocaine.
Feb. 2 — Gregory Kaczmarek possesses cocaine, while his wife attempts to possess it. Both would admit to that incident as the basis for their guilty pleas.
Feb. 18 — In calls identified early on as being made by Lisa Kaczmarek with Gregory present, Lisa badgers Kirkem for cocaine to celebrate Gregory’s upcoming birthday. Those allegations also included an alleged offer by Gregory to pick up a shipment himself Feb. 18 and that he would “flash his badge.”
Feb. 20 — On Gregory Kaczmarek’s birthday, a $150,000 shipment of heroin and cocaine en route from Long Island is surreptitiously seized during a traffic stop by state police. Drug mule Misty Gallo frantically calls Kirkem after she discovers the drugs are gone. Kirkem calls Lisa Kaczmarek, asking for advice. Kirkem and Lisa and Gregory Kaczmarek meet that night at DiCarlo’s, a topless bar on Central Avenue in Colonie. It was there that prosecutors alleged Gregory Kaczmarek told Kirkem he needed to move his stash houses and change telephone numbers.
March 12 — The first arrests are made, including Kirkem, co-leader Oscar Mora and Gallo
May 8 — Indictments are returned against 24 people, including Lisa Kaczmarek. Her husband is not named as a defendant, but he is named in the indictment.
June 23 — Kerry Kirkem admits his role and accepts a 12-year prison sentence.
Sept. 25 — Gregory Kaczmarek is indicted on six counts including conspiracy and drug possession. He is arraigned and pleads not guilty.
Dec. 2 — Gregory and Lisa Kaczmarek enter guilty pleas to charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, respectively.
Feb. 2, 2009 — The scheduled sentencing date for both Gregory and Lisa Kaczmarek. Gregory Kaczmarek is to get two years in state prison, while Lisa Kaczmarek is to get six months in jail.