By Dan Hust
LIBERTY Liberty Town Justice Harold Bauman joked he’d be violating ethics rules if he spoke well of the Village of Liberty’s new police chief, Scott Kinne.
But he couldn’t help himself.
“You have selected a man who is intuitive, smart and capable,” Bauman told the village board and a room full of family, friends and coworkers during Kinne’s swearing-in on Tuesday.
Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell joined in the praise.
“He’s a local boy who grew up here, went to school here, came back here and is raising his family here,” Farrell said. “… He cares enormously about the community and what can happen if the rule of law is not respected or observed… and I know he is going to make all of you very, very proud.”
Farrell noted the village board was unanimous in its May decision to have Kinne permanently replace retiring Chief Rob Mir, a fact Mayor Richard Winters confirmed.
“We feel we made the right choice,” Winters said. “He will be good for the community.”
“I just think it’s a great choice,” added Liberty Town Supervisor Charlie Barbuti. “Nobody knows the community better than Scott.”
Kinne grew up in Liberty, graduating from Liberty High in 1990. He earned an associate’s in criminal justice from SUNY Sullivan in 1992, and started his career with the Liberty PD the following year, becoming a full-time officer in 1994.
He rose through the ranks in the nearly two decades thereafter and, now 39, was named Mir’s interim replacement last October (at Mir’s recommendation) before becoming the permanent chief in May.
Kinne emotionally thanked his supporters and his family wife Debbie and daughters Erin and Emily among them at Tuesday’s swearing-in, with particular emphasis on his fellow officers.
“They make me look good each and every day they come to work,” he acknowledged.
Afterwards, Kinne detailed his plans for increased foot and bike patrols to make the department more visible steps he’s actually already taken since starting the $83,783-a-year job.
There’s no talk (yet) of expanding the 15-member force, but Kinne is hoping to find funds in the department’s $2 million budget to increase the eight cameras already monitoring downtown.
Kinne’s old detective job hasn’t been refilled, but his move to chief has resulted in the promotion of Anthony Dos Santos to squad sergeant and Martin Gonzales to school resource officer.
The new chief is vowing to improve Liberty’s quality of life and bring the community together by focusing on everything from burglaries to littering.
“The minor stuff needs attention, too,” Kinne explained. “You can’t just forget about it, because if you let the little things get out of hand, they become big things.”
He added that he’s enjoying a fully cooperative relationship with the board and that the divisive budget issues of years past have been overcome.
“This board wants to promote our village,” Kinne said, “... and we’re going to be an important part of it.”