The search for a new Hanover police chief is underway and will probably take six months to a year, Hanover Town Manager Cliff Vermilya said.
In the meantime, Detective Sgt. Nick Giaccone has been appointed acting police chief by Vermilya. Giaccone took over last Tuesday night, when Police Chief Kurt Schimke died of a heart attack.
Giaccone “has the most seniority in the department and he is the senior sergeant,” Vermilya said. “In the past when former Chief Schimke was on vacation, he was the acting chief.”
Vermilya called Giaccone an “excellent, fine policeman.”
“He certainly has been a big addition to the Hanover Police Department,” Vermilya said.
Giaccone is a 20-year veteran of the Hanover Police force and was the head of the detective division before his recent appointment. Vermilya said Giaccone can seek the position of permanent police chief if he so chooses.
But Giaccone said he did not know if he wanted to be the permanent police chief.
As acting police chief, Giaccone said he would not make any major changes to the police force.
“At the moment, things the previous police chief set up are going to continue to run,” he said. “There will be no major changes -that’s the way a transition is done. Because if I were not going to be the chief, the new chief would want to make changes after I made changes.”
College administrators praised Schimke’s efforts to stay involved with the College community, and Giaccone said he “hoped to follow the legacy of Kurt.”
“Kurt was excellent at linking the department with community,” Vermilya said. “Nick is going to try very hard to keep all those contacts up.”
Schimke met with College Proctor Bob McEwen once a week to discuss relationships between the town and the College. Giaccone said he would continue those meetings.
McEwen said he has worked closely with Giaccone in the past.
“I look forward to working with him,” he said. “I look forward to a positive communication and rapport with him.”
Giaccone said he had a good working relationship with Schimke.
“I was the person who was in charge in his absence,” he said. “He trusted me to run the detective division. He wasn’t a hands-on individual, so he trusted my management.”
Schimke was very active in issues such as sexual assault at the College, and Giaccone said he dealt with sexual assault often as a member of the detective unit.
“We were the ones who would deal directly with the victims,” he said.
Hanover Police Communications Specialist Doug Hackett said the police force has nothing but respect for Giaccone.
“We all think very highly for him,” Hackett said. “I know no one who would say a bad word about detective Giaccone.”