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Niskayuna Appoints New Police Chief

 Chief Jordan Kochan is sworn in at Niskayuna Town Hall
Town of Niskayuna
YouTube/Image capture by WAMC
Chief Jordan Kochan is sworn in at Niskayuna Town Hall

Niskayuna has sworn in its next police chief.

During a ceremony at Niskayuna Town Hall Friday afternoon, Sergeant Jordan Kochan was appointed to lead the town police department. Republican Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed administered the oath to Kochan.

Leaders hope Kochan’s appointment ends a rocky past several months between the town and police department.

Earlier this week, the Schenectady County town dropped charges against acting chief Michael Stevens, who was accused of bullying staff. Scrapping a scheduled disciplinary hearing, Syed said the matter would be addressed internally and would make recommendations to the town board on next steps.

In June, interim Niskayuna Police Chief Fran Wall announced her retirement after a year in the position.

In a June 3rd letter reportedly shared with the Niskayuna Police Department and published on the Albany Times Union’s website, Wall cited a “hostile and toxic workplace environment” and said she “made the mistake of thinking that the Town really wanted the Police Department to move in a new and more progressive direction.”

Wall has not responded to a WAMC request for comment made at the time.

Supervisor Syed said she hoped the appointment of Kochan would begin a “new era.”

“We have every confidence in you, Jordan, that you’re going to take the helm of the department, that you’re going to run it optimally, and that you’re going to back to work and get the town back to work, and doing what we’re supposed to do, and that’s serve and protect the residents.”

Former Niskayuna Deputy Supervisor Lorene Zabin was granted privilege of the floor by Syed during the ceremony. Zabin praised the selection of Kochan and also offered words for former interim chief Wall.

“She was also a police chief, the first woman patrolman, a veteran of the Marines, so as you can see we’ve had some very qualified police chiefs. And I am so hoping that our unity of this wonderful town will have a long and happy relationship with our police department,” said Zabin.

Kochan was chosen over two other top candidates, Stevens and Sgt. Todd Frenyea.

A Niskayuna High School graduate who moved to his adopted hometown from Nebraska, Kochan, 38, said he was grateful for the acceptance of the town, school district, and police department.

“I am forever in debt to this community, this agency, and to everyone that is here for all that you’ve done for me. And in this position, I don’t promise a lot of things, but I can promise you this: I’m going to give it all of me back to you. And so thank you today. I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and let’s get to work.”

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.