COBLESKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Village of Cobleskill hired a new police chief after most of the department left their duties last month. James McCrum talked about his plans to rebuild the police department. 

“I’m always up for a challenge, so I came down and I spoke with them. I was not familiar with anybody on the board or the mayor prior to meeting them probably about two weeks ago,” said McCrum.  

He started his career as a state police trooper in 1992 then later became an investigator before retiring from the state police in 2016. 

McCrum has held roles as a polygraph examiner and a crisis negotiator. He’s worked in a criminal intelligence unit and worked as the Director of Safety and Security at Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District. Most recently he was working for the financial crimes unit in Schenectady county. 

He reached out to the village of Cobleskill after eight police officers resigned and retired last month.

“It is a challenge, I’ve always prided myself on taking challenges. I will stay here hopefully until this place gets back up and running to provide police coverage at almost a full-time level,” said McCrum.

The plan is to keep the 7:00 A.M. to 1:00 A.M. patrol schedule, once he hires his staff and plans to continue their current partnerships with the state and county. 

“We have a great relationship with both agencies, the state police locally in Cobleskill and the Schoharie County Sheriffs. I’m hoping to continue that relationship,” said McCrum.

At a village meeting last Tuesday he heard concerns from some taxpayers who were pointing out his salary was higher than his predecessor’s. 

“Listen, I understand the concerns I am a taxpayer as well. Some things people don’t understand is when you have an employee, you have their base pay and their longevity pay over time that you’re responsible for as a municipality. For me coming down here I will be working under a waiver,” said McCrum. “They don’t have to pay any retirement for me, or health insurance, because I have health insurance from the state police and believe it or not just those two things right there I believe is a savings of almost $40,000.”

He’s still getting up to speed and plans on going over budget details with the board of trustees and Mayor Rebecca Stanton-Terk later this week.

Chief McCrum talked to the board about putting someone through a zone basic school, which is a police training academy. 

“They are not opposed to that so if there are people who want to get into law-enforcement, we would sponsor someone,” said McCrum.

Hiring personnel has been hard across law enforcement agencies, he said, adding that the state police is seeing a significant reduction in people who sign up for their test.

He has been reaching out to his network looking for new employees.

“Just trying to get people to put their applications in. If anybody wants a job down here, please submit your application,” said McCrum.

The new police chief hopes to have a combination of part-time and full-time police officers back patrolling the streets of Cobleskill within the next two months.