John J. Miskovski will step down from the helm of the West Seneca Police Department on March 30, capping a 33-year career on the force, eight of them as chief.
"I always wanted to be a policeman," Miskovski reflected. "At the time I started, it definitely wasn't for money; we hardly made any. But it was always something I wanted to do.
"It's time now to move on and enjoy life while I still can."
West Seneca Supervisor Paul T. Clark praised Miskovski as a "true police leader with a nonabrasive demeanor."
"(Miskovski) has been a great believer in extensive training and hiring highly qualified police officers," he said.
Since Miskovski became chief in 1993, the department has been accredited twice and police training has increased fivefold.
Also, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program has been expanded from one elementary school to nearly all schools in the West Seneca School District, and more officers have been placed on the streets because of the elimination of the desk lieutenant's position and the change to one-man patrols on all shifts.
"I could have never done this alone. I got a lot of help from a lot of people," Miskovski said.
Miskovski, 59, has served as patrol officer, desk lieutenant, detective and patrol lieutenant.
"I have always held him in the highest regard," said Assistant Police Chief Edward Gehen. "He has led the department in a manner to make the profession proud. (Miskovski) has continually worked toward making the town safe for residents, and he has been an example for all of our officers to follow."
Miskovski may be retiring from the department, but he won't be disappearing. He said he is planning to sit on a committee to research improvements to department facilities that are "long overdue."
A lifelong resident of the town and a 1960 graduate of West Seneca High School, Miskovski has served as president of the police union five times and was president of the Erie County Chiefs of Police in 1998.
He also is a board member of the West Seneca Rotary Club and a member of the New York State Police Chiefs Association and International Association of Police.
Miskovski said he and his wife, Sally, to whom he has been married for 38 years, plan to travel and spend more time with their three children and seven grandchildren.