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Longtime North Tonawanda police officer appointed top cop

NORTH TONAWANDA – William R. Hall was unanimously appointed police chief by the North Tonawanda Council Tuesday night and will be officially sworn in today by Mayor Robert G. Ortt on Wednesday.

During an interview, Hall, who grew up in North Tonawanda and joined the department 28 years ago, reflected on his years with the department.

“Everybody wants to strive to the highest rank you can achieve. I was happy upstairs being chief of detectives, but this is the next progression,” he said.

Ortt said Hall, who placed first on a civil service test for the position, is a born leader and the logical choice to lead the North Tonawanda Police Department.

“He’s someone that the other police officers and people in the community have a lot of respect for,” Ortt said. “He’s been a police officer for 28 years and in that time has done almost every position in the department.”

“He knows what it means to be a police officer. He knows what it means to serve and protect and I think he’s going to do a fantastic job,” Ortt said.

Hall had been the chief of detectives for 11 years and was appointed acting chief in March, when former Chief Randy Szukala left to pursue other opportunities.

He began his police career on patrol, then traffic officer, patrol lieutenant and was appointed to captain and, 11 years ago, was appointed chief of detectives.

“Every once in awhile I tried to get out [of the office] and do stuff with the guys,” he said.

he also concededd it would be hard to leave his longtime job “upstairs” in the detective bureau.

“I’m just leaving something I enjoy doing. Being upstairs you form bonds. I’ve been very fortunate. But I am not saying I won’t enjoy being chief,” Hall said.

He said he does plan to change the way some things are done when he takes over.

“I want supervisors to be a little more accountable,” he said. “They have to be leaders and teachers. I’m not saying that hasn’t happened in the past, but it just needs to be brought to the forefront.”

Hall’s starting pay will be $107,317 and he was placed on Step 5 of the bargaining unit for all department heads. Hall said his former detective lieutenant, Capt. Thomas Krantz will step into the role of chief of detectives. Detective Lt. Karen M. Smith, will serve in the No. 2 spot in the criminal detective bureau.