Gregory G. Wickett, born and raised in Hamburg, wanted to be a police officer for as long as he can remember.
He took the civil service test years ago and kept calling then-Police Chief Mathew J. Czerwiec, asking whether there were any openings.
“I had almost given up on it,” he said.
Finally, in October 1987, when his friends were working at Ford and other area businesses, he joined the Town of Hamburg Police Department. And he was the unanimous choice of the Town Board this month to succeed Michael K. Williams and become the town’s sixth police chief.
“Not a lot of people get to do what they want to do in life,” he said.
Wickett, 54, who was named chief officially by the board Monday night, spent the first 22 years of his 27-year career on road patrols except for a stint in the Detective Bureau.
“That’s always been where my heart has been. I’ve always loved being in a police car, responding to calls in progress,” he said. “That never got old for me.”
But moving up the ladder meant moving from the front seat of a patrol car to behind a desk. Wickett was named lieutenant in 1998 and promoted to captain in 2008. He said he knows that not everyone will agree with every decision he makes but hopes that they will be satisfied he has considered the options and acted in good faith.
“If you treat people fairly, I think, at the end of the day, most of them will be satisfied,” he said. “You can’t always make people happy.”
Because of a lower base pay, Wickett’s contract with the town means that he will receive about $16,000 less than Williams. He also agreed to give back three days off. His base pay will be $122,000, and he will also receive a 12 percent longevity payment of $14,640 and sell back 14 holidays for about $13,000.
Wickett, a St. Mary’s Elementary School and St. Francis High School graduate, has bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College. He’s very grateful for the new job, he said, noting that the department is in good shape with up-to-date equipment and technology. He said he’ll work to make sure it stays that way.
“I’m not out there in the street there with them anymore,” Wickett said, “but I have a responsibility to take care of them as best I can.”