Police chief retiring
M. CRAIG MCDONALD/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS New Kidder Township Police Chief Mathew Kuzma, left, relinquishes his role as Sergeant in the department as Kidder Township Supervisors approved unanimously to hire him to lead the Department on Thursday night at the Township Meeting. Retiring Police Chief Joseph Michael Protasiewicz is satisfied leaving the Department in good hands but says he feels a little regret that he sold his Harley several months ago as he heads once again into retirement.
Kidder Township Board of Supervisors met Thursday night giving commendation to their Retiring Police Chief and welcomed in Sgt. Matthew Kuzma. Retiring Chief Joseph Michael Protasiewicz was honored with a plaque for 41 years of service in Law Enforcement. Protasiewicz worked for 33 years in Scotch Plains, N.J. before deciding to retire nearby in Kidder Township. After only a 16 month retirement the ad for Police Chief in Kidder caught his eye,
"That was eight years ago. And I sent my resume and that was it, he said"
He said when he first started as Chief he came in to meet the other officers but he knew they were all the same.
"The faces and names were different, but police officers are all the same kind of people. There is camaraderie. You have to be one to know what I mean, he said proudly looking out to see where Kuzma was. He was glad, he said, that the Supervisors chose a Police Chief in the department instead of outside. He said that he knew Kuzma would be with the department a long time and that was an important for the community.
Under Protasiewicz the Kidder Police Department is acknowledged as a Professional Police Department which received the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC) Standards which is a specific set of standards, over 120, which Kidder met to receive an Accreditation. PLEAC was established by the Pa. Chief of Police Association to establish Professionalism within Departments in Pennsylvania. Kidder Township Police Department is the only Police Department in Carbon County to receive PLEAC's Accreditation. They received it on September 13, 2008 and will need to be recertified by PLEAC under New Police Chief Mathew Kuzma's administration of the Department early next year. The retired chief says he will stay nearby and work on his home with his new wife Dolly. "The residents of Kidder Township have been good to me, and I am grateful."
The surrounding Kidder Township Municipal Building is a welcoming place now because of landscaping services provided by a local business. Supervisor Larry Polansky along with other Supervisors gave Jim Smith a bronze plaque in appreciation for the work performed. The entry way is adorned with rock gardens, flowers and shrubs thanks to donated time and money from Jim Smith and the Smith Family business, Smith Floral.
A motion was made and passed to appoint Mathew Kuzma as the New Kidder Township Police Chief, the public, Kuzma's family and friends applauded his appointment.
All other business of Supervisors moved through the agenda rapidly without much discussion. The next meeting of Supervisors will be September 15 at 7 p.m.