Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
When former Police Commissioner Ernie Cipullo filed his retirement papers on May 31, it served as a bookend to a 51-year stint serving the Village of Garden City. These kinds of transitions from a well-established regime could have sent a ripple of concern throughout the community were it not for the fact that Cipullo’s friend, Kenneth Jackson was his successor. Trustee John Watras, the Village board of trustees liaison to the police department, reiterated this point while saying a few words prior to Jackson being officially sworn in by Mayor Don Brudie. “There are probably not enough kind words to say about [Jackson’s] attributes and [achievements],” Watras proudly stated. “We are so proud of you and your accomplishments. [You were] a great protégé of Ernie Cipullo.”
And while Jackson has subsequently served as Interim Commissioner, he officially dropped the interim tag when the Ronkonkoma resident was officially sworn in at the village trustees meeting on Thursday, Dec. 6. Jackson took the oath of office as administered by the mayor as two rows of village police officers lined up against the wall sporting white gloves and resplendent in their dress blues watched on with pride. Also attending was Jackson’s wife Laurie and their three children.
Jackson’s time working for Garden City dates back to June 1985, when he came over from serving at the New York Transit Authority. Despite being barely six years out of graduating college, the St. John’s alum had already started to distinguish himself on the force, winning the President’s Award for getting the top overall score in the New York City Transit Academy, in addition to being given the New York City Transit Meritus Award and the New York American Legion Law and Order Award in 1984. (This would be an honor he’d win a second time in 1988.)
Before long, Officer Jackson was steadily ascending the ranks: becoming part of the tactical division in 1990, being promoted to both the detective division and to the rank of sergeant the following year only to get bumped up the ranks to lieutenant in 1995 and finally inspector in 2005, a title he’s held for the past seven years. So it’s no wonder that a number of village residents and community fixtures, including Garden City Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Wilton, stepped up to the podium to lavish praise and congratulations on their new police commissioner during this meeting.
“He’s the right guy at the right time in the right place with the right skill set and I’m delighted and happy that you are [the commissioner] for our village,” Wilton declared during the public comments at the end of the meeting.
In stepping into the large shoes left behind by his predecessor, village residents should rest assured that Commissioner Jackson will carry on the formidable legacy of his old mentor and friend. Earlier in the year during an interview with Garden City Life for an article on Ernie Cipullo’s retirement, the St. John’s alum commented on the influence Cipullo has had on the way he approaches his job.
“The best piece of advice he gave me was to treat everybody the way you like to be treated,” Jackson explained. “And the one example he always led with was to always give it your all. As an employee of the community, it’s always up to [police officers] to do anything you can do to help and protect it.”