By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — A longtime North Tonawanda police officer will lead the department on an interim basis when its outgoing chief steps down later this month.
Mayor Rob Ortt made the decision to name Capt. William Hall as police chief on March 29, when current Chief Randy Szukala retires on March 29.
Hall has 28 years of experience in North Tonawanda, serving as chief of detectives since 2002, while he also worked at two state universities as a public safety officer prior to his tenure with the city.
Ortt said the decision was based on Hall's leadership and experience. He added that Hall will be considered for the permanent chief position, along with several other officers expected to be taking a state civil service exam on March 23. Hall will remain as the head of the department likely through at least the end of May, as the results of the tests will not be released for months.
"His years of experience on the force speak for themselves," Ortt said of Hall. "He's a guy that is very respected by members of the department."
Hall said Ortt approached him during the last several weeks, as well as several other officers.
"He asked me if I'd be interested in doing it temporarily until the test is given and the results come back," Hall said. "Right now it's going to be more on the administrative side of things."
Szukala announced his intention to retire in February to pursue teaching opportunities, after heading the department for the last nine years.
Ortt said once the finalized results come from the civil service exams he will conduct interviews of candidates for the position and choose a permanent hire.
"We're going to see the results of the exams and look internally," he said."There's no question that Capt. Hall will do a commendable job."Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.