The Kenosha Fire Department recognized several new promotions, including the department’s second deputy fire chief, as the police and fire departments also saw the end of several long careers.
The commission approved Battalion Chief John Poltrock Tuesday as the new deputy fire chief for the Kenosha Fire Department. Poltrock will succeed Dan Santelli, who was named to the then-new position of deputy fire chief 12 years ago and is retiring at the end of this year.
Poltrock started with the Kenosha Fire Department on May 1, 1984, after serving four years as a submarine sonar technician in the U.S. Navy. He became a lieutenant in 1991 and led Med Unit No. 4 for eight years. He also served as the team coordinator for the Hazardous Materials Response Team.
Poltrock was named assistant fire chief in 2000, a role which was reclassified as battalion chief in 2003. Poltrock served as interim fire chief in 2006 and returned to battalion chief after the hiring of John Thomsen as fire chief.
Thomsen said he selected Poltrock, who was hired the same day as Thomsen, for the position due to his strong experience and range of knowledge.
“John Poltrock has demonstrated his commitment to the citizens and the fire department for 29 years,” Thomsen said. “He has been a significant contributor to the organization dating back to the late 1980s. This is a position of leadership and that we cannot teach, but he has demonstrated his leadership.”
Thomsen said the role of deputy fire chief involves acting as fire chief in the chief’s absence, managing the business side of fire department operations and leading internal investigations.
Also promoted on Tuesday:
— Division Chief Kenneth Schroeder to battalion chief. Schroeder joined the Kenosha Fire Department in 1995 after nine years of active duty in the U.S. Navy. For the last six years he has served as division chief for training and safety. He still serves as a captain in the Navy Reserve.
— Lt. Phil Johnson to division chief. Johnson started with the department in 1987 and was responsible for starting the Randall Fire Department in 1984.
Tuesday’s meeting also recognized several retirements from the fire department and the police department, effective at the end of the year.
In the Kenosha Fire Department, those retiring and their years of service:
— Apparatus Operator Steven Spieker, 30 years.
— Capt. Alan Horgen, 30 years.
— Capt. Jeff Flasch, 33 years.
— House Capt. Kenneth Walton, 32 years.
— Capt. John Kiel, 33 years.
The only retirement from the Kenosha Police Department was Detective Kenneth Kopesky, the fifth longest-serving member in the history of the department. Kopesky will retire on Dec. 30 after 42 years and 10 days of service.
“He worked in many different capacities in the department,” Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey said. “He may be old-school, but his knowledge and the individuals in the community that know him cannot be replaced. He had his own style, but I think his loyalty and commitment was as high as you could get.”
Morrissey said six of the department’s recent hires were graduating from the police academy on Tuesday, and four promotions should be coming forward in January. Four additional officers will be hired in March to fill recent retirements.
Thomsen said the fire department will seek to hire about eight or nine new members early in 2013.