Kearny FD promotes 3 to the rank of captain



Piece by piece, the roster of the Kearny Fire Department is getting restored.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 13, it was the captain’s rank where vacancies created by retirements were filled as three firefighters were promoted.

Sworn in to their new ranks were William Crockett, Matthew Mitchell and Kevin Becker. Their appointments take effect Sept. 24, at which time their pay goes to $105,137 a year.

Mayor Alberto Santos said the action being taken was a step along the road to get the Fire Department back to maximum strength as called for by its Table of Organization.

“We’re trying to restore the numbers [of personnel] to where they should be,” Mayor Alberto Santos told the audience of relatives and firefighters. “We’re not quite there.”

Fire Chief Steven Dyl agreed that the department was “trying to rebuild. We have a foundation and we’re filling in the ranks.”

And, he said, it was now more critical than ever before to get an adequate volume of fire superiors aboard to train and monitor the record number of newbies now on board.

“About 60% of our department consists of members with under two years on the job,” Dyl said.

A huge number of retirements of senior members in the last few years have drained the KFD of valuable know-how and experience and they’re being replaced by rookies.

“And next year,” Dyl noted, “we’re going to have 14 more new faces.” That’s when the town anticipates putting on more rank-and-file firefighters to beef up its overall numbers.

Dyl said he expects that by that time, “we’ll reach our overall T.O. of 102.”

The town’s personnel officer, Kim Bennett, is currently working with the KFD to cull through the list of candidates to fill the 14 slots, Dyl said.

“We got 500 applications for those positions,” he added.

Meanwhile, with the three new captains, the chief said, the department will have 25 on line – one short of the maximum allowed for that rank by the T.O.

After they were sworn in, Dyl provided capsule biographies of the men.

William Crockett, born and raised in Kearny, is a product of St. Stephen’s School. He attended Montclair State University. His dad, William, is a retired Kearny police captain. The younger Crockett started his firefighter career in 2005 and, five years later, was acclaimed as Firefighter of the Year for having revived an unconscious person in an out-of-town incident. He is a member of the KFD’s Technical Rescue Team.

Matthew Mitchell is from North Bergen and his dad Al is a retired North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue firefighter. Matthew is a graduate of Dumont High School and put in 12 years with the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserves. He began working for the KFD in 2005 and serves on the department’s Accident Review Board.

Kevin Becker is a Bayonne native who worked previously with PSE&G. His brother Pat is a Kearny police officer. Kevin was hired by the KFD in 2007 and he also serves on the department’s Technical Rescue Team.


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