LIVINGSTON — State police planned to move their northernmost barracks from New Lebanon to Chatham by the end of 2022, but the division will continue to have a presence in New Lebanon, Capt. David Kolb said.
Costly upgrades to infrastructure and technology caused state police in 2018 to look at moving its barracks in New Lebanon on Route 20 before the end of its lease, said Kolb, who oversees the barracks as commander of Zone 1 of Troop K.
In September, the Chatham Town Board approved the transfer of about 3 acres of town property to the state police for a one-story, 5,000-square-foot barracks next to Town Hall, 488 State Route 295. State police approached the town in 2018 to move their barracks from New Lebanon to Chatham at a more centralized location to better cover the northwestern end of the county. The barracks are expected to be completed in 2022.
The barracks will be located about a mile-and-a-half outside the village of Chatham and quarter about 25 to 30 troopers.
“Town and county law enforcement agencies do not have a state mandate to patrol,” Kolb said. “State police are mandated under New York State executive law to provide law enforcement in communities that don’t have it themselves. New Lebanon looks to us as their local police department. Many residents who heard we were leaving were upset, which is understandable. For us to have this agreement with Lebanon Valley Protective Association for a space for our patrols is significant. We’re thrilled.”
Sgt. Paul Strobel approached Kolb with the idea of moving the New Lebanon barracks to an outpost in the New Lebanon fire station. A meeting was held and the deal was finalized with the town and fire department on Dec. 10.
Kolb started his career as a trooper in the early 1990s at the New Lebanon barracks. Now in his 28th year he is just as excited to put on the uniform and go to work as when he began. He took command of the troopers in Columbia County this year from Kathryn Rhode. He previously served as lieutenant.
As zone commander, Kolb oversees all of the troopers in Columbia County and northern Dutchess County. His zone covers 18 towns, four villages and the city of Hudson in Columbia County and six towns and three villages in Dutchess County. He works out of the Livingston barracks, 3353 Route 9.
“I am very proud of this group,” Kolb said of his staff. “We have a great relationship with other law enforcement agencies. We have a very collaborative effort when it comes to investigations.”
The troopers under Kolb work hand-in-hand with the county’s team of investigators, overseen by Senior Investigator Eric Barnes.
In terms of caseload, Columbia County’s sole Bureau of Investigations unit based in Livingston is the busiest in the state, Kolb said. The team investigated more than 700 cases in 2018, and is on track to surpass that in 2019.
“A lot of those cases are generated by the troopers on the road,” Kolb said.
Kolb started his career as a trooper in 1993 working in Troop K Zone 1, and for a short time in Gov. George Pataki’s Protective Service Unit. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2001 serving first in Troop F, and later in Troop K. As a sergeant, Kolb served as station commander of the Rhinebeck and Livingston barracks. He also served at state police headquarters in Albany working in the Internal Affairs Bureau.
Kolb went on to serve as the emergency management coordinator of Troop G beginning in 2005 prior to being promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2014. Kolb was initially assigned to Troop F and the Internal Affairs Bureau before returning to Troop K in 2016.
He was part of the group of state police officers that opened the barracks in Livingston in 2002. Kolb attained the rank of sergeant at the barracks at that time.
“I wanted to be a state trooper sine I was 10 years old,” Kolb said. “That, or pitch for the Yankees. In 1978, when Kinderhook state police barracks was first opened, I remember that summer. I still remember their names of the four troopers who worked there. To see them with their stetsons and their uniforms on patrol in the neighborhood was fascinating. That is what made me want to become a trooper. I was drawn to it.”
Kolb grew up in Niverville and graduated from Ichabod Crane Central School in 1984. After graduating he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed all over the globe including Antarctica and the South Pole.
But Kolb is happy to be serving his hometown once again.
“I wanted to serve in my community,” Kolb said. “When you live where you work you take ownership of it. As much as I have enjoyed my other assignments, this is home for me.”