Ulster cop heir apparent in Saugerties

Photo by David Gordon

Joe Sinagra isn’t taking anything for granted. But unless Saugerties chooses to succeed Police Chief Lou Barbaria with someone from inside the department of a lower rank, he’ll be the next police chief.

His new job, deputy chief of the Saugerties Police Department, was created just for him and probably won’t be filled if he’s promoted.

Sinagra is leaving a job that pays $80,389 a year for one that pays $75,000. But he’s also leaving a department that recently picked a new chief (Matt Taggard in late 2010) for a department where he’s the surefire successor.


“It’s $5,000, and I look at it as what I am going to achieve in the future,” said Sinagra. “I’m looking at career advancement. I realize that our economy is such that we can’t be demanding. For me, the benefit of going there outweighed $5,000.”

Sinagra also noted that his salary increased over 22 years with the Ulster Police Department. With many people out of work or earning low wages in Ulster County, “we (public service workers) can’t afford to be greedy.”


What he’ll do in Saugerties

One of the goals Police Chief Louis Barbaria has set for the Saugerties Police Department is accreditation, a status that indicates the department is meeting high standards.

“Accreditation brings peace of mind to the citizens,” said Sinagra. “It means the police department has reached a level of professionalism.”

While Sinagra is qualified as an accreditation assessor, he is not allowed to rate his own department. But his familiarity with the procedure and its 134 standards should help Saugerties with the process. The standards include “everything from pursuit driving to the maintaining of evidence, fiduciary responsibilities of the police agency, all the way to how officers are conducting investigations, and standardization of paperwork.”

In 2007 Sinagra wrote a grant to develop a system of bar coding evidence and evidence storage designed to ensure that evidence is easy to find, protected from loss and disposed of promptly once it is no longer needed. The Saugerties Police are in the process of clearing evidence that is no longer needed, and deputy supervisor Fred Costello has said he would like to see that type of system in Saugerties.

The Ulster Police Department is slightly larger than the Saugerties department, with five sergeants, 24 patrol officers, eight dispatchers and six detectives. The Saugerties force consists of 22 full-time officers including three sergeants and the chief; seven part-timers; and four fill-time and seven part-time dispatchers.

“I look forward to meeting the people of Saugerties, and I want to assure them that I’m there to listen to them and to the police officer(s),” Sinagra said. “I will continue to move the department in the professional direction that Chief Barbaria has. I’ll assist Chief Barbaria in moving it in that direction.”