By DON STINE
ASBURY PARK – Asbury Park Police Chief Mark Kinmon will officially retire from his job beginning Jan. 1, 2014 but he will be using up accumulated sick and vacation time beginning Oct. 1.
“After 26 years in this business it’s time to move on and do something else. I am going to use some accumulated leave time beginning Oct. 1 and I will not be retuning after that date,” he said this week.
Capt. David Kelso will be in charge of police operations while Kinmon is away.
“He will be in charge and familiarizing himself with the duties of the chief. When I leave in October I will feel comfortable that someone is in charge that can handle the load,” he said.
Kinmon was on the police force for 26 years, with about six of those as chief. He previously worked for two years with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
And Kinmon said he feels fortunate to work in Asbury Park over the years.
“The job is always challenging but it’s truly been a pleasure for me to have served in this capacity and work with so many fine people. I feel I have been very fortunate over the years,” he said.
Planning to spend some more time with his wife of 25 years, Karen, Kinmon, who lives in Howell Township, said he is keeping his options open for the future.
“I am thinking about a few employment options but I am not committed to anything right now,” he said.
City Manager Terence Reidy, who reinstituted the police chief position after it was previously held by a public safety director for years, appointed Kinmon.
“It had been a long time since Asbury Park had a chief and I think Mark was one of the best things to ever happen to the police department,” he said.
Reidy said Kinmon worked his way up through the ranks over the years and held many different positions.
“He gets the police department and he understands how it works. He also gets the community and was out there in the streets and knows the city’s various aspects,” he said.
Reidy also said that Kinmon is “a bridge builder” and is responsible for networking with every single level of law enforcement to bring various training programs, resources and personnel into the city.
“And that’s is one of the reasons he has worked through the challenges that any urban center has,” he said. “He is one of the most approachable chiefs I have ever come across and his door is open to everyone.
“He also can deal with the delicate balance of being a leader. On one hand he holds people accountable and, on the other hand, he can be a compassionate listener and that was another bridge he was able to handle. He made training and accountability a major part of the police department,” he said.
“In his own quiet way he has made tremendous strides in the police department and the community and he will be hugely missed,” Reidy said.
Reidy said he also believes Capt. Kelso is a good pick to take charge in Kinmon’s absence.