Fishkill’s top cop takes final walk from police station

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TOWN OF FISHKILL – Fishkill Police Chief James “Jimmy” Schepperly ceremoniously walked out of police headquarters on Wednesday while several members of the department stood at attention.

Schepperly has had a long career in law enforcement.  He began with the State Police on February 20, 1978, and served 32 years with the agency, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Shortly after his 2010 retirement from the state, Schepperly went to work for the Town of Fishkill PD in 2014 and was appointed chief in 2017 by then town supervisor Robert LaColla.

The chief told his ranks that he was proud of their accomplishments. “They have really stepped up into what I consider an elite status as a police department and they have a right to be proud of it and I’m proud of it,” he said.

Schepperly told his officers that he knew his appointment was “at the pleasure of the board.”  When Azem Albra beat LaColla for the supervisor job, Schepperly said he was unsure if he would remain on but decided to see how things played out.

On January 22, the town board met in executive session and decided to give Schepperly an ultimatum; he could either resign two weeks after receiving formal notice from the town or be terminated.  The last possible day on the job is February 5 for Schepperly.  Until a replacement is named, Lt. Keith Dworkin will serve as “officer-in-charge.”

Fishkill Police Sgt. Tony Zebrowski, on left, shakes hands with retiring Chief James Schepperly.

“I’m a little disappointed in the way things happened,” Schepperly told his officers in front of the station.  “Every board has its prerogative and this board wants to go in a different direction.”  The veteran cop also told those gathered that they should hold their heads high because of the work they do.  “You all have a right to be proud!”

Fishkill town board member Ori Brachfeld attended the ceremony and praised Schepperly.  “It was nice to see chief Schepperly get a proper send-off after serving over four decades of a distinguished career in law enforcement. The turnout from our police department as well as other town police departments and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office being represented just goes to show what a quality law enforcement professional Jim Schepperly is.  I wish him well in all his future endeavors.”

Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson weighed in on Schepperly’s retirement, saying “I’ve known Jimmy since the Fodolesmi case and he proved then that he was a smart investigator.”  The case referenced by Sheriff Anderson took place in 1984 and involved the murder of two teenage girls near the Fishkill Creek – Colleen Drummond of Fishkill and Holly Anne Kayson of Glenham.  Both girls were 13 when they were killed.  Gabriel Fodolesmi was charged with the murders.  “I’ve always found Jimmy to be a smart investigator and I wish him well in his future endeavors,” added Anderson.

Asked when his official retirement date would be, Schepperly said that he would prefer to advise the town board first.  “I can tell you that my departure is imminent.”  Schepperly, humbled by the turnout at the ceremony, said that his retirement plans this time will be different.  “I have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way.  My children and their spouses work and my wife already watches a few of the grandchildren.  I’m going to pitch in and help.”  The 42-year

cop added that he and his wife would certainly find time for leisure activities as well.