Mayor Thomas M. Leighton has announced the retirement of Wilkes-Barre City Police Department Chief of Police Gerard Dessoye effective September 14, 2014. He served as police chief since January 2004. Dessoye has been appointed executive director of campus safety and security at King’s College. Dessoye previously served for 33 years in several capacities with the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, including as Chief of Police since 2004.
Chief Dessoye began his career with the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department as a patrolman in 1981. In 1986, he was promoted to a detective in the Special Investigations Division and became a member of the Emergency Services Unit, a highly trained tactical team used for elevated risk situations. He was later promoted to Captain of Detectives in 1995 before stepping into his current role as Chief of Police.
As police chief, his responsibilities included overall operations management for the police department in addition to developing strategies for crime prevention and suppression, and patrol tactics. In a remarkable law enforcement career that spanned over three decades, he completed numerous trainings in police executive development, police team management, and attended many seminars concerning gang violence and terrorism. He currently holds the following awards and recognitions:
- International Police Hall of Fame Member
- Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers Association Heroism Award
- Three Combat Cross Medals, Wilkes-Barre Police Department
- Distinguished Service Award Medal, Wilkes-Barre Police Department
- Two Purple Shields, Wilkes-Barre Police Department
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens and visitors of Wilkes-Barre for the past 33 years,” said Chief Dessoye. “I have been fortunate to have worked with the most devoted and professional Mayor and City Administration that I could have ever imagined. It has truly been humbling to come to work and be surrounded by my fellow police officers and support staff. They are all truly heroes and only someone who sees them daily can understand their devotion and bravery.”
“Chief Dessoye had a truly commendable career with the Wilkes-Barre Police Department and serving the community,” said Mayor Thomas M. Leighton. “He has been a tremendous asset to the city having worked with numerous law enforcement agencies over the past 11 years. I wish him nothing but the best with his retirement and any future endeavors.”