WAPPINGERS FALLS – Republican Kirk Imperati was sworn in as Dutchess County Sheriff on Sunday before a large crowd of family, friends, coworkers, and supporters. His oath of office was administered by his uncle, 44-year Town of Poughkeepsie Justice Paul Sullivan. The judge also administered the oath to Imperati when he graduated from the law enforcement academy 33 years ago.
The King of England appointed the first Dutchess County Sheriff in 1717. It was not until 1822 that the state’s constitution afforded the residents an opportunity to elect their sheriff.
In November of 2022, voters in Dutchess County elected Kirk Imperati, who had served as undersheriff to his mentor, the late Sheriff Butch Anderson. Imperati served as “acting” sheriff since Anderson’s passing in September of 2021. Sheriff’s Captain John Watterson, a 28-year veteran of the department, emceed the event and noted that Imperati and his newly appointed undersheriff, Jason Mark, stepped up after the passing of Anderson to keep the office running. Citing the COVID pandemic, numerous protests, and the death of Anderson, the captain said, “In the middle of all that was going on, these two men stepped up and led the sheriff’s office in the most professional way possible.”
Imperati named Chief Deputy Jason Mark as his undersheriff. The 31-year veteran of the sheriff’s office took his oath of office from County Court Judge Edward McLoughlin on Sunday, with Imperati’s family at his side.
Sheriff Imperati had high praise for his undersheriff. “Aside from my wife Becky, Jason is my rock,” the sheriff said as part of his first public address as sheriff. He went on to praise family, friends, supporters, and his campaign committee before hinting at the upcoming agenda. Imperati noted that the sheriff’s office is preparing to deploy a body-worn camera (BWC) system that includes tasers for members of the department and he, along with Mark and Watterson have been diligently working on the department policy for the equipment.
The sheriff also noted that he will be introducing a “Community Policing” unit in the near future while also preparing to move inmates into the new Justice and Transition Center from the jail by June 1, 2023.