HARTWICK – Michael K. Covert, 59, a long-standing community member, dedicated civil servant and honorably discharged veteran who served as an Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputy and Police Chief for the Village of Cooperstown, passed away following a valiant battle with several medical issues Sunday night, March 1, 2020, at his home.
Born May 4, 1960, in Pompton Plains, Pequannock Township, N.J., Mike was the son of Robert Ellis and Ruth Ann (Schilling) Covert. Raised in Oakland, N.J., Mike attended school there, and in the summers he and his family spent time in Hartwick.
In 1977, he moved permanently to Hartwick and graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1978. Following high school, he attended SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology at Cobleskill where he studied landscape management. On Aug. 22, 1980, Mike entered into active duty with the New York Army National Guard and served with Company D, 204th Engineer Battalion. He entered the reserves in 1986, and received his Honorable Discharge July 31, 1995.
Throughout his life, Mike dedicated his life to helping others. This was truly evident in his choice to enter the field of law enforcement, and in 1986 he began his career as a corrections officer at the Otsego County Jail. In 1989 he became an officer with the Cooperstown Police Department (CPD), and then in 2000 became a Sheriff’s Deputy with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), retiring in 2011 as an Investigator.
In 2012 he became the Chief of Police for the Cooperstown Police Department. During his tenure, Chief Covert’s proudest accomplishment was having his department become the first in New York State to partner with the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) to implement new drug addiction recovery initiatives. Modeled after the Gloucester, Mass., ANGEL initiative, this program encouraged residents who wanted to overcome their drug addiction to simply walk into the police station, turn over their drugs and equipment and ask for help without the threat of arrest. Initiated in Cooperstown on Thanksgiving Day 2015, the program has assisted 171 individuals. As Chief of Police he also pushed for local pharmacies to make Nasal Narcan available to residents without a prescription. He retired from CPD in 2019 due to health-related issues.
For many years Mike also served the community of Hartwick as a volunteer firefighter with Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 1 and as an EMT with the Hartwick Emergency Squad.
Mike Ten Eyck, a good friend and fellow retired Otsego County Sheriff’s Investigator, once wrote, “Anyone who has met Michael K. Covert over the years knows that he would do anything for anyone and not expect a thing in return.” Such was a relatively brief but well-lived life of service to others. Mike Covert (OCSO Shield 0004/CPD Badge 207) will be greatly missed by his family and all those whose lives he touched.
Mike is survived by his wife, Deborah, whom he married on June 15, 2018, in Hartwick; his three daughters, Colleen Witter and husband, Jason, of West Winfield, Dana Conte and husband, Nathan, of Hartwick, and Lisa Covert and fiancé, Jason Rashkow of Castelton-on-Hudson; two grandsons, Joseph and John Conte; three granddaughters, Kathryn Conte and Mackenzie and Gwendolyn Witter; one sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Jon Sammis of Petersham, Massachusetts; and his aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, along with several special friends.
He was predeceased by his father, Robert E. Covert, a retired Lieutenant with the Oakland, New Jersey Police Department who died Dec. 11, 2016, and his mother, Ruth Ann Covert who died Dec. 7, 2014.
A celebration of his life will be held later this Spring.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to Hartwick Emergency Squad, PO Box 208, Hartwick, NY 13348 or Susquehanna SPCA, 4841 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.