Rochester Police Department
|Rochester Police Department|
Patch of the Rochester Police Department
|Motto||Serving With Pride|
|Formed||December 28, 1819|
|Preceding agency||Metropolitan Police|
|Annual budget||US$ 76.201 Million (2011–2012):9-2|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||City of Rochester in the state of New York, USA|
|Map of Rochester Police Department's jurisdiction.|
|Size||37 square miles (96 km2)|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction.|
|Primary governing body||Mayor of Rochester, New York|
|Secondary governing body||Rochester City Council|
|Headquarters||185 Exchange Boulevard, Rochester|
|Police Officers||726 (2011–2012):9-4|
|Unsworn members||143.5 (2011–2012):9-4|
|Agency executive||Michael L. Ciminelli, Chief of Department|
|Units||Patrol Division East
Patrol Division West
Special Operations Division
Patrol Division East
Patrol Division West
Animal Control Center
Special Operations Division
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The Rochester Police Department, also known as the RPD, is the principal law enforcement agency of the city of Rochester, New York, reporting to the city mayor. It currently has approximately 869 officers and support staff, a budget of approximately $75 million, and covers an area of 37 square miles (96 km2). The Rochester Police Department has been under a court-ordered federal consent decree from the United States Department of Justice since 1975 over its hiring practices. The decree was part of a 1975 settlement involving racial discrimination.
- 1 History
- 2 Alleged misconduct
- 2.1 Civilian review board
- 2.2 Police shootings
- 2.3 Controversial practices
- 2.3.1 Racial profiling
- 2.3.2 Mass surveillance
- 2.3.3 Obstructing video recording of police
- 2.3.4 Crowd control tactics
- 3 Organization
- 4 Ranks
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Equipment
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Rochester hired a constable and formed a nightwatch, which first went active on December 28, 1819. Addy Van Slyck was hired as the first police chief in 1853. The police department was reorganized into the Metropolitan Police in 1865.
RPD was the first department in New York State to adopt a police telegraph system in 1886.:64
In 1893, the department established a bicycle division consisting of two officers who apprehended a daily average of 25 "scorchers" (speeders).:54 The department fielded a mounted division in 1895—officers were expected to supply their own horses.:66
In 1905, the department added a traffic bureau consisting of officers stationed at busy Main Street intersections (East Avenue, St. Paul Street, State Street, and Fitzhugh Street).:68 The chief traffic offenders of the time were haywagons. The city installed traffic lights in 1922.
The department's first policewoman, Nellie L. McElroy, was also the first to be appointed under civil service rules in New York State.:62 The department's first African-American officer, Charles Price, was hired in 1947.
Since the establishment of the Rochester Police Department, 14 officers have died in the line of duty.
Police chief goes to jail
In October 1990, while serving as Chief of Police Gordan Urlacher was arrested in Mayor Thomas Ryan's office on charges of conspiracy and embezzlement. He was dismissed as chief two months later. On February 25, 1992, former Rochester Police Chief Gordon Urlacher was convicted of three counts of embezzlement and one count of conspiracy for stealing police funds between 1988 and 1990 when he was Chief of the Police. On March 5, 1992 the former Chief was sentenced to four years in Federal prison for embezzling more than $200,000 in Police Department funds. Urlacher was also ordered by a Federal judge to repay $150,000 to the city and to spend 12 years on supervised probation.
Civil rights trial
The federal investigation into Chief Urlacher's theft of $300,000 of public funds led to a deeper probing of the entire police department which resulted in charges being brought against 5 additional police officers. The five officers, all members of the vice squad, were accused of beating and terrorizing drugs suspects and skimming drug profits. The 19 counts of police brutality included accusations of the use of unauthorized weapons to beat or threaten suspects, including blackjacks, a cattle prod and lead-filled leather gloves. On December 7, 1992 former Chief, Urlarcher pleaded guilty to the felony conspiracy to violate civil rights admitting that he knew about the civil rights abuses but did nothing about them. During a high profile 10 week trial 12 officers testified against their 5 colleagues. In the end, the five officers were found not guilty on all charges.
|Addy W. Van Slyck||1853||Alexander McLean||1873–1885||Thomas F. Hastings||1974–1981|
|George I. Marsh||1854||Joseph P. Cleary||May 28, 1885 – March 1, 1905||Delmar E. Leach||1981–1985|
|Samuel N. Sherman||1855||John C. Hayden||March 1, 1905 – December 31, 1908||Gordon F. Urlacher||1985 – October 18, 1991|
|Elisha J. Keeney||1856||Joseph M. Quigley||January 1, 1909 – September 13, 1927||Roy A. Irving||1991–1993|
|W.D. Oviatt||1857||Andrew J. Kavanaugh||October 16, 1927 – 1934||Thomas L. Conroy||January 3, 1994 – May 31, 1994 (interim)|
|Seth Simmons||1858||Henry T. Copenhagen||1934–1949||Robert S. Warshaw||June 1, 1994 – March, 1998|
|Elisha J. Keeney||1859||T. Herbert Killip||1950–1953||Robert J. Duffy||March 23, 1998 – March 31, 2005|
|Matthew G. Warner||1860||William A. Winfield||1954–1962||Cedric L. Alexander||April 1, 2005 – December 31, 2005 (interim)|
|William Charles||1861||William F. Lombard||1963–1970||Timothy C. Hickey||January 1, 2006 – April 9, 2006 (interim)|
|William Mudgett||1862–1863||John A. Mastrella||1970–1972||David T. Moore||April 10, 2006 – November 10, 2010|
|Robert R. Harris||1864||James J. Cavoti||November 1972 – November 1973||James M. Sheppard||November 11, 2010 – December 9, 2010 (acting)
December 10, 2010 – December 20, 2013
|Samuel M. Sherman||1865–1873||Joseph E. Battaglia||1973–1974||Michael L. Ciminelli||December 21, 2013 – March 6, 2014 (Interim)
March 7, 2014 – Present
|Officer Name||Officer Rank||End of Watch||Cause of Death|
|Louis Gomenginger||Patrolman||July 3, 1876||Gunfire|
|William P. O'Neil||Patrolman||December 31, 1888||Gunfire|
|Charles E. Twitchell||Patrolman||August 10, 1910||Gunfire|
|Frank Ford||Patrolman||May 29, 1912||Gunfire|
|James Upton||Patrolman||March 19, 1919||Gunfire|
|William O'Brien||Patrolman||May 2, 1919||Gunfire|
|John Mallet||Patrolman||June 22, 1931||Struck by Vehicle|
|Victor Woodhead||Detective||November 17, 1932||Gunfire|
|James T. Volz||Patrolman||September 15, 1942||Struck by Vehicle|
|Harold V. Shaw||Patrolman||December 11, 1959||Gunfire|
|Leo L. Kerber||Patrolman||December 10, 1961||Struck by Vehicle|
|John J. Jenkins||Police Officer||January 3, 1979||Automobile Accident|
|Ronald J. Siver||Police Officer||August 19, 1984||Drowned|
|Thomas William "Tom" Clark||Police Officer||January 17, 2006||Heart Attack|
|Daryl R. Pierson||Police Officer||September 3, 2014||Gunfire|
Civilian review board
In 1992 the City of Rochester created a civilian review board to review internal police investigations when a civilian alleges that a police officer used excessive force or committed a crime. The police chief makes the final decisions on all complaints. 
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|Shooting victim||Victim's age||Shooting date||Officer(s) involved||Outcome for victim||Outcome for officer|
|Juliano Anthony Plaza ||23||December 15, 2014||Cynthia Muratore||In guarded condition||Unknown|
|Thomas Johnson 3rd ||38||September 3, 2014||Darryl Pierson, Michael DiPaola||Convicted for the murder of Officer Darryl Pierson||Pierson was killed by Johnson; DiPaola was justified|
|Ralph Strong "Irak"||24||July 27, 2013||Lt. Zenelovic, Charles Gorman, Officers Matt Balch, and Daniel Rizzo||Shot Multiple Times Survived||Praised By Mayor Richardson and Police Chief Shepard for Officers Conduct|
|Israel "Izzy" Andino ||20||June 21, 2012||Sgt. Aaron Colletti, Sgt. Mike Nicholls, Antonio Gonzalez, Brian Cala, Greg Karnes, Onasis Socol, and Eluid Rodriguez||Death||Deemed justified by Grand Jury|
|Hayden Blackman ||43||October 13, 2011||Randy Book||Death||Deemed justified by Grand Jury|
|Miguel Cruz||21||March 1, 2010||Daniel Santiago||Survived||Deemed justified by Grand Jury|
|Jose Luis Casado||19||2008||Ryan Hickey||Shot in leg; Sentenced to life in prison for firing at police||Praised by Police Chief David Moore for his conduct|
|Patricia Thompson ||54||March 2, 2006||Jeff Lafave||Death||Deemed justified by Grand Jury|
|LaShedica Mason||13||July 10, 2005||Mark Simmons||Survived; gall bladder and several feet of her intestines had to be removed||Promoted to Sergeant and Special Assistant to Chief James Sheppard|
|Willie Carter||46||August 15, 2002||n/a||Death||Deemed justified by Grand Jury|
|Craig Heard||14||June 10, 2002||Serge Savitcheff and Hector Padgham||Padgham goes to Greece (NY) Police; Savitcheff goes to Fairport (NY) police|
|Vandre "Vandy" Davis||21||2001||David Gebhardt||Death||Promoted to Lieutenant|
|Calvin Greene||30||1988||Gary E. Smith||Death||Suspended without pay|
|James Geil||24||October 12, 1985||Allen J. Luccitti||Survived||Pleaded guilty to Department use of firearms and was suspended for 31 days|
|Louis Davila||17||September 30, 1985||Carlos Perez||Death||Unknown|
|Kenneth Jackson||25||November 16, 1984||Ceferino Gonzalez||Death||Unknown|
|Alecia McCuller ||21||Nov. 13, 1983||Thomas Whitmore||Death||Unknown|
|Denise Hawkins||18||November 11, 1975||Michael Leach||Death||Promoted to Captain|
|Ronald Frazier ||19||1975||James Soles||Death||Unknown|
|Unidentified "negro motorist" ||n/a||July 25, 1967||n/a||Death||Unknown|
The Rochester Police Department (RPD) has been accused of racial profiling of black and Latino residents in individual instances and as a systematic practice. These accusations are denied by officials of the Rochester Police Department. As official policy Police Chief James Sheppard says the department engages in what he calls "criminal profiling" and "proactive policing."
Rochester police were accused of racially profiling a young black driver, Jeramie Barideaux, as he was pulled over, searched, and arrested in what appeared to a false traffic stop caught on city traffic enforcement cameras. All charges were dismissed against Barideaux, but only after he spent four months in jail. In July 2012 Barideaux filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officers Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch for what he called a false traffic stop, search, and arrest.
Operation Cool Down
In July 2012, the RPD announced Operation Cool Down with the stated purpose to crack down on violence in community. The initiative includes increased police presence in minority neighborhoods with a strategy to target minor offenses.
If you’re riding a bike and it doesn’t have a bell, we’re going to stop you. If it doesn’t have lights, we’re going to stop you. Tail light’s out – we’re going to stop you. If you’re on a corner and we think you’re engaged in criminal activity, we’re going to stop you. — Police Chief James Sheppard 
A May 2012 national study that examined density of traffic cameras, red light cameras, and police surveillance cameras and authorized wiretaps found Rochester, NY to be the fifth most surveilled city in the country. Rochester, NY was found only to be behind Washington, D.C., Houston, Denver, and Cheyenne. The NYCLU among other community groups have questioned the effectiveness of the mass surveillance tactics and whether they invade the privacy of everyday law-abiding civilians. According to Rochester Police, there are more than 100 surveillance cameras and 25 red light cameras throughout the city as of May 2012.
Obstructing video recording of police
On numerous occasions civilians have accused Rochester police of intimidating and/or arresting them for legally videotaping police officers in public. Most notable instance was the Emily Good incident.
Emily Good incident
In May 2011, Emily Good was arrested in her front lawn for videotaping a suspicious traffic stop in front of her house. After the video of the police interaction and arrest was posted on YouTube, it immediately went viral and attain sustained local, national, and international media coverage. Good was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration but after the video was released the Monroe County District Attorney withdrew the charge.
Crowd control tactics
Riot gear at Puerto Rican Festival
Starting in at least 2004, Rochester Police have come under criticism by their now common practice showing up in riot gear after the Puerto Rican festival. In 2007, festival organizer Ida Perez called the police response "overkill." While many festival goers say honking, dancing, and street partying is all in good fun, police say riot gear is necessary to clear out the neighborhood.
2009 peace march
On October 7, 2009, the eighth anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan war, the Rochester police broke up a peace march protesting the Afghanistan war organized by Rochester Students for a Democratic Society with a massive police response which included at least 40 police. In the end twelve people were arrested, two were hospitalized for their injuries sustained from police. The severe police response drew massive public outcry. Executive Deputy Police Chief Markert admitted the police could have acted differently to ensure everyone's safety.
20/20 hindsight, would I have loved to say, OK, hold on folks, where are you going, and let me facilitate you getting there in a safe manner, that's me the next day. I don't know why that didn't happen. -Executive Deputy Police Chief George Markert, at a Special Session of City Council 
Although Rochester police promised a full report on incident, no report was ever released and it remains unclear if any changes were made in result of the public response or the internal investigation.
2012 anti-capitalist march
On July 22, 2012 Rochester police broke up a peaceful anti-capitalist march on East Avenue with pepper spray and 18 arrests. Police were criticized for the large use of pepper spray, not giving dispersal orders, and police brutality. Police claim protesters were blocking the street and refused to move, but videos from the march indicate that many protesters were arrested while walking on the sidewalk.
The department is organized into two bureaus: Operations and Administration.
The Operations Bureau consists of three divisions:
- Patrol Division East
- Patrol Division West
- Special Operations Division
The Patrol Divisions primarily conduct foot, bicycle, and vehicle patrols and respond to emergency calls, apprehending suspects and conducting preliminary and follow-up investigation of offenses. They also work closely with Police and Citizens Together Against Crime Program (PAC-TAC) participants and Police-Citizen Interaction Committees (PCIC) and participate in the City's four Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD) teams. The East division handles police services east of the Genesee River with the exception of the City's Inner Loop. Police services west of the River and within the Inner Loop are provided by the West division.
The Special Operations Division is considerably more specialized, consisting of:
- City Security
- Bomb Squad
- Emergency Task Force (ETF) known in other departments as SWAT, which is responsible for incidents such as hostage rescue, barricaded gunman, high-risk warrant service, VIP protection and any other mission assigned by the Chief of Police.
- Emotionally Disturbed Person Response Team (EDPRT) is a 50 Member Team: A group of employees specially trained, on a voluntary basis, to deal with emotionally disturbed individuals in a variety of situations in the Rochester community. These situations may include suicidal persons, persons exhibiting irrational behavior, handling psychiatric patients, the homeless, various mental health concerns and/or referrals, and any other situations that deal specifically with the needs of the mental health community and emotionally disturbed persons.
- Hostage Negotiation Team
- Mobile Field Force which provides crowd control
- Mounted Section, which provides equestrian patrols downtown
- SCUBA Squad for drowning and underwater evidence recovery in or on City waterways
- Special Investigation Section (SIS) for combatting drug trafficking, illegal firearms, and organized crime
- Tactical Unit which provides special crime-fighting equipment and targets violent crime patterns. The Tactical Unit focuses specifically on shootings, robberies, and other violent street crimes. The Tactical Unit is often called upon by the Major Crimes Unit to assist in tracking down and apprehending homicide suspects as well as SIS to assist in street level narcotics enforcement.
- Traffic Enforcement Section which provides traffic direction and cites motorists who violate traffic laws, including DWI
- Youth Services Section
The Administration Bureau comprises:
- Animal Services
- Family and Victim Services Section
- Personnel Section
- Police Background and Recruitment Unit
- Professional Development Section
- Technical Services Section
As of February 2010, 77% (602) of the police force were white, 11% (83) black, 10% (78) Latino, and 2% (12) Asian. 88% (691) were men while 12% (90) were women. 87% (680) of the officers were non-residents, while 13% (101) were residents of the city of Rochester.
|Race||RPD %||City %|
The Department's headquarters are in the Public Safety Building at 185 Exchange Boulevard. The Patrol Divisions are located at 630 North Clinton Avenue and 1099 Jay Street. The Animal Control Center is at 184 Verona Street. The Special Operations Division is at 261 Child Street.
||This documentation needs attention from an expert in Law Enforcement. (January 2011)|
More recently, RPD officers have been slowly being assigned Glock 21 Gen-4 handguns, as the department has been moving away from the Beretta Px4 STORM .45 ACP as its standard issue sidearm. The Glock handguns have shown to demonstrate a higher reliability in the field, thus prompting the switch after trials with teams within the department.
Currently,[when?] all patrol officers carry the Glock 21-Gen4, and those in administrative positions can choose between the Glock 21 Gen-4 or the Glock 30-SF.
Uniforms and insignia
- Rochester 1964 race riot
- List of law enforcement agencies in New York
- Monroe County Sheriff's Office (New York)
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