Jeff Trickler was hired as Chief of the Geneva Police Department in 2011 with the requirement that he move to the City of Geneva. He was given money for relocation expenses. He never moved.
On July 1st 2011, six weeks after the shooting of Corey Jackson, Geneva Police Lieutenant Jeff Trickler became the new chief of the Geneva Police Department, succeeding Frank Pane.
In a June 2nd 2011 Finger Lakes Times article announcing the new chief, City Manager Matt Horn spoke about the “rigorous selection process,” and that Trickler’s Civil Service exam score was the highest among the four experienced and qualified candidates for the job.
The article also notes that the City of Geneva requires the Chief of Police reside within city limits. In 2011, Trickler was living on White Springs Road in the town of Geneva, and told the Finger Lakes Times that he and his wife were “in the process of finding a home in the city.”
Today, six years and four months later, Trickler still resides in the Town of Geneva, and fails to fulfill the residency requirement of the job.
Recently, Geneva Believer filed a FOIL request and received documents related to the payment Trickler received in July 2011 for “relocation.”
Relocation Pay Out
On July 15, 2011, Trickler received a payment of $2,500 for expenses related to his pending move from the Town of Geneva to the City of Geneva.
The new police chief was in the process of finding a home in the city, so a stipend for moving expenses would not have been out of the ordinary.
It’s unknown if Trickler returned the $2,500.
Current Geneva Mayor Ron Alcock and four current City Councilors (Steve Valentino, John Greco, Jason Hagerman and Paul D’Amico) were on City Council when Trickler was hired. Was Council informed of the residency requirement for Trickler? If not, why weren’t they informed?
What about the City Manager? Horn was there when Trickler was hired, Horn was there when Trickler was given his relocation money, and Horn knows that the residency requirement isn’t being fulfilled.
Wouldn’t it be Horn’s job to make sure this issue is resolved?
Why hasn’t Horn held the chief accountable?
What’s the Big Deal?
Police-community relations in Geneva have been strained for many years. More recently, a Geneva police officer was discovered to be sharing racist images on social media, and the police complaint process has been in the spotlight again.
For some Geneva residents, the police force is not meaningfully connected to the people it serves. There is no residency requirement for GPD officers, which feeds into perception of the police as “occupying forces” rather than as neighbors and active community members.
The position of police chief does require city residency, because the chief of police is expected to be professionally, personally and financially invested in our city.
The conduct of the police chief sets the standard for the entire department.
And it’s up to City Council and the City Manager to ensure that high standard is met.