GPD Update: New Police Chief On The Horizon?

In January 2018, the city of Geneva announced that the search for a new city manager had begun. And the same month, the city also quietly started the search for a new Chief of Police

Announcements for the upcoming civil service exam for the City of Geneva Chief of Police position were posted on the both the Ontario County and City of Geneva websites in early January. The exam took place on March 17, 2018.

It’s important to note that the civil service exam listing on the City of Geneva website clearly states that there is no current vacancy for the job of police chief. 

Current GPD Chief Jeff Trickler

However, considering that Trickler’s pending retirement was openly referenced during the residency requirement discussion by City Council, it’s expected that the chief position will be officially vacant very soon.

The Job Requirements

Both the City of Geneva and Ontario County posted the civil service exam announcements on their websites. Every candidate must complete a civil service exam in order to be considered for the position.

There were actually two City of Geneva Chief of Police civil service exams offered on March 17: one that was open to the public, and one for current Geneva Police officers only.

  • Civil Service Exam – Open to the Public

The public civil service exam‘s residency requirements state that the new chief will not be mandated to live within the city limits (unlike the last chief):

Residency Requirements: Candidates must have been legal residents of Ontario, Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, or Yates County for at least one month immediately preceding the examination date.

However, it’s explained that city residents who apply for the job may be given preference:

In accordance with Section 23-4 (a) of the Civil Service Law, preference in appointment may be given to residents in the jurisdiction where the vacancy exists. When preference in certification is given, an eligible must have been a resident of such municipality for at least one month prior to the date of certification and must be a resident of such municipality at the time of certification and appointment. Applicants must list a home address to be considered for preference in certification.

  • Civil Service Exam – Geneva Police Officers Only

The exam announcement for GPD officers lists the following minimum qualifications for police chief candidates:

Candidates must possess two (2) years of Permanent Competitive status in the position of Police Lieutenant OR Police Sergeant in the City of Geneva Police Department immediately preceding the examination date.

Even though applicants from outside of Geneva could take the test, it’s almost a guarantee that a Geneva Police officer, and not someone from outside the department, will be named the next Chief of Police, and likely soon.

The Potential Candidates

The current Geneva Police Roster (as of May 12 2018) includes two lieutenants and six sergeants.

It is highly likely that more than one of these officers (but not all of them) took the civil service exam for the chief job on March 17th.

The names of the officers who took the exam is unknown at this time.

But one of these officers will almost certainly be named City of Geneva Chief of Police in the near future.

Lieutenant – Matthew Valenti
Lieutenant – Michael Passalacqua
Sergeant – Tyler Turner
Sergeant –  Jeffrey Keyser
Sergeant – Christopher Keear
Sergeant – David Felice
Sergeant – Jack Montesanto
Sergeant – Pat Nolin

The Next Chief’s To-Do List

On April 30 2018, a community policing forum was held at the Ramada on the Lakefront as part of a “Fair and Impartial Policing” training sponsored by the city via the Community Compact. Much of the training focused on the science of “implicit bias,” which “refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.” The forum was led by retired police chief Noble Wray, who provides these types of trainings around the country. The room was filled to near-capacity by community members (including at least five city councilors), as well as Chief Trickler and other members of the Geneva PD.

Community members in attendance asked several questions about Mr. Wray’s professional opinion on a civilian advisory or citizen review board to provide accountability for the GPD. Mr. Wray made it clear that some sort of citizen advisory is considered a best practice, and therefore is recommended, for all police departments. For many in attendance, Mr. Wray’s support for civilian oversight was welcomed, as the community has been asking for such oversight since at least 2011.

It’s imperative that Geneva’s next chief is forward-thinking enough to realize that citizen oversight will have an enormously positive impact on policing in the city.


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