Oct. 06, 2010

College welcomes new police chief

Chief Simonetti

Geneseo's new police chief, Sal Simonetti, brings more than 20 years of experience and a focus on community policing to the college. /PHOTO BY BRIAN BENNETT

Second photo: Sal Simonetti being sworn in on Oct. 1 /PHOTO BY SARAH KOSLOSKI


Geneseo's new chief of police, Sal Simonetti, grew up helping his parents in the family's deli in Webster, N.Y.

"That is where I got most of my customer-service indoctrination," says Simonetti. "My father was a stickler for good service."

As an adult, Simonetti took over the business — and loved it — but ultimately gave it up to explore the career he had dreamed about as a kid.

"It was in my heart from a very young age. I wanted to be a police officer," he says. "If I didn't pursue it, I would regret it."

Simonetti was officially sworn in as the college's police chief last Friday, Oct. 1. He has been on the job since July.

"What has stood out most to me is the strong sense of commitment and caring that is permeated throughout this campus and well into the Geneseo community and greater Livingston County area," said Simonetti. "I am truly honored to be a part of what takes place here every day.

Simonetti leads all facets of the department, which includes 15 sworn officers and support staff. His diverse skills will lend themselves to his new position.

He joined the Rochester police department as a patrolman on the midnight shift. It was rewarding but hectic. After a year, he moved to the Webster, N.Y., force so he could spend more time with residents on calls and focus on prevention and community policing.

During his 20 years on the Webster force, he was promoted from patrolman to sergeant and then lieutenant/bureau commander, in charge of investigations, training, community services and other administrative duties.

"I made enormous changes," says Simonetti. "I'm driven by efficiencies. I'm always looking for a better way."

Simonetti also cross-trained as bureau commander for the operations side of the force so he was experienced in all aspects of leading a police department.

Simonetti is a graduate of Monroe Community College, the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and is a member of the board of FBI National Academy Associates for New York State and eastern Canada. Simonetti has served as an accreditation assessor for the state Department of Criminal Justice Services in over 20 on-site assessments and co-wrote the town of Webster's emergency response plan. He initiated the Webster police force's accreditation.

During his Webster tenure, Simonetti also earned a master's degree in public administration at SUNY Brockport. Leading a department on a college campus, where continual learning is encouraged, was a big draw in coming to Geneseo, he says.

Simonetti was chosen to lead Geneseo's force after a national search.

"Geneseo is fortunate to have an administrator of Sal's caliber joining our college community," says Robert A. Bonfiglio, vice president for student and campus life. "We are impressed with his local and regional law enforcement leadership and especially his commitment to community policing. We look forward to the contributions he will make in maintaining a safe campus for our students, staff, faculty and visitors."

Simonetti replaces former Chief James Stenger, who retired last summer. Scott Kenney' 82, assistant chief, served as interim chief and has resumed his assistant chief duties.