Rochester Police Chief, Deputy Chief and other command staff announce retirements in light of recent riots

Rochester Police Chief, Deputy Chief and other command staff
announce retirements in light of recent riots 1

ROCHESTER, NY- The chief and deputy chief of the Rochester police department have both announced their retirements from the police force.

According to reports, Police Chief La’Ron Singletary was appointed chief back in April 2019 and leaves the department with 22 years of service.

Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito, who has been overseeing the department’s operations bureau leaves the department with 34 years of service. He said:

“It has also been my honor to serve this community through these many years; a community I was born and raised in and deeply love.”

Allegedly, Mayor Lovely Warren has been questioning Singletary’s leadership following the March 30th death of Daniel Prude.

Warren claims that Singletary told her Prude died from a drug overdose and that he did not inform her of the officers’ actions until August.

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In a news release, Singletary said that his actions have been mischaracterized. He said:

“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idle by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Great Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for.”

In his own, separate announcement, Morabito said that he was honored to serve on the police force and that he never regretted that decision. During a scheduled briefing, Mayor Warren announced the news to the Rochester City Council:

“As you all know, this has been very challenging times for the city of Rochester and the chief was not asked to give his resignation because I do believe that he’s given you his very best and with some information that was brought to light today that I had not previously seen before and that the chief has felt that his career and integrity has been challenged.”

She added:

“He has dedicated 20 years to this city and the citizens of Rochester and feels that the events that have happened were not done in a way that, you know, could’ve been handled differently, but he didn’t, in any way, try to cover this up.”

Warren said that it is unclear if the retirements are effective immediately. She said:

“If that retirement is effective immediately, then we will have to find that interim chief and whoever that interim chief would be would step up and lead the department at this time. I do know that is going to be difficult at this time.”

Singletary appeared briefly at a community gathering a few days prior to his retirement announcement where allegedly he was confronted by some protesters who kept calling him, “the enemy.” When he announced his retirement he said:

“Today, after 20 years of dedicated service to the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester community, I announce my retirement from the Rochester Police Department. For the past two decades, I have served this community with honor, pride, and the highest integrity.”

He added:

“The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts and is not what I stand for.”

He said:

“I would like to thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department as well as the Rochester Community for allowing me the honor of serving as your Chief and fulfilling a lifelong dream. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.”

ABC News reported that Singletary’s retirement will be effective September 29th. According to City Council President Loretta Scott, there is no blueprint for how the city moves forward following the retirements of the command staff. She said:

“It was unexpected. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I don’t know if blindside is the right word, but yeah, right. This was supposed to be a briefing to talk about how the police handled the protests.”

In addition to Singletary and Morabito, Commander Fabian Rivera also announced his retirement. Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor each left the command staff to return to their previous ranks of lieutenant. 

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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today about the Seattle Police Chief and her abrupt retirement:

Seattle, Washington – It seems that everyone has their proverbial breaking point or moment of surrender, and one of the most important figures within the Seattle Police Department is said to be resigning.

SPD Chief Carmen Best is said to be ending her career with the SPD after 28 years with the department.

In an email said to have been from Chief Best that was sent to the roughly 1,400 officers with the SPD, she stated the following about her planned resignation:

“This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.”

The infamous Seattle City Council had pushed through a vote to cut the SPD budget for the remainder of the year by about $3 million in a 7-to-1 vote. Unsurprisingly, the only person who voted against the motion was Kshama Sawant – because it didn’t go far enough into cutting the budget:

“It completely fails to defund the police by 50%, as six of the eight council members had promised to support and carries out a major austerity program on behalf of big business.”

However, the Minneapolis Charter Commission had already blocked the controversial 50% defunding option from being present on the November ballots earlier in August.

Yet, this newly passed budget cut by the City Council will see roughly 100 police officers laid off and cuts to the SWAT team, Navigation team, and the Chief’s own salary.

Chief Best has been a strong voice in the opposition against the City Council’s knee-jerk reactions to protests which seemingly on represents a minority of what Seattle really wants done with the SPD.

Not to mention, there’s already been studies that show the SPD couldn’t possibly see the remainder of 2020’s budget be reduced by 50% anyway.

In the email addressed to members of the SPD, Chief Best stated the following:

“I wanted to notify you that I will be retiring from the Seattle Police Department, effective September 2nd, 2020. I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own.”

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Later on in the email, Chief Best also revealed who her successor would be:

“Mayor Durkan has appointed Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz as the interim Chief of Police. Chief Diaz shares my commitment to this department and has the trust of the community.”

Acknowledging her long career within the department, Chief Best reflected on how much she appreciated the time she had with the department and the officers within it:

“After more than 28 years, I am so thankful for the time I spent at SPD. You are my family. You will always be in my heart. We have had tough times before and come out better on the other side. I am glad I pushed through each of those tough times with you.”

Not long after Chief Best sent the email out to those within the SPD, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also emailed members from the SPD confirming Chief Best’s retirement:

“I wanted to follow up on the Chief’s note announcing her retirement from the Seattle Police Department. Know that while I understand the Chief’s reasons, I accepted her decision with a very heavy heart.”

Mayor Durkan noted some of the accomplishments attributed to Chief Best since her appointment in that role in 2018:

“She led the department toward a dramatic reduction in use of force against people in crisis as well as a decreased major crime rate in 2019. In addition, she hired more diverse officers to reflect the community, and in 2019, the department hired its most diverse class in recent memory at 39 percent people of color.”

In Mayor Durkan’s email, she also noted that the ongoing public debate and protests against police officers have been a hardship against those who don the uniform:

“I know that this necessary public debate is personal for you, and that it affects not just your jobs. It impacts your families and the pride you have in serving the public. I also know it seems like the real strides SPD has made in recent years are going unrecognized.”

Still, much like Chief Best stated, Mayor Durkan feels as though the newly announced Deputy Chief, Adrian Diaz, will be able to handle the upcoming hurdles for the SPD.

It’s unclear what this move will translate to in the long run from a public relations perspective, but it’s possible that the City Council may have run off what was perhaps one of the best mediating voices within the community and the SPD overall.

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