rochester police department

The Rochester Police Officer recently convicted of misdemeanor assault has been fired.

The RPD put out a statement Wednesday saying that as a result of the 3rd degree assault conviction of Officer Michael Sippel on May 28, he has been fired effective the date of his conviction.

Officials say because of the public officers law, Sippel can no longer be employed by the police department since his conviction constitutes a crime involving a violation of the oath of office.


Tuesday night was a milestone in a decades-long fight over how police misconduct claims in Rochester should be handled. Rochester City Council passed a new law creating an independent police accountability board. The vote was unanimous. The board would handle police misconduct claims. Council President Loretta Scott called the vote "momentous."


Rochester City Council is considering amendments to the proposed legislation for a Police Accountability Board.

One of the changes to earlier legislation for that oversight board has to do with the makeup of the PAB.

Council’s original proposal barred former law enforcement officers from being on the panel. The amendment would allow up to one member of the board to have a background in law enforcement, as long as three or more years have elapsed since their employment. But anyone who had worked for the RPD would still not be able to be on the board.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren will announce her choice for police chief on Tuesday morning.

But it will not be the man who is now Interim Police Chief, Mark Simmons. He tells WXXI News that after much prayer and deliberation with his family, he has decided that applying for the permanent position would not be in the best interest of his family at this time.

A jury has awarded $1 to a man who accused Rochester police officers of using excessive force during his arrest.

It started six years ago when Benny Warr was involved in an altercation with three officers who were attempting to arrest Warr after they said he was shouting obscenities on Jefferson Avenue.

Cellphone and street camera footage showed Warr being pushed out of his wheelchair by two officers and kicked by another. Police said he was resisting arrest. Later that year, Warr filed suit against the officers, and former police chief James Sheppard.

Members of the Rochester community are weighing in on a proposal for a Police Accountability Board drafted by City Council.

It’s one of two proposals currently on the table as draft legislation. Mayor Lovely Warren has issued her own proposal.

Council members say their proposal has broad support from the community, but the Rochester Police Locust Club says it needs to include feedback from law enforcement.

James Brown WXXI

How should police misconduct be investigated in Rochester? That’s the question facing City Hall in recent weeks.

Rochester City Council believes it has a model that could change the way communities ‘police the police.’

City Council President Loretta Scott, Vice President Adam McFadden, and councilmembers Mitch Gruber and Willie Lightfoot introduced their proposal for an independent Police Accountability board on Monday afternoon.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says the city has formally begun the national search for a permanent Chief of Police.

Interim Chief Mark Simmons has headed the RPD since September following the retirement of former Chief Michael Ciminelli.

Ciminelli, who was chief since 2014 has accepted a job with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington D.C. and retired last September.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board Alliance spoke out Tuesday against Mayor Lovely Warren's recent proposal for an oversight board.

The alliance, which is a community activist group, has been working with City Council the last four months to develop a police accountability board for the Rochester Police Department. 

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has presented legislation to City Council that would establish a new Police Accountability Board.

Warren says that board would have full investigative powers, for the first time in the city’s history.

“The PAB would have unprecedented powers to investigate complaints as well as work toward better policies related to the use of force,” Warren said. “This will improve public safety by improving the public’s trust, creating a fully transparent investigative process that’s fair to both the community and our officers.”