Rochester Police say that they used a pepper ball deployment Saturday afternoon after residents in the Park Avenue area called in to complain about large house parties and people throwing beer on parked cars.

As officers started dealing with those issues in the area of Dartmouth and Thayer Streets, cans and other debris were thrown at them. Authorities say that large groups of more than 200 people had gathered and were uncooperative and refused to disperse.  

Spectrum News

Rochester Police officials are investigating an incident where an officer fired a shot, but no one was injured. It happened Wednesday evening, after someone called 911 at about 7:30 p.m. to say that three males were walking down State Street, and one of them had a gun.

Police were in the 500 block of State Street when they encountered the three males. One of them was on a bike and another was on foot.

Authorities say during the incident, one man brandished and then threw away a handgun. During the encounter, officials say several officers told the man to drop the handgun.

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."

RPD officers mentoring city school kids

May 7, 2019
Alex Crichton

The Rochester Police Department, Rochester City School District, and Big Brothers Big Sisters announced a new mentorship program on Tuesday.

Mayor Lovely Warren, Police Chief LaRon Singletary, representatives from the child advocacy group and the school district gathered at City Hall to announce "Bigs in Blue," a partnership Warren says will help children improve community relations with the RPD.

“’Bigs In Blue’ matches RPD officers as big brothers and big sisters with city school children who can benefit from the one-on-one interaction with caring adults," Warren said.

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.

James Brown / WXXI News

Dozens of people crowded Rochester City Council chambers on Tuesday night. They spoke for and against the proposed independent police accountability board.

City Council introduced its version of the board back in January. Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo is against that proposal as it stands now, and says that Council should restart the process.

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.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Rochester will need to find a new police chief.  Chief Michael Ciminelli is stepping down to take a different job with the federal government. 

Ciminelli, who has been chief since 2014 has accepted a job with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and will retire September 15th.

He previously worked for the DEA and he says  he is looking forward to returning to the Washington, D.C. area where his three daughters live. 

Mayor Lovely Warren said that Ciminelli has provided strong and steady leadership from the start of her first term.

“Chief Ciminelli served the citizens of Rochester well, from reorganizing our police department from a two-section model to a five-section model, to instituting and launching the largest body-camera program for a city of our size."

Ciminelli says he is pleased with progress made in some areas during his tenure, which he says has been due to a team effort.

“Certainly, we’re looking at now a longer-term decline in violent crime, especially firearm crime and shooting. That needs to continue. I think the reorganization was very near and dear to my heart, and the fact that the mayor wanted to go through this reorganization was one of the main reasons I took the job, which I didn’t originally apply for.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union is out with a new online resource called Behind the Badge, which provides information on the internal policies and data from several police departments around the state including Rochester.

Among the major points the NYCLU made in its review of RPD’s practices, was the fact that the department has used ‘Stingrays,' which the civil liberties group says allows police to spy on cell phones.