ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Mayor Lovely Warren named Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, a former lieutenant with the Rochester Police Department as its interim chief Saturday morning. 

Herriott-Sullivan becomes the first woman to lead RPD.

Her appointment is effective Oct. 14, and the mayor has said she will not begin a national search for a permanent chief until June 2021.

“I’ve got a year to do the best I can to help the city and get things on track,” Herriott-Sullivan said.

She left open that she might apply for the permanent appointment. She has been out of law enforcement for a decade, but expects to move quickly to assess the department, and begin naming her command staff in the coming days. She doesn’t see her role as placeholder, instead planning to be active in reforming the department.

She steps into a department facing multiple investigations and outside reviews over the in-custody asphyxiation death of Daniel Prude. The entire RPD command staff resigned their positions earlier this month, and Warren ultimately dismissed former Chief La’Ron Singletary on Sept. 14.

Daniel Prude: New York to empanel grand jury to investigate his death

The mayor took no questions at that time but promised to come back before the community to do so.  She hasn’t yet, and on Saturday the mayor declined to take any off-topic questions not pertaining to her announcement.

Herriott-Sullivan currently serves as interim deputy executive director at the Rochester Housing Authority, and deputy executive director of Rise Up Rochester, a nonprofit that provides support to the families of victims of violent crime.

“Ironically, I left law enforcement because I wanted to have a bigger hand in keeping people out of jail…”, Herriott-Sullivan said in her remarks during the announcement at City Hall.

Warren has previously said that the interim chief would serve until June of 2021, while the city conducts a national search for a replacement for former chief Le’Ron Singletary.

Singletary was dismissed by the mayor last week after he and other senior leadership resigned or demoted en masse following weeks of protests over the death of Daniel Prude in March. 

Daniel Prude: Emails show Rochester officials’ attempts to conceal information about death

A resume for Herriott-Sullivan in her Justice Speaker’s Institute profile says that she was with the RPD between 1985 and 2009; her last role as Executive Lieutenant, Critical Incident Response and Federal Grant Program Manager.

She then spent two years as the Deputy Director of the National Drug Court Institute in Virginia, in addition to other management consulting roles.

From 2014 she was CEO with Rise Up Rochester overseeing programs, financial management, community relations and board administration.

Herriott-Sullivan has an master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Keuka College and a Bachelor of Science from Roberts Wesleyan.

The mayor also made two additional appointments to the RPD command staff.

RPD Capt. Gabriel Person, who joined the force in 2005, has been appointed to the position of Deputy Chief of Operations. And Officer Moses Robinson, a crime prevention officer well-known in the community, has been promoted to a role in the command structure Warren said, focused on community engagement and violence reduction.  

Follow Matthew Leonard on Twitter: @mleonardmedia.

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