Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 30, 2012

After more than 40 years as Falls cop, John Chella steps down

After more than 40 years as Falls cop, John Chella steps down


Niagara Gazette — “It’s just the sensational stuff we’ve faced this year,” he said. “This was probably my toughest year as chief.”

Looking back on his time as the city’s top cop, Chella said he’s pleased that he had support from successive mayors and multiple city councils to maintain police manpower. More than half the force has turned over during his tenure and Chella said he believes the influx of young officers is “good for the department.”

His proudest accomplishment as superintendent was the planning, construction and move from the old police headquarters on Hyde Park Boulevard into a new state-of-the-art facility on Main Street.

“We needed a new building and I’m proud of what I contributed to getting that done,” Chella said. “The men and women who are still going to be here, they deserve this.”

Chella also pioneered the use of intelligence and data-driven policing to the Falls. He was an early adopter of the CrimeStat approach which is now used by police departments across the United States.

“He’s done more for this department than any other chief in my career,” Shamrock said. “I’ve been here 43 years and I’ve never spoken about a chief before. But I am now. He had a vision for this department and he brought it to fruition.”

DeMarco echoed that assessment. The captain said Chella has set the bar for future superintendents “very high.”

“There’s never been a better chief,” DeMarco said. “He’s done so much for this department. he was dedicated to the job more than people realize.”

Still, Chella said there were things he wished he’d done differently. Top of the list, besides the higher crime rate in 2012, was the hiring of troubled Officer Ryan Warme.

The son of a highly decorated police captain, Warme is currently serving an almost 14 year prison term for his guilty plea to federal drug, guns and civil rights sex crimes charges.

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