By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — A who's who of Niagara County law enforcement leaders, a large segment of city cops and a healthy contingent from the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing all packed council chambers at City Hall Friday to watch the swearing-in of new Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto.
The 15 year veteran of the force replaces John Chella. DalPorto had already assumed command of the department on Monday.
"We wouldn't have asked you to take on this job if you weren't the right man for the job," Mayor Paul Dyster said. "And you are the right man for this job."
The mayor promised DalPorto he, the city administrator and the city council would "try to provide your men and women with every conceivable resource to do their jobs and bring them home safely."
City Administrator Donna Owens told DalPorto, "Your time has come to lead this organization."
Looking directly at DalPorto's mother, wife and children, Owens said, "Thank you for sharing Brian with us."
DalPorto called his family up to the front of the council chambers to stand with him as he officially became the superintendent. He said his family should share in the moment.
"My mom, she carried a lot of trays (as a waitress) so I could go to college," he said. "And none of this would have been possible without the support of my wife and my kids."
To the crowd that was gathered to watch, DalPorto said, "I wouldn't honestly be standing here today if it weren't for everyone of you along the way. I am proud to serve the citizens of Niagara Falls and I promise I won't let you down."
Dyster said the path for DalPorto to become the city's top cop was actually laid almost a year ago, when Chella first announced his intention to retire. When a dispute with the state retirement system kept Chella on the job for 2012, Dyster said DalPorto had a chance for an on-the-job audition.
"I would say there are several senior officers (on the force), any one of whom would have made a good chief," the mayor said. "But over the last year, the field narrowed itself. Bryan was the clear choice."
The mayor also pointed to DalPorto's experience as a commander with the 107th Airlift Wing and his reputation with the Falls Police Department as factors that weighed heavily in is choice.
"The respect that Bryan had from his superior officers, his peers and the rank-and-file officers was very important," Dyster said.
DalPorto called his appointment "an honor" and "humbling."
"I'm settling into the job and I'm starting to make the directional changes that need to be made," he said. "Every time I make a (move) I get more comfortable with (being in command)."
Facing potential budget constraints on his department in the coming year, DalPorto also said he's prepared to make "tough decisions."
"I've made tough decisions before and when you affix the brass on your shoulders, that's what you agree to do," he said.