Search for New Ithaca Police Chief Underway

Categories Ithaca

By Josh Brokaw

Before 2017 is over, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick should have a recommendation before Common Council for who to hire as Ithaca’s next police chief.

An unknown number of candidates took the approximately eight-hour civil service examination for Chief of Police on March 18. Four candidates passed the threshold score of 70 that puts a candidate on the “eligible list.” The list was released in June and obtained by TruthSayers about two weeks ago after submitting a Freedom of Information Law request on July 5.

Notably, current acting chief of police Peter Tyler did not pass the test. Tyler told Kelsey O’Connor he’s planning on staying on as deputy chief after a hire is made.

Schelley Michell-Nunn, city director of human resources, said on August 2 via email that the committee tasked with recommending two candidates to Myrick has been put behind by vacations, but hopes to have a recommendation ready in six to eight weeks.

“The process for department head searches is spelled out in the City charter, section C-26,” Nunn wrote. “The search committee is made up of three members of council, three members of the appropriate board (in this case it is the Community Police Board), one person with related professional experience, a representative from the Workforce Diversity Advisory Committee and the Director of Human Resources. The Mayor may also appoint any non-voting members they see fit. The committee is responsible for reviewing applications, interviewing candidates and making a recommendation to the Mayor, they are asked to forward at least two names. The Mayor may then select from the candidates forwarded or ask that the search be reopened.”

TruthSayers sent emails to Ryan, Garin, and Monticello last week asking to speak with them about their background and philosophy of policing. None have responded yet.

Paul Johnson is a quantity as yet unknown to TruthSayers; if anyone has any inkling of Johnson’s background or current job we’d love to reach out and see if he would like to talk about what future he envisions for the IPD.

John Ryan is an administrative captain with the Binghamton Police Department. Ryan interviewed in June for the head job of the Oneonta Police Department, but Oneonta’s current deputy chief was recommended for that job.

Scott Garin is currently a lieutenant in the IPD. He was one of three officers selected to serve in the 2005 “Little Yellow Bug” Commons patrolling program. Garin was also the shift commander who asked Sgt. John Norman to follow three unarmed teenagers on bicycles on August 10, 2014, given suspicions they were arsonists.

Vincent Monticello is the acting deputy chief of IPD at the moment, and has been part of the department since at least 1987. Monticello is also a search and rescue pilot for the Civil Air Patrol, according to his LinkedIn profile.

For the curious, the guide to the written New York State Department of Civil Service exam for police chiefs is available here.


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Josh Brokaw is an independent reporter based in Ithaca, N.Y.

Email josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org with tips, story suggestions, and gentle criticism.

Twitter: @jdbrokaw