Eight Questions About The New Undersheriff’s First Week On The Job
WS: Many of us know you, or of you, from either Wellsville high school or by being arrested…. The average reader doesn’t know your background and qualifications. Can you brag a little and outline your career as a lawman?
Cicirello: I started my career in 1994 with the Wellsville Police Department. I was fortunate that early on in my career I worked with guys like Tim Walsh, Jeff and Kevin Monroe, Steve Mattison and of course my father and Bill Nash. I learned more in my first few years working with them than I did with anyone else for the rest of my career. My work at the Wellsville PD really shaped overall approach to law enforcement and how I interacted with people. I worked for Andover PD, Cuba PD and then Alfred PD. Working in Alfred was a unique experience that could be challenging at times. After becoming the Chief in Alfred I found that I really enjoyed working with all the community stakeholders to make Alfred a better place to live and go to school. I really enjoyed Alfred and didn’t really have any plans of going anywhere. I then had a chance conversation with Cattaraugus County Sheriff Dennis John. He told me that Salamanca PD was going to be looking to hire a new police chief and thought that I may be a good fit. I applied and was hired to succeed Ed Gimbrone at the SPD. I spent my time at SPD modernizing the department, from equipment to operating procedures. We were able to implement technology in the areas of incident based reporting/report writing, evidence collection and storage, in-car computers, 911 operations, etc. I really enjoyed my time there and had an excellent relationship with the Seneca Nation. Salamanca also put me through the FBI National Academy which is one of the greatest achievements of my career. I was then given an opportunity to become a NY State Trooper and accepted the position. Upon graduation from the State Police Academy I was assigned to SP Endwell, just outside of Binghamton. I spent just under two years assigned to Broome County before I was transferred back to Troop A, SP Amity. I was a Trooper out of Amity for a short time and then was promoted to Investigator where I spent the rest of my SP career in the BCI. I retired in January of 2020 and became the District Attorney Investigator for Keith Slep. I have been very fortunate to have had such a diverse career and to have worked with some of the best in the law enforcement field.
WS: Describe the first week of being the Undersheriff in as few words as possible:
Cicirello: Enlightening. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to running the jail and the 911 center.
WS: What is the daily routine? Explain what an average day is like doing this work for Allegany County
Cicirello: The day typically starts with a briefing. There is active discussion on any issues facing the Sheriff’s Office including executive orders and legislative mandates that may affect employees or inmates. Any critical issues are immediately addressed. Then depending on the specific day, there are meetings with State, County and municipal stakeholders. Personnel and staffing issues are addressed. Budgetary considerations are reviewed. Any complaints are reviewed. Payroll is reviewed. Every day is different, which I enjoy.
WS: If you had to pinpoint three major responsibilities of the Undersheriff what would they be?
Cicirello: Oversight of Jail, Civil and 911 Operations, review of department policy and procedures and budget strategy, analysis and implementation.
WS: You have been an investigator for much of your career. How does that skillset come into play in this new role?
Cicirello: Being an investigator, you learn that communication and interpersonal skills are essential for success. The position of Undersheriff is really no different. Effective communication and investing in the people of the Sheriff’s Office will be critical for future success. Also, being an investigator you have to be detail oriented and analytical. These skills provide essential insight for matters effecting the Sheriff’s office.
WS: Bail reform has upended the entire law enforcement world in New York State. Will this be the future of criminal justice ?
Cicirello: Bail reform is an abject failure. Crime has skyrocketed across the State and it is directly related to bail reform. Going to jail is no longer a deterrent for a criminal. A victim is less likely to cooperate and prosecute for a crime knowing the suspect will not go to jail. Criminals know that they will not go to jail and will commit crimes over and over and over. A recent suspect in over a dozen vehicle thefts said after he was arrested “just give me my tickets so I can get out of here”. With zero accountability for criminals the quality of life will decrease in our communities for those that are law abiding citizens. The safety of the citizens in Allegany County was not a priority for those behind the Bail Reform Act. At a minimum, the act needs to be modified to allow judicial discretion. However, I feel the entire act needs to be repealed. Law enforcement executives should engage in meaningful dialogue with policy makers to institute bail reform that actually makes sense on a local level and that keeps our citizens safe in our communities.
WS: What is the fate of the Allegany County Jail facility if we continue to stop incarcerating those arrested for serious crimes ?
Cicirello: New York State requires every County to maintain a jail, regardless of inmate population. But without question, bail reform has caused jail populations to decrease across the state. However, crime is at an all-time high. I believe that the correlation is clearly evident. All eyes are on Governor Hochul to see how she plans on addressing the bail reform disaster.
WS: You’ve just had the worst day at work, you finally get in the vehicle and head home for the night. What’s your go-to music on the way home?
Cicirello: Johnny Cash, Cody Jinks and Disturbed. In no particular order.