April 6, 2011

Commissioning ceremony recognizes 11 police officers

Eleven Cornell University Police (CUP) officers were honored at the Commissioning and Swearing In Ceremony March 30 at the Statler Ballroom. Although most of the promotions and appointments had already been in effect, the event recognized the officers' achievements and new responsibilities.

Thomas Condzella, Brett Cary, Charles Niederhofer, Daniel Bechtold and Andrew Gacek were sworn in as patrol officers; officers Joseph Canzano, Anthony Bellamy and Michael Blenman were promoted to sergeant; Sergeant Jeffery Montesano was promoted to lieutenant; and Lieutenants Robert MacHenry and David Honan were promoted to deputy chiefs.

Presiding over the ceremony was Chief of Police Kathy Zoner; Janet Shortall, assistant dean of students, gave the invocation.

"On a hill in Ithaca, N.Y., is a beautiful community, a community of 20,000 students and 9,000 employees and faculty," said Cornell President David Skorton in addressing the group. "We follow our dreams and try to meet our aspirations against a backdrop of safety and stability, and we owe that in no small part to the Cornell University Police."

Referring to the new deputy chiefs, Zoner said, "This position requires a team player with broad vision and an acute understanding of our campus environment." One deputy chief is in charge of day-to-day road patrol operations and the other of administrative support functions, she said.

MacHenry, who joined Cornell in 1982, was one of the first officers to take on the responsibility of field training officer; he moved to the investigations unit in 1992 and was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and lieutenant in 2002. Honan was first appointed patrol officer in 1995, promoted to sergeant in 1999 and to lieutenant in 2007. He has built longstanding relationships with Cornell's residential programs and houses.

Montesano founded Cornell's first canine explosive detection team with K9 Sabre in July 2001, was promoted to sergeant in 2002 and continued to work with Sabre until the dog was retired in 2008. Montesano now supervises this program and coordinates the Honor Guard.

As sergeants, Canzano, Bellamy and Blenman will now be responsible for positive direction, mentorship and guidance to the patrol officers, Zoner said.

The new officers -- Condzella, Cary, Niederhofer, Bechtold and Gacek -- were chosen from more than 200 applicants, out of whom more than 50 were interviewed. Zoner said these officers meet the department's needs for people who are service oriented, have a problem-solving approach and who will build partnerships in the Cornell community and other law enforcement agencies. All have prior law-enforcement experience.

Family members were invited to pin shields onto the new and promoted officers before the officers took their oaths of service.

CUP is the law enforcement agency for the Cornell community. Officers are commissioned by New York state to enforce and make arrests for violations of federal, state and local laws and are empowered by Cornell to enforce its Campus Code of Conduct.