By Staff –
The Rochester Police Department (RPD) will have a new leader effective September 16 as the current chief resigns.
Mayor Lovely Warren tapped Deputy Chief Mark Simmons—a Rochester native who went to city schools and came up through the RPD ranks—to lead the department as Interim Police Chief.
Current Police Chief Michael Ciminelli has accepted a position with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and will resign Sept. 15.
Simmons will serve in this role during a national search for a permanent chief; but Mayor Warren says she has strongly encouraged him to apply for the permanent Chief of Police position.
“Mark Simmons was born and raised in Rochester and is a respected member of the Rochester Police Department Command Staff,” said Mayor Warren. “I have great faith in Mark Simmons, and I know he will work to protect and serve the citizens of Rochester and ensure the safety of the Rochester police officers.”
Simmons is currently Deputy Chief of RPD’s Administration Bureau and oversees a number of critical functions, including policy development; budget; training; personnel management; labor relations; fleet management; grant management; emergency planning; and police-facility management.
He has been a member of RPD since 2002 and has served as Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Section and in various assignments, including the Organized Violence Reduction Team; the Tactical Unit; and as Chief of Staff to the Chief of Police.
Simmons, 38, also served as Coordinator of RPD’s Reorganization Project and is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
“It will be my great honor and privilege to serve in Mayor Warren’s administration as Interim Chief of Police,” he said. “The opportunity to lead the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, while also serving the citizens of my hometown is a dream come true.”
Simmons is a graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Keuka College. He is married with four children. His father, Bishop Amos Simmons, is the bishop of Upper Floor Room Family Worship Center on Joseph Avenue.
Mayor Warren says she wished Chief Ciminelli well in his new role with the DEA.
“Mike Ciminelli has provided strong and steady leadership at the RPD from the start of my first term in 2014,” said Mayor Warren. “Body worn cameras; the return to a community-based policing model; new patrol sections; new section offices; greater police accountability; and a second-to-none level of professionalism will all be accomplishments that define his successful legacy as Chief of the Rochester Police Department.”
Chief Ciminelli had previously worked for the DEA and says he is looking forward to returning to the Washington D.C. area where his three daughters live.
“It has been my great honor to serve the citizens of Rochester, Mayor Warren and my fellow officers at RPD,” he said. “I have been grateful for the opportunity serve locally in law enforcement and now look forward to the opportunity to once again serve at the federal level.”
Ciminelli was appointed Police Chief by Mayor Warren in March of 2014 and had been Interim Chief since the start of the Mayor’s term in January of that year.
Previous to his appointment as Interim Chief, he served as Deputy Chief of Police for the RPD and held assignments that include Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Division, Commander of Patrol Division West, Sergeant, Homicide Investigator and Patrol Officer.