La'Ron Singletary takes over as permanent chief from another Keuka grad, Mark Simmons
KEUKA PARK — One Keuka College graduate will be handing over the baton to another at the Rochester Police Department.
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren on Tuesday announced that La’Ron Singletary has been appointed the city’s next permanent police chief. Singletary, a 2006 Keuka College graduate, will take the reins from fellow Keuka College alum Mark Simmons, who was appointed acting police chief last September.
Both Singletary and Simmons obtained bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Keuka College, with Simmons returning to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice administration.
Keuka College Associate Professor of Criminal Justice & Leadership Rich Martin is a former Rochester officer who worked alongside Singletary. He called him “a great cop.”
“He always sought to treat anyone he interacted with respect and understanding,” Martin said. “He showed great leadership potential early in his career as he was humble but confident, and that is a great combination for a leader.”
In announcing his appointment at a Tuesday morning press conference in Rochester City Hall, Warren lauded the 38-year-old Singletary’s 19 years — half his life — with the Rochester Police Department.
“La’Ron Singletary was born and raised in Rochester and has advanced through the ranks of the Rochester Police Department to distinguish himself among his peers at an international level,” said Warren, who was the college’s 2018 commencement speaker. “I have no doubt he will be an outstanding chief of police. As our most recent crime statistics have demonstrated, community engagement saves lives. LA'Ron expertise in this arena will be critically important as we continue our efforts to strengthen the partnership between the community and the RPD.”
Warren also thanked Simmons, who declined to apply for the permanent position, citing family obligations.
“Mark Simmons is a consummate public servant who sacrificed precious moments away from his growing children to not only maintain, but improve upon the high standards of the Rochester Police Department,” said Warren. “This community owes Chief Simmons a tremendous debt of gratitude for the time he gave me to find the perfect candidate for permanent chief.”
Singletary was emotional — “these are tears of joy,” he said — as he told the press that he was eager to tackle his new duties, which will begin July 1, pending Rochester City Council approval.
“For me, it’s not about the title of police chief,” he said during the press conference. “It’s about being able to add value to the organization and leave the organization stronger than when we first arrived.”
More than 20 candidates responded to a national search to fill the position, with Singletary receiving the unanimous recommendation from the search committee.
That’s just one reason Keuka College’s Martin has no doubt how Singletary will perform.
“One of my favorite leadership quotes,” said Martin, “comes from Gen H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who said, ‘To be a leader in the 21st century, you need to have two things. You need to have competence and you need to have character.’ La’Ron has both and is a great choice to help lead the RPD through very complex times in this country.”