October 21, 2021

Family, co-workers, faith

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland Police Department Lt. Richard Troyer chats Wednesday in his office. Troyer is scheduled to retire from the department Jan. 30.

Three things have gotten Cortland City Police Lt. Rick Troyer through almost four decades on the job: his wife, his co-workers and his faith in God. So when he packs up his office to leave Jan. 30 to retire, he’ll thank those who’ve helped him along the way.

“I always worked with good people that basically at times carried me through,” Troyer said. “There was always somebody to turn to when I didn’t know the answer, somebody there to help.”

His wife never complained about the late nights, getting called in at times and sometimes even missing holidays, Troyer said. “She accepted that and without her support I never would’ve made it,” he said.

His faith was a big help, as well, Troyer said, noting he wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Troyer has seen many changes over the decades: cellphones, computers, new tools and training. Everything was either typed or written longhand.

“You had a gun and handcuffs and that’s it, now you got pepper spray, a night stick, a Taser,” he said. “I can’t even comprehend the changes that have taken place, it’s incredible.”

Troyer started at the department in September 1979 as a patrol officer. It’s a position he truly loved.

“Best time I had down here was in uniform, just walking the beat,” he said. “I thought that was great, I have no idea why.”

Strangeway succeeds Troyer at city PD

Detective Sgt. Michael Strangeway will take over Detective Lt. Ric Troyer’s position at the end of January.

Strangeway has been with the department since joining as a patrol officer in 1994. He was promoted to sergeant in 2001 and became a detective sergeant in 2009, working in the narcotics division and with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“It was a difficult decision to make that promotion because we had highly qualified people pass the test,” Chief F. Michael Catalano said. “He’s done everything right he’s had to do. I think he’s also a leader, too, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he leads the detective bureau when he takes over.”

“He’s very capable,” Troyer said. “He’ll do a very good job. I’m sure he’ll do a better job than I’ve ever dreamed of.”

Other changes at the city police department:
• Sgt. Cheyenne Cute was promoted to detective bureau youth division from uniform division to fill the vacancy left by Sgt. Elizabeth Starr’s retirement.
• Ryan Riley was promoted to sergeant from patrol officer to fill Cute’s vacancy after his promotion.

— Shenandoah Briere

In May 1993 he was promoted to sergeant, then transferred to the detective division a year later, where he was trained to handle sexual abuse, child abuse and homicide cases. He also became a certified hostage negotiator and forensic interviewer.

In August 2010 he was promoted to detective lieutenant, where he oversees the division and serves as the department’s public information officer and serves as a foil to Chief F. Michael Catalano.

The two have spent most of 39 years working alongside each other, debating the Giants vs. the Bills — with the Giants being Catalano’s team and the Bills being Troyer’s.

“We still talk about the day the Giants beat the Bills in the Super Bowl,” Catalano said. “I think we’ve complemented each other over the years and I’m certainly going to miss him. He’s a humble guy, he’s hardworking and he’s honest as the day is long and he’s dedicated. He’s just dedicated to what he does.”

For Troyer, being a cop was easy and something he had always wanted to do.

“I enjoyed coming to work,” he said. It’s crazy, but I liked it. I could never picture myself doing anything else but being a cop.”

Still, it was time to go. “I always made it a point to tell myself I’m never going to hang on to just collect a paycheck, I wouldn’t do that,” Troyer said. If there’s anything he’s taken away from the job and would tell others, it is to just have fun.

“Have fun when you come to work, enjoy it because it goes so quickly, it really does,” Troyer said. “It’s not the greatest job in the world but to me it was and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Troyer said he’ll spend some months just relaxing around his house before he does some traveling.

“Right now I want to take it easy and do things at my own pace and not be in a hurry to get things done because I have to go back to work,” he said. “I just want to relax for a while and do nothing.”

And of course he’ll keep going to Bills games.