October 20, 2021

New Cortland deputy police chief sworn in

David Guerrera was sworn in Monday as the deputy chief of the Cortland Police Department, during a brief ceremony.

It follows nine years as a lieutenant, but Guerrera said he’s not done, yet. Guerrera said he plans to retire with the title of chief.

Both Guerrera and Chief Paul Sandy were candidates to succeed F. Michael Catalano following his retirement in March.

“I remember the day I interviewed at the time with Chief Philip Cinquanti,” Guerrera said. “I was telling him my goal was to sit in his seat and I’ve strived throughout my career toward that goal.”

Mayor Brian Tobin administered the oath to Guerrera at 9 a.m. Monday, creating an opening for the new uniformed lieutenant, Cheyenne Cute, who has served Cortland City since 2001, Guerrera said. Seven of 10 sergeants were qualified to test for the lieutenant position, but Cute tested into the top three alongside Sgt. Sean Byrnes and Sgt. Daniel Mones, who were also considered.

“This was a natural progression for his career,” Sandy said. “I have known David his entire career, I have seen him be a dedicated officer and this was not a hard decision to make who I would have as second in command.”

Guerrera started with the Cortland Police Department in 1993 after working for Cornell University Police, he said.

Many of his neighbors in Elmira, where he grew up, were connected with law enforcement and he started to look up to police officers at a young age.

“I am excited, it’s a change I have been looking forward to,” Guerrera said.

As lieutenant, Guerrera oversaw the sergeants, who oversee the patrol officers, he said.

As deputy chief, he will be more of an administrator — assisting in budget planning and financials and helping Sandy with day-to-day operations.

As deputy chief, Guerrera said he wants to work with Sandy to have body cameras for the department’s 32 patrol officers by the end of the year. But cost, storage and video processing will take additional staffing, funding, and time the department doesn’t yet have.

“He’s a dedicated family man but as we all do, where you look to people to lead is when they put the best interest of the police department above all else,” Sandy said. “Working together, we want to keep the department moving forward.”

Sandy and Guerrera will continue to work on a governor-ordered effort to reform police policies to mitigate police-involved deaths and racially biased law enforcement, work toward retaining young officers and hiring new ones and getting to know the community, Sandy said.