October 25, 2021

Cortland police lieutenant takes over city’s road patrol

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Cortland police Lt. Cheyenne Cute took over leadership of the department’s road patrol earlier this week after 2 1/2 years as a detective sergeant. He succeeds David Guererra, who was promoted to deputy chief.

In his new position as lieutenant with the Cortland City Police Department, Cheyenne Cute wants to buy body cameras for the road patrol.

Transitioning from the role of detective sergeant to lieutenant brings a slew of responsibilities that Cute is not used to, he said. And the administration is in favor of body cameras, but implementation and costs are a setback.

“It’s definitely different than what I am used to,” Cute said on his third day as lieutenant. “I have big shoes to fill with taking over from former Lt. (David) Guerrera; I have a whole lot to learn and I am definitely looking forward to it.”

Cute became a uniformed sergeant in 2009 and detective sergeant in 2019, Cute said. As detective sergeant, he investigated all high-level crimes, primarily with youth and juveniles as both victims and suspects, especially sex crimes.

“This (lieutenant rank) was definitely one of my goals,” Cute said. “I remember at my interview when I got hired in July of 2001, at the time, Deputy Chief Fred Whitsett asked me where I saw myself in 20 years and at that point, my response was to be in a position where you are now, interviewing a potential recruit.”

And Cute would be a candidate for deputy chief, said Deputy Chief David Guerrera.

“He is definitely qualified, he definitely fits the lieutenant position,” Guerrera said. “Of those that were considered, he was the best candidate, he stood out.”

For five years, Cute served as the uniformed sergeant when Guerrera was the lieutenant leading the road patrol.

“It’s a very demanding position, it’s very stressful,” Guerrera said. “I can assign anything to Cute, he’s been with me forever he’s a great supervisor, he’s able to mentor and motivate officers, he works well under pressure and he’s been given several assignments in the police department and he excelled at all of them.”

Cute decided to become a police officer when he was young, he said. He looked up to police officers and as a graduate from Cortland High School and SUNY Cortland, he wanted to serve the community.

“I’ve said for years, I wanted to sit in as many seats as I could here, and I’ve done that so far,” Cute said. “I don’t like to be overly confident, but I had more experience than the other candidates and not that seniority plays a role, but I was the most senior of the three of us.”

Cute, Sgt. Sean Byrnes and Sgt. Daniel Mones were the top three candidates, Guerrera said. Mones was selected to fill the position of detective sergeant.