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Warren taps RPD vet Herriott-Sullivan to lead the department


Mayor Lovely Warren has appointed Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan interim chief of the Rochester Police Department. She’ll be the first woman to serve as the department’s chief, Warren said when she announced Herriott-Sullivan’s appointment Saturday.
Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan has been appointed the new interim chief of RPD. - PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI
  • Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan has been appointed the new interim chief of RPD.

Herriott-Sullivan worked in the RPD from 1985 to 2009, when she left with the rank of executive lieutenant. From there, Sullivan served in a number of roles in the community, most recently as the compliance, diversity, and inclusion officer for the Rochester Housing Authority.

She will assume the chief’s job on Oct. 14, replacing current interim Chief Mark Simmons.

“I left law enforcement because I wanted to play a hand in keeping people out of jail,” Herriott-Sullivan said, at a news conference Saturday morning. “I moved onto roles that focused on criminal justice disparities...I’m happy that we’re going to have an opportunity to bring that knowledge here.”

Along with Herriott-Sullivan, Warren announced two more appointments at RPD. Gabriel Person will be promoted from captain to deputy chief of operations, and Moses Robinson will join the command staff with a focus on community engagement and violence reduction.

Robinson joined the department in 1985 and has spent much of his career in community policing and crime prevention officer roles. Person started with the RPD in 2005 and was promoted to captain last year.

“This is a pivotal time in the city of Rochester’s history, and I’m very proud to be a member of the Rochester Police Department,” Person said. “I’m looking forward to working with all members of the community.”

With the new appointments, Warren said the city now has the potential to introduce a new model of policing, stating Herriott-Sullivan marks “a step forward.”

What exact plans for reform are on the table is currently unclear.

“Given all that has happened in our own community and across the nation, it has become abundantly clear that traditional policing practices must be altered and improved to better protect our citizens,” Warren said.

Local Black Lives Matter activists have been calling for Warren to resign over the death of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester Police Officers, and over City Hall’s handling of it.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or