Lockport police chief interviews set

Steve Preisch

The Lockport Police Board has chosen Sept. 16 as the date to interview three candidates vying to become the city’s next police chief. 

Police Commissioner Rick Abbott said he expects a chief to be chosen by the end of the month. Interim Police Chief Steven Preisch, a retired Niagara County Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy, has been serving with a waiver that allows him to collect pension benefits while on the city’s payroll. The waiver expired after Sept. 30.  

The police board had scheduled to interview the candidates on Sept. 9, but had to cancel that date when a commissioner faced unforeseen medical conditions. 

The city has been searching for a long-term replacement for Michael Niethe who retired last year. 

In July, the city received the results of a promotional exam civil service exam. Det. Capt. Anthony Palumbo, Det. Lt. Todd Chenez and Lt. Toby Trowbridge were the top three scorers — though Trowbridge later removed himself from consideration, opening a slot for Patrol Capt. Douglas Haak Jr. State law requires the city to hire one of the top three highest scoring exam takers. 

Police commissioners and Mayor Michelle Roman had discussed trying to retain Preisch until sometime next spring or summer. Roman said she would like Preisch to see out several ongoing matters, including an accreditation process, a New York State Attorney General’s investigation into the June 17 death of resident Troy Hodge in an encounter with police and negotiations to consolidate Lockport Police Department’s dispatch center with the county.

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