GENEVA — A 16-year veteran of the Geneva Police Department will be its new chief come July 1.

Jeffrey Trickler, now a lieutenant in the department, was named chief yesterday by City Manager Mathew Horn. He will succeed Frank Pane, who will retire later this month after 45 years in the department, the last 22 as chief.

Horn said Trickler and three other applicants for the job went through a rigorous selection process, including interviews with peers in law enforcement and judicial agencies, staff in city management positions and the city manager.

He added that Trickler also had the highest score among all the candidates on the state Civil Service exam for the position. The other candidates were Lt. John Cataline, Sgt. Eric Heieck and Sgt. Carmen “Scott” Reale.

Officers in the department with the rank of sergeant or higher were eligible for the position.

“I can’t say enough about the professionalism and incredible experience of all four candidates for this position,” Horn said. “Jeff’s outstanding performance in his tenure, his complete understanding of this [City] Council’s neighborhood revitalization and economic development objectives, and more importantly, how critical the department’s role in them is, made him a premier candidate for the position.”

Horn said Reale’s role in a fatal shooting last month on North Exchange Street did not factor into the decision. In the May 20 incident, Reale shot William “Corey” Jackson when he believed Jackson pointed a weapon at another police officer during a traffic stop.

“We were already narrowing the candidates before that happened, and we already had all the interviews done. We were just waiting on the [exam] scores,” Horn said. “I would say we were very close to a decision at that time.”

Contacted by phone this morning, Trickler said being named chief is the culmination of years of hard work.

“As soon as I became a police officer, I enjoyed the job and knew it was something I wanted to have a career in,” he said. “I planned on working my way up through the ranks and worked hard.”

A Geneva native, Trickler is a 1987 graduate of Geneva High School and has an associate degree in business administration from Finger Lakes Community College. He joined the police department in 1996 as a patrol officer and later became a detective, youth officer and patrol sergeant before being promoted to lieutenant in March of 2008.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead the department,” Trickler added. “I know there were other good, qualified applicants, and I’m glad to be chosen to be the next police chief and take over from Chief Pane.”

Trickler, 42, lives on White Springs Road in the town of Geneva with his wife, Nicole, and their 3-year-old twin sons, Nicholas and Cooper. A residency requirement mandates that the chief lives in the city of Geneva, and Trickler said he and his wife are in the process of finding a home in the city.

Trickler’s father, James, is a retired sergeant with the Geneva PD. His great-great-grandfather, Daniel Kane, was the department’s fourth police chief, serving from 1891 to 1924.

Trickler will be the department’s 13th chief.

Horn said each of the candidates would have made a good police chief.

“At each turn, each of the candidates distinguished themselves. I wish we could incorporate all the great ideas they had for the job,” he said. “They were as close as you can possibly imagine. At the end of the day, Jeff’s professionalism and experience brought him to the top.”

“Here is a guy who is born and bred in Geneva,” Horn added. “He knows the community.”

Earlier this year, after Pane announced he would retire, Horn formed a committee to conduct interviews and provide input on the applicants. The committee consisted of 10 people from various departments of city government and single representatives from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office and the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department.

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