Weekly Feature

2010-10-21 / Front Page

Board names Gill chief

Lancaster police

Gill Gill The Lancaster Police Department will have a new leader come Oct. 30 as Chief Gary Stoldt retires and Lt. Gerald J. Gill Jr. becomes his successor.

The Town Board approved both moves Monday night, unanimously seconding the resolution outlining Gill’s appointment. Supervisor Robert Giza said Gill ranked first on the Civil Service Exam and commended him for the job he has done for the department for more than 26 years.

“We think he’s going to be a great asset,” Giza said.

Last month, Giza discussed Stoldt’s intention to retire with The Bee, explaining that state law requires police to retire at the age of 70, unless a board requests a two-year extension. Lancaster officials requested and were granted such an extension for Stoldt in 2008. Council members conducted job interviews earlier this month once it was clear that Stoldt would be stepping down.

Giza expressed sadness at seeing his longtime friend and former high school football teammate leaving the force, and he thanked the 40-plus-year member of Lancaster’s police departments for his service, especially as chief through the merger of the village and town forces in 2003.

“It’s going to be a sad day for me,” Giza said.

Once his appointment was unanimously approved, Gill thanked the board for its decision.

“I’m grateful for the board’s confidence,” he said.

Gill, who possesses a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a law degree, also has been a professor of criminal justice for the past 10 years at Erie Community College. He plans to step down from teaching to focus on his new position.

“And that’s with regret,” he said. “It was a perfect opportunity to influence generations of police officers. I’ll miss it very much.”

A past president of the Police Benevolent Association, Gill understands the inner workings of the department. While he is excited to get started, he also understands that the learning curve will present challenges.

“I have a considerable amount to learn,” he said. “Let’s hope I’m a quick study.”

Gill decided to pursue the lead role because he wanted to help the town maintain its quality of life.

“I’m looking forward to using the talents of our officers to confront the challenges that this community faces,” he said.

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