By James Carsey–
It was a sign of the times that the changing of command ceremony took place last week remotely, with the swearing in of Francis (Frank) Pignatelli as Irvington’s new Chief of Police streamed via Zoom from Village Hall. The next day, February 18th, the ceremony was repeated in front of Irvington’s finest outside on North Ferris Street, presided over by Mayor Brian C. Smith.
Chief Pignatelli replaces Michael Cerone, whose career in law enforcement has spanned over four decades in the Irvington Police Department. Pignatelli, 34, started his law enforcement career as a police officer in 2007 in Marlborough (Ulster County), New York. In 2011, Pignatelli transferred to Irvington and has been there ever since, winning a promotion to Police Sergeant in September of 2014, then to Lieutenant and now to Chief.
Like many police officers, Pignatelli was drawn to a career in law enforcement by a strong desire to help people in need and be of service to a community. He admits to being inspired by his siblings along the way. “Both of my older brothers are police officers, so I was into it from a young age, and I was always looking up to them,” Pignatelli said.
In addition to his 13 years of law enforcement experience, Pignatelli holds a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice / Law Enforcement Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is a member of Greenburgh Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (S.W.A.T.). The specialized unit is made up of officers from the Town of Greenburgh and the Villages of Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington and Tarrytown.
In the course of his service with the Greenburgh S.W.A.T. team, Pignatelli was awarded a Medal for Valor for rescuing a fellow officer while under direct fire of an armed suspect wanted for murder.
During the first swearing-in ceremony, fellow officers were also awarded citations for acts of bravery. Detective Sergeant Kevin Johnson and Detective Jean Marc Grolier received a commendation medal for locating an armed murder suspect from Connecticut and safely evacuating civilians from the area, also while serving with the Greenburgh Task Force.