The longest-tenured member in the history of one of Westchester’s largest police departments announced he will be stepping aside after nearly five decades on the force.
New Rochelle Police Commissioner Joseph Schaller, who has been with the department since 1974, announced that he will be retiring over the summer, to be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Robert Gazzola, who joined the department in 1986.
Schaller’s retirement is effective as of Wednesday, June 30, with Gazzola officially taking over the following day on Thursday, July 1.
Schaller was first appointed to New Rochelle in August 1974, following by promotions to Sergeant (1979), Lieutenant (1982), Captain (1988), Deputy Police Commissioner (2015), and Commissioner (2018).
New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome noted that “during his tenure, the City of New Rochelle has been consistently noted as one of the top safest cities its size nationally.”
“We were fortunate to have had such a dedicated professional as Joe Schaller in our police department for so many years, especially in senior leadership and finally as Commissioner,” he said. “His experience has been valuable during good and also some very difficult times.
“I am pleased that Rob Gazzola will follow as Commissioner, bringing his expertise to the position and ensuring a seamless transition for the department.”
Schaller thanked the people of New Rochelle and his colleagues within the police department in announcing his retirement.
“I would also particularly like to thank my command staff and the men and women of the New Rochelle Police Department, past and present, who have served with me and supported me; and, who are responsible for any success I may have had in my efforts in the police service over the years,” he said.
Gazzola joined the New Rochelle Police Department and quickly rose through the ranks to Sergeant (1993), Lieutenant (1996), Captain (2002), and Deputy Police Commissioner (2018). He served as the Captain of the Police Services Division for more than a decade, before becoming the Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division and Deputy Police Commissioner.
“It has been an honor working alongside Commissioner Schaller. He has been a true gentleman and great leader during his long tenure, and has earned the respect of all who were fortunate enough to have worked with him,” Gazzola said.
“I look forward to continuing the work Commissioner Schaller has started, as well as continuing to serve the City with the men and women of the New Rochelle Police Department.”
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