Falls Police Chief to Retire

December 22, 2011 Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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December 22, 2011 Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM EDT

(Niagara Falls, NY) Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella is retiring at the end of December.

The retirement brings to a close a career in law enforcement that began when Chella was just 19 years old.

As a teenager, the Timon High School graduate was inspired by a Buffalo policeman.

"He talked about how no two days are alike and I said, "that sounds interesting."

Joining the ranks of the Niagara Falls Police Cadets in 1968, John Chella worked his way up, finally being named Superintendent in 2004.

Superintendent Chella says he is proud of the efforts that his department has achieved.

"The streets, I think, are safer . . . I know they are safer today."

In the 1970's, John Chella spent some time working for the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona, and Kodak in Rochester.

He returned to Niagara Falls Police in the late 70's, where he spent the next three decades working.

Over the past few years, Superintendent Chella led a determined effort to fight crime in the Cataract City, especially gang crime.

"I think that is the biggest difference from when I first joined the department to now, the propensity of a gang member to carry a gun. That was unheard of in the late 60's and early 70's. If you ran across a guy with a gun - you talked about that for days. I mean, that was the highlight of your career. Today, it happens all too often."

Superintendent John Chella's last day is scheduled for December 30th.

Administrative Capt. John Demarco will head the Niagara Falls Police Department until a permanent replacement is named by Mayor Paul Dyster.