Our Memorial Tributes
Deputy Simon J. Bermingham
December 13, 1865-January 10, 1912
Early on the morning of January 10, 1912, Sheriff Harley E. Hamil received information that a young male suspect told neighbors he shot his father during a quarrel. Accompanied by several deputies, Sheriff Hamil responded to the scene in the Village of Scottsville.
Despite warnings from villagers that the suspect was known to be a violent and dangerous person, Sheriff Hamil and the deputies approached the house in which the suspect was barricaded.
They had nearly reached the house before the first volley came with murderous suddenness. Four men fell victim. Deputy Sheriff Simon J. Bermingham of Rochester was shot in the temple and died. Deputy Hubert M. Abbott of Rochester was grazed on the cheek by a bullet and received a charge of shot in the shoulder. Deputy Edward Jenkins of Scottsville received a serious neck wound. Deputy William Vokes, also of Scottsville, was wounded in the arm by a bullet. Sheriff Hamil narrowly escaped death while attempting to remove the body of his murdered comrade, Deputy Bermingham.
For a period of four hours, bullets rained on the house. The suspect finally gave up and was arrested for killing his father and Deputy Bermingham. He was convicted of first degree murder and put to death in the electric chair.
Special Deputy C. Fred Sova
September 21, 1882 - September 8, 1931
On Monday, September 7, 1931, Special Deputy C. Fred C. Sova was fatally shot by a burglar in the Town of Brighton, New York. Back in 1931, the Town of Brighton had one Traffic Officer. The County of Monroe Sheriff's Officer patrolled the town and was aided by the town constables.
Fred Sova was a Brighton Town Constable who had volunteered near the end of the summer for the Special Deputy Squad to search for a prowler who had been burglarizing Brighton since June. Sheriff William Stallknecht deputized Brighton Constable C. Fred Sova and others to a task force to capture the burglar.
Special Deputy Sova and Special Deputy Cyril Pemberton had been assigned to one of the 10 districts into which the town had been divided, with a sheriff's car and two deputies to each district. It took many nights to catch the Brighton burglar.
Sova and his partner, Special Deputy Pemberton, had stopped their car shortly after 2:00 a.m. on Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 1931, at Landing Road and Bufferd Drive, when they saw the light from the burglar's flashlight shining on a basement window. They went up to the individual and told him to put up his hands. The burglar, Frank Nentarz, was comered at the side of the house, but he fled. The Special Deputies (Constables) then pursued him. He ran about 200 feed to an abandoned trolley station, where he slipped and fell. Sova and Pemberton overpowered him, handcuffed his hands in front of him. Pemberton searched on side of Nentarz and found an ice pick in a pocket. Sova and Pemberton, one on each side of the prisoner, started to walk back to their car. Nentarz suddenly pulled out a pistol and fired two or three times. One bullet entered Sova's abdomen. Sova and Pemberton then subdued the prisoner. They called for aid several deputies arrived on scene.
Sova was taken into a nearby residence, an ambulance was called, and Sova was taken to Genesee Hopital. The bullet had entered his stomach and passed through his body. Brighton Firefighter Harold Gramkee donated blood for a blood transfusion, but Sova died on September 8, 1931, at the age of 48.
Specia Deputy Sova was buried at White Haven Cemetery in the Town of Perinton, New York on September 11, 1931. Special Deputy Sova's name appears on Panel 24E-28 on the National Law Enforcement Memorial located in Washington, D. C.
Special Deputy Joseph G. Munz
July 2, 1874 - February 26, 1932
On Thursday, February 25, 1932, Special Deputy Sheriff Joseph G. Munz was struck by an automobile while directing traffic on Clover Street in the Town of Brighton, New York. The operator of the vehicle is said to have turned out to pass another vehicle as he struck the deputy. After the accident, the operator of the vehicle immediately drove to a nearby home and called the Strong Memorial Hospital ambulance, which rushed Munz to General Hospital.
Deputy Munz was reported to have suffered a skull fracture, broken leg, broken arm and internal injuries. Deputy Munz died seven hours later on February 26, 1932 due to the injuries he received.
Deputy Munz was buried at Pittsford Cemetery on February 29, 1932. Deputy Munz's name appears on Panel 24E-28 on the National Law Enforcement Memorial located in Washington, D.C.
Deputy William Marshall
September 17, 1894 - April 3, 1946
On April 3, 1946, a Monroe County Sheriff's car was found in a road culvert on Scottsville Road near the Scottsville Village line. The car had overturned three times before coming to rest. There was no indication of trouble prior to the accident, nor were there any witnesses to explain the mishap.
Deputy Marshall's body was located about 20 feet from the vehicle. He died at the scene. His partner, Deputy Lester Maine, was found on the ground close to the vehicle and was taken to Park Avenue Hospital suffering from a knee injury, fractured ribs and contusions and a head injury.
Deputy Maine had been in the back seat of the patrol car taking inventory of recovered stolen property at the time of the accident. He had no idea as to the cause of the accident.
Motorists that observed the Sheriff's car just prior to the accident reported that the vehicle was being driven at a normal rate of speed.
Deputy Sheriff James I. Conheady
May 12, 1895 - March 25, 1947
On Tuesday, March 25, 1947, Deputy Sheriff James I. Conheady suffered a fatal heart attack while performing his duty. Deputy Conheady had gone to the Black Creek Hotel on Scottsville Road at 10:00 p.m. to serve papers in a court action. Deputy Conheady was accompanied by Sheriff Albert Skinner. The Sheriff remained in the car while Conheady went into the hotel.
After serving the papers, Conheady returned to the car, got in and started the motor. Suddenly the Sheriff noticed the car veering toward nearby Black Creek and looked at Conheady to see him slumped down in the seat with both hands off the wheel. The Sheriff stopped the car and sent in a call for aid but Conheady was deceased before the arrival of the Genesee Hospital ambulance.
Deputy Conheady served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War I. Deputy Conheady was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery on March 29, 1947.
Deputy John Pullano
March 29, 1928 - May 16, 1957
At about 11:00 a.m. on May 11, 1957, Deputy John Pullano was operating his motorcycle south on Scottsville Road while responding to an accident on Scottsville Road at North Road in the village of Scottsville.
A station wagon was southbound on Scottsville Road directly in front of Deputy Pullano. The station wagon driver stated she made a right turn onto Ballantyne Road as Deputy Pullano was passing on the right. When the vehicles collided, Deputy Pullano was thrown about 10 feet. As the deputy fell to the ground, he struck his head on a rock, leaving him unconscious. Pullano was not wearing a motorcycle helmet. Helmets were not required and were generally not worn at the time.
Deputy Pullano remained unconscious in a hospital for five days until he died of a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage. As a result of the accident and tragic death of Deputy John Pullano, Sheriff Albert Skinner and the Rochester Police Department made it mandatory that their motorcycle patrols wear helmets.
Undersheriff George A. Conway
September 15, 1897 - August 13, 1965
On August 13, 1965, at about 4:45 p.m. Undersheriff George Conway and his wife, Alice, were returning from a New York State Sheriffs' Association meeting held in Lido Beach, Long Island. The couple was headed westbound on Rt. 17 when a large eastbound truck crossed over to the westbound lane to avoid hitting a car that had stopped. The truck collided head on with the Conway vehicle. Both Undersheriff Conway and his wife died at the accident scene in the Town of Owego, Tioga County.
Conway was a deputy sheriff from January 1926 to June 1936. He was promoted to Chief Deputy in June 1936 and was appointed Undersheriff to Albert W. Skinner in February 1938.
Deputy Francis E. Dombrowski
March 9, 1945 - February 6, 1970
On the evening of January 31, 1969, Deputy Francis Dombrowski was involved in an accident on Scottsville Road near North Road in the Village of Scottsville. Although the circumstances of the accident were not known, it was believed to be the result of a violator pursuit. Witnesses stated that Deputy Dombrowski had engaged his lights and siren just before the accident with an oncoming car. The force of the accident nearly cut the patrol car in half. Both Deputy Dombrowski and the other driver were trapped in their vehicles.
Deputy Dombrowski was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where he remained unconscious for several months. He died February 6, 1970, from injuries sustained in the accident.
Sergeant Robert M. Skelton, Jr.
April 27, 1939 - June 23, 1972
On the rainy evening of June 21, 1972, Sergeant Robert Skelton, Jr., affectionately known as "Whitey" to his friends and colleagues, was on routine patrol in the Town of Pittsford. At about 8:30 p.m., Sergeant Skelton was southbound on Clover Street when an intoxicated northbound driver crossed into Skelton's lane. Although Sergeant Skelton pulled to the right, he could not avoid the oncoming car. He was taken to the hospital, where he died 30 hours later. The other driver was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but did survive his injuries. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Sergeant Skelton began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in July 1962 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in April 1971.
Sergeant Peter J. Rotolo
April 23, 1921 - September 20, 1974
On September 9, 1974, a fight broke out between two inmates assigned to kitchen duties in the Monroe County Jail. Sergeant Rotolo and several other deputies responded to the incident. During the struggle that ensued, Sergeant Rotolo was thrown against the wall by an inmate. Sergeant Rotolo suffered a massive heart attack and slumped to the floor. A jail nurse provided mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and he was transported to Rochester General Hospital. Sergeant Rotolo remained in a coma until his death on September 20.
Sergeant Rotolo joined the Monroe County Penitentiary Staff in 1958 and was later transferred to the Monroe County Jail when the penitentiary was closed.
Corporal Catherine M. Crawford
July 20, 1948 - March 5, 1995
In May 1993, Corporal Catherine M. Crawford was involved in breaking up a fight between two inmates. As a result of this altercation, Corporal Crawford sustained injuries to her hand and knee. The knee injury required surgery to repair the damage, but prior to the scheduled operation, Corporal Crawford experienced serious breathing difficulties. After extensive medical testing, it was determined that Corporal Crawford had developed blood clots that lodged in her lungs as a result of the injury to her knee.
Surgery to remove the blood clots was ruled out due to their location. After further tests, Corporal Crawford was accepted as a candidate for a lung transplant. It was while waiting for the transplant that Corporal Crawford died on March 5, 1995.
Corporal Crawford began her career with the Sheriff's Office on October 4, 1982 as a part-time deputy and was promoted to full-time status in July 1985. In November 1992, she was promoted to the rank of Corporal.