Former Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace Accepts New Law Enforcement Position

CHAUTAUQUA – Chautauqua Institution announced the appointment of Joseph Gerace as Director of Campus Security and Safety in a press release Thursday.

Gerace, the former Chautauqua County Sheriff, is now responsible for enacting recommendations from the Institution’s recently established Security Master Plan, and will take command of the Institution’s police department upon the planned retirement of longtime chief Alan Akin this fall.

As Sheriff, Gerace played a foundational role in forming and maintaining the Sheriff’s Office’s close partnership with Chautauqua Institution, where campus police personnel are officers who hold appointments as special deputy sheriffs.  

“We are elated to welcome Joe to our year-round staff. His leadership as sheriff ensured the safety and security of multiple generations of Institution residents and visitors, and this community is fortunate to benefit now even more directly from his experience and service,” said John Shedd, the Institution’s vice president of campus planning and operations.

“Through Joe’s leadership, our security personnel will continue to provide the delicate balance of enforcement, preventive security tactics, and exceptional community relations acumen cultivated for decades under Al’s command. We are grateful for Al’s dedicated service to Chautauqua, and we look forward to celebrating his many contributions throughout the coming months.” 

Gerace served Chautauqua County as sheriff from 1995 through the end of 2018, directing operational oversight of over 300 county employees, including all sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers and 911 personnel and staff. He is an adjunct faculty member at Jamestown Community College and the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches classes on police administration, homeland security, police public relations and corrections.

Gerace began his career in security and law enforcement as an employee of Chautauqua Institution in the late 1970s

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve such a prestigious organization,” Gerace said. “I have always loved Chautauqua Institution since beginning my law enforcement career here. I look forward to working with the wonderful employees, residents and guests on this historic campus.”

Gerace earned a Master of Professional Studies in community service administration from Alfred University; a Bachelor of Arts in police science from Mercyhurst College; and an associate’s degree in applied science in criminal justice from Jamestown Community College.

A lifelong resident of Chautauqua County, Gerace has coached youth hockey and soccer programs, serves on the board of Chautauqua Opportunities and is president of the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village. He and his wife Gina live in West Ellicott, where they also raised seven children. 

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