Captain Lynde Johnston
Capt. Lynde Johnston was born and raised in Rochester, NY. He has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1965, and has spent 21 years as the Captain of the Major Crimes Unit.
Throughout his time in the police department he has worked as the head of crime analysis, as a technician, a patrol supervisor and as a Captain throughout different sections of the Rochester police force before becoming Captain of the Major Crimes Unit.
He says he has always had an interest in law enforcement and that the teamwork that goes into working homicide is what makes him so passionate about the work he does with the entire team.
Johnston has 4 children and when he is not working he likes to watch minor league baseball, read, listen to music, and participate on the Volunteers of America board.
Lieutenant Michael VanRoo
Lt. Michael VanRoo has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1988, serving as a Lieutenant on the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) since May 2000. He was born in Thailand and moved to Rochester when he was 3 years old.
Before working for the RPD, VanRoo had a variety of other jobs. He worked at a local grocery store and did roofing and siding. VanRoo was also a caribou guide in northern Quebec before joining the police force.
VanRoo is 2nd generation on the police force, his cousin also worked for the RPD. His cousin had told him that he should take the test to become a police officer.
VanRoo ended up taking the test and liking the work, and has worked his way up to become Lt. of the MCU. VanRoo says the part of this job that makes him most proud is the closure that he can bring to families who have lost their loved ones.
When he is not working he enjoys activities like golfing, fishing and hunting with friends. VanRoo is also married and has 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls and spends most of his off time with his family. He enjoys spending as much time with them as he can, being a part of and watching activities that his children are in.
Sergeant Mark Freese
Sgt. Mark Freese was born and raised in Rochester, NY. He has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1988, working homicide for the past year. He has worked 5 years with Major Crimes, 4 of the years working child abuse cases then moving to the homicide department.
Freese is amazed at the work his teams accomplish given the circumstances of this job.
Freese has been married for 25 years and has 2 children who he enjoys spending time with when he is not at work. On his spare time he enjoys attending Rochester athletic events for teams such as the Amerks and Redwings. Freese also enjoys traveling on his time off.
Sergeant Michael Giaconia
Sgt. Michael Giaconia was born in Rochester but spent most of his childhood in the Saratoga region. He graduated high school from Broadalbin Central School, a small school in the Adirondacks. In 1982, he became part of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, just one year after graduating college. After 4 years with the Sheriff’s Department, he was sworn in to the Rochester Police Department. Giaconia has been a Sgt. in the Major Crimes Unit since 2005.
Becoming part of the police force has been a life-long ambition for Giaconia. When a job became available for the homicide unit, he decided that it would be an interesting and challenging career move for him. He says the teamwork the investigators put in is what makes the homicide cases successful. He also says that seeing the relief from family when they are told an arrest has been made in their loved one’s case is what makes him proud to work in the homicide division.
Giaconia has been married for 25 years and has two children. When he isn’t working he has many interests such as golfing, hunting and spending time with friends and family.
Sergeant Geoff Wiater
Sgt. Wiater was born and raised in Rochester, NY and has been working with the Rochester Police Department since 1993. Wiater has been a Sergeant in the Major Crimes Unit since May of 2012 and oversees the Impact team.
Wiater first became interested in law enforcement when he started taking criminal justice classes at The College at Brockport. He was accepted into the police academy when he was a senior there. While being a Sergeant in the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), Wiater has become proud of several aspects of this job. He says that what makes him most proud is the teamwork that goes along with each case. When a homicide happens, he says the team will drop everything they are doing to give a case individualized attention. He says the way his team cares about their cases is what makes him most proud to be in this department.
When he is not at work, Wiater enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Investigator Randy Benjamin
Inv. Randy Benjamin was born in Rochester, NY, and has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1985. He has been working on the Major Crimes Unit as an investigator for homicide cases for over 12 years. Benjamin’s partner is Neil O’Brien.
Benjamin says becoming an investigator is the profession that he always wanted to get into because of the thinking aspect of the job. He says that it is very rewarding to be involved in police work and help people while still being able to work his way through a case and figure out how a crime unfolded.
On his time away from work, Benjamin enjoys socializing with friends and watching sports. He also enjoys activities like reading and listening to music.
Investigator John Brennan
Inv. John Brennan was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1985. Before joining the RPD, Brennan worked as a part-time deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for 3 years. He has worked on the homicide team for one year. Investigator Gary Galetta is Brennan’s partner.
Before working as a homicide investigator, Brennan spent 17 years in the Special Investigation Section working drug and firearm conspiracy cases. He also spent 4 years as a Section Investigator.
Brennan has been married for 25 years and has 4 children. When he is not at work, he enjoys spending time with them or going bike riding.
Investigator Seth Carr
Inv. Seth Carr was born and raised in Rochester, NY and has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1998, working on the homicide team for the past year. Carr’s partner is Investigator Cathy Lucci.
When he is not at work, Carr keeps busy by spending time with his wife and three daughters. He also likes to golf and is a fan of the Bills and the Sabres.
Investigator Tom Cassidy
Inv. Tom Cassidy was born in Rochester, NY, and has worked with the Rochester Police Department since 1989; he has been an investigator with the Major Crimes Unit since 1999. Cassidy has been a homicide investigator in the MCU since 2001. His partner is investigator Michael Houlihan.
Cassidy says the challenge of working on a major case is one element that draws him to this line of work and makes him proud to be doing it. He also says the teamwork that occurs with other members in the Major Crimes Unit is something that makes him proud to be in this line of work.
When he is not at work Cassidy enjoys spending time with family. He is also interested in photography.
Investigator Terry Dearcop
Inv. Terry Dearcop was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1996. Before joining the force she worked at a children’s center. Dearcop is part of the Major Crimes Unit with the RPD.
Dearcop has known since 2nd grade that she wanted to be part of the RPD. She works on child abuse cases on the Major Crimes Unit, however she has helped with homicide cases as well. She says that working on the MCU is fulfilling because of the teamwork that goes into each case. Dearcop also says she is proud to work and help people in the community where she has lived her whole life.
When she is not at work, Dearcop loves to cook. She also enjoys other activities like working out and snow skiing. Dearcop is married to RPD Captain Ray Dearcop and has two daughters.
Investigator Gary Galetta
Inv. Gary Galetta was born in Rochester, NY and joined the Rochester Police Department in 1982. He worked at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for two years prior to joining the RPD. Galetta’s partner is investigator John Brennan.
He says the work he does is rewarding because he is able to be in a profession where people are held accountable for their actions.
Galetta has two daughters and in his spare time enjoys golfing. He is also a Buffalo Bills fan.
Investigator Michael Houlihan
Inv. Michael Houlihan was born in Rochester, NY, and has worked with the Rochester Police Department since 1992. Houlihan has worked on the Major Crimes Unit homicide team since 2012. His partner is Tom Cassidy.
Houlihan decided to take the civil service test when he saw that police officers were needed and was hired shortly after. He became interested in being an investigator when he joined the RPD and started looking up to investigators working on cases, so he took the investigator test. He says the most rewarding part of working on a homicide case is when there is closure and he is able to tell a family there has been an arrest made in their loved one’s case. The satisfaction of getting a criminal off the streets is something that Houlihan admires about this job.
When he is not at work, Houlihan likes to spend his time outdoors. Some of his favorite activities are golfing, hunting, fishing and camping.
Investigator Cathy Lucci
Inv. Cathy Lucci was born in Rochester, NY and has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1995, working in Major Crimes since 2005. She has been doing homicide investigations for Major Crimes since 2008.
Lucci says the most interesting part of this job is trying to piece together how a homicide happened. They go to the scene and have no idea what happened and their job is to put together the events that transpired. She says that working on homicide investigations are different than any other type of investigation because the cases are never “closed” until they are solved, which makes the job very challenging.
Lucci says she is proud of the teamwork that goes into working on the Major Crimes Unit and feels that the people she works with are a second family to her. She says the energy, passion and professionalism that goes into working each case makes her proud to be in this field. Lucci likes when she can bring closure to a family that is grieving by telling them there has been an arrest in their loved one’s homicide case.
When Lucci is not at work she enjoys hanging out with friends and her dog Bruno. On her time away from work she likes traveling. She is engaged to the former Deputy Chief of RPD, Sam Farina. Lucci is also studying to get her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design.
Investigator Neil O’Brien
Inv. Neil O’Brien was born in Rochester, NY, and has been a part of the Rochester Police Department since 1984. He has been on the Major Crimes Unit working homicide cases since 2005. His partner is investigator Randy Benjamin.
O’Brien took criminal justice classes in college and began working full-time as a security guard. He then decided to take civil service tests and was hired by the RPD in 1984. As a patrolman in Genesee Section he took the Investigator test and was promoted to that rank in 1990.
O’Brien says the best thing about working the Major Crimes Unit is the teamwork. He says it is a great feeling to tell the family of an arrest in a homicide case, but he says he doesn’t feel that his work is complete until a conviction is made in a case.
On his time off, O’Brien enjoys spending time with his family and working around his house. He has a wife, Susan, three children and two grandchildren. His home away from home is Hampton Beach, New Hampshire and he enjoys deep-sea fishing off the coast. He also enjoys watching sports and movies at home.
Investigator Marv Patterson
Inv. Marv Patterson was born in Rochester, NY and has been with the Rochester Police Department since 1990. He joined the force after working for two years with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
Patterson spent three years on active military duty, serving in Afghanistan. Patterson spent over 8 years working narcotics for the RPD. He has been on the Major Crimes Unit since 2012, where he remains. He says that he feels like this work is his calling and that he is meant to do it.
When Patterson is not working he is active in the Army Reserves. He also teaches martial arts to children at his church where he is a deacon. Patterson has a wife and stepdaughter who he enjoys spending time with.
Investigator Kirk Pero
Inv. Kirk Pero lives in the Rochester region and was sworn into the Rochester Police Department in 1997. In 2003 he was promoted to Investigator. Pero is based in the Child Advocacy center but often works on cases with the homicide team.
Pero says that he likes the challenge of figuring out what happened as he is working on a homicide investigation. He says that because a homicide investigation involves a lot of teamwork, it makes the investigation easier to handle in some aspects. One of Pero’s favorite sayings when it comes to law enforcement is “We work for God.”
In his spare time, Pero enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He is a coach for his children’s soccer and baseball leagues and enjoys hiking with his family in the summer.