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Former Police Chief Sabo Honored at Retirement Dinner

Longtime SUNY Plattsburgh Police Chief Arlene Sabo was honored by colleagues, friends and area law enforcement agencies at a farewell gathering held Aug. 13 at Valcour Conference Center.

Sabo, who is moving to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie to serve as director of safety and security, retired from University Police at the end of July. More than 100 people attended the dinner, and speakers included members of the campus, city and state community. They honored Sabo with official resolutions, plaques, gifts and personal memories. 

SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling praised Sabo’s compassion, and Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said, “We always looked to you, and I always trusted your judgment. I will miss that very much.”

Director of Housing and Residence Life Steve Matthews said, “Arlene has always been well respected on this campus and around the police world. This place is a better place because of you being here.”

The organizations recognizing Sabo included the College Council, Plattsburgh City Police, New York State Police and New York Women in Law Enforcement, among others.

Dr. Bruce McBride, former commissioner of University Police, said, “You cannot underestimate the many contributions she made throughout the state.”

Following the accolades, Sabo’s mother said, “I wonder if I’ll be able to live with her from now on.”

Sabo began her career in law enforcement as a patrol officer at SUNY Potsdam in 1986 and came to SUNY Plattsburgh in November 1993 as the assistant chief under Chief Richard Boas. When Boas retired, Sabo was named chief in January 2001.

She ended her service as one of only two women to serve as chief of police in the SUNY system and the only woman to serve in that capacity in New York’s tri-county area of Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.

Assistant Police Chief Jerry Lottie was named to serve as interim chief following Sabo’s departure.

“Thanks for setting the bar very high for me,” Lottie said with just the slightest touch of sarcasm.

Sabo said she couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“When I looked up what to include in retirement speeches, it said I should leave instruction. This group doesn’t need any. I know I’m leaving this campus and community in good hands.”

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