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Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello

Genesee County's STOP-DWI night at the ballpark honors Sgt. Sanfratello's family with special tribute

By Press Release
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Photo of (from left to right) Kyla, Ian & Alexis Sanfratello.
Submitted photo. 

Press Release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI and the Genesee County Youth Bureau are partnering with the Batavia Muckdogs to host the annual STOP-DWI Night at the Ballpark on Thursday, July 18 at Dwyer Stadium. 

The Genesee County Youth Bureau has a limited supply of complimentary tickets available for youth and their families. Get your tickets before they run out by calling 585-344-3960.

This year’s STOP-DWI event is dedicated to the families of Genesee County law enforcement officers. Our officers put their lives on the line every day to serve & protect, while often missing holidays, celebrations, and other milestones with their children, spouses, parents, partners, siblings, and other family members. 

Genesee County STOP-DWI will be recognizing this sacrifice with a special tribute to the Sanfratello family. Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello made the ultimate sacrifice when his life was lost in the line of duty on March 10. Throughout his 32 years of service, Sgt. Sanfratello spent countless hours away from his family dedicated to STOP-DWI work details. 

Help us cheer on Sgt. Sanfratello’s family as they throw out this year’s first pitch. Join us for this family-focused evening with the Batavia Muckdogs. Gates open at 5:35 p.m. and the game starts at 6:35 p.m.

A special thank you to all event sponsors and contributors helping make this event possible including Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, Chapin Manufacturing, UConnect Care, Gerace Realty, Graham Corporation, Kiwanis of Batavia, LeRoy Moose Family Center, Lions Club of Batavia, Marchese Computers, Polish Falcons Nest #493, and the WNY Association of Chiefs of Police.

Alexander senior receives first Sanfratello scholarship award

By Press Release
sanfratello scholarship
Genesee County Corrections Officer Ian Sanfratello, son of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello and a  GCSEA member, along with Brooke Kochmanski, Alexander High School senior and scholarship recipient and Nathan Fix, president of the Genesee County Sheriff's Employee Association.
Submitted photo.

Press release:

At the Annual  Alexander  Senior Awards night, Brooke Kochmanski of Alexander High School was awarded as the first recipient of the  Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello Memorial Scholarship.  

Genesee County seniors can apply and must be residents of Genesee County. The applicant must be a graduating high school senior who will be attending an accredited college or university in the fall. The scholarship award must be payable to an accredited college or university, and the applicant must be pursuing a career in the criminal justice field. A copy of the applicant’s most current transcript (high school or college, as appropriate) must be submitted. 

The NYSDA and GCSEA hope to see this scholarship grow in funding in the future years.

The New York State Deputies Association, Inc., along with the Genesee County Sheriff's Employee Association, has created this scholarship to keep Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello's legacy alive in local law enforcement so our youth can continue to protect and serve our community.

Charity softball game in Elba benefits both students and Sanfratello family

By Howard B. Owens
elba softball game

Elba's annual scholarship fund game on Tuesday was also a fundraiser for the family of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello.

Proceeds were split between the scholarship fund and for support of the family.

Sanfratello died in the line of duty while trying to arrest two individuals at Batavia Downs on March 10. 

Photos by Debra Reilly.

elba softball game
elba softball game
elba softball game
elba softball game
elba softball game

Photos: Back the Blue 4K cornhole tournament honors Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello, raises funds to support family

By Steve Ognibene
Family members Rachel Diehl, Ian and Kyla Sanfratello, of SGT. Thomas Sanfratello toss out the first throw of the cornhole tournament in his honor  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Family members (left to right) Rachel Diehl, Ian and Kyla Sanfratello, of Sergeant Thomas Sanfratello, toss out the first throw of the cornhole tournament Saturday in his honor. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene

A cornhole tournament was hosted by the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena on Saturday.  Proceeds from the Back the Blue Tournament benefit the family of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello. The Sheriff's Office veteran died in the line of duty on March 10.,

Genesee County Sheriff honorguard colors during the national anthem.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Genesee County Sheriff honor guard colors during the National Anthem.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene

 

Mike Borrelli owner of Cornyfellas, cornhole tournament organizer running todays fundraiser event for the family of Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Mike Borrelli, owner of Cornyfellas, cornhole tournament organizer of Saturday’s fundraiser event for the family of Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Over 75 teams participated in todays event.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
More than 75 teams participated in Saturday’s event.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
A cornhole participant prepares for todays event.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
A cornhole participant prepares for the event.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Mattel donates four cases of Hot Wheels cars to local law enforcement in honor of Sgt. Sanfratello

By Press Release
hot wheels sanfratello donation
Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger; Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, CID Chief Deputy Joseph Graff; Director of Emergency Communications Frank Riccobono, retired Emergency Services Dispatcher Lynn Riccobono; Sergeant Kyle Krzemien, Genesee Justice Program Coordinator Diana Prinzi, Justice for Children Advocacy Center Program Coordinator Trisha Reynolds, Undersheriff Bradley Mazur; Corfu Police Officer Tommy LaBelle; Le Roy Police Officer Jordan Wolcott.
Submitted Photo.

Press release:

Genesee County Sergeant Thomas A. Sanfratello passed away in the line of duty on March 10, 2024. While he will be remembered for his many contributions to the Sheriff’s Office and the Genesee County community, everyone may not be aware that he was also known for his love of Hot Wheels die-cast cars. 

Shortly after Sergeant Sanfratello’s passing, retired Emergency Services Dispatcher Lynn Riccobono wanted to do something to honor Tommy. Riccobono, who worked her entire career at the Sheriff’s Office with Sergeant Sanfratello, knew that he kept Hot Wheels cars in his office drawer and would give them to children who came into the Sheriff’s Office.  Riccobono reached out to Mattel, Inc. (the manufacturer of the Hot Wheels cars) and told them Sergeant Sanfratello’s story.  Mattel, Inc. responded by graciously shipping four cases of Hot Wheels cars along with their condolences for the loss of Sergeant Sanfratello.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is sharing this donation with other Genesee County police agencies, Genesee Justice, and the Justice for Children Advocacy Center to distribute the cars to children they interact with in Sergeant Sanfratello’s honor.

hot wheels sanfratello donation
Submitted Photo.
hot wheels sanfratello donation
Submitted Photo.

Elmore, Wilcox make initial County Court appearances in Sanfratello case

By Howard B. Owens
Lyndsey Jean Wilcox
Lyndsey Wilcox
michael j. elmore
Michael Elmore

Genesee County's justice system took another step forward on Monday in the prosecution of Michael J. Elmore, implicated in the March 10 death of Sgt. line-of-duty death Thomas A. Sanfratello, and co-defendant Lyndsey J. Wilcox.

Both Elmore and Wilcox appeared in County Court before Judge Donald O'Geen for the first time and their attorneys, on their behalf, entered not-guilty pleas to the criminal indictments filed against each of them.

The hearing was standard procedure, with District Attorney Kevin Finnell affirming he had supplied the defense with all available discovery material, requesting an alibis demand, and stating that the people are ready for trial.

O'Geen then outlined the case's milestone dates, including trial dates if it reaches that far in the process.

The defense attorneys—Joseph A. Lobosco for Elmore and Daniel J. Dubois for Wilcox—have until July 12 to file motions. Defense attorneys typically file motions in criminal cases challenging the admissibility of evidence, the relevance of witnesses, and the possibility of constitutional violations (though every case is different, and there's been no public discussion of what motions the attorneys might make in this case).

The prosecution has until July 26 to file an answer to the motions.

Any hearing on the motions or other pre-trial issues will be held at 9:30 a.m. on July 31.

O'Geen provided each attorney with an anticipated schedule of proceedings after initial motions.

He set Aug. 23 at 9:30 a.m. for a hearing on any pre-trial motions, a follow-up hearing date of Sept. 20, a plea cutoff (the last day for defendants to accept any pending plea offer before trial) of Oct. 16 and a hearing date on any pending issues for Nov. 15.  Then, if there is a trial, jury selection on Jan. 21.  Opening arguments would begin on Jan. 23, with the trial scheduled to last until Feb. 11.

When Elmore and Wilcox were first arrested, they faced the same charges and both were ordered held on $100,000 bail.

On Monday, Dubois asked that his client, Wilcox, be released under supervision given the reduction of the top charges against her to burglary and assault.  Finnell argued that since the top charges include mandatory prison terms if convicted, Wilcox should be held on bail.  O'Geen reduced her bail to $20,000 cash, $50,000 bond, or $100,000 partially secured bond.

Elmore was indicted by the Grand Jury on counts of:

  • Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree, a Class B felony. He is accused of intending to cause serious physical injury to a police officer and, as result, causing the death of a police officer;
  • Aggravated criminally negligent homicide, a Class C violent felony. He is accused of causing the death of Sanfratello with criminal negligence;
  • Assault in the first degree, a Class B violent felony. Elmore is accused of causing the death of Sanfratello while in the commission of another crime, burglary in the second degree;
  • Burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. He is accused of knowingly entering a building unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime in the building and threatening to use or did use a dangerous instrument.

Elmore and Wilcox are indicted on counts of:

  • Burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. Elmore and Wilcox are accused of remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime in the building and, while in the building, causing serious physical injury to another person;
  • Assault in the second degree, a Class D violent felony. Elmore and Wilcox are accused of causing physical injury to a police officer who was in the act of performing his official duties;
  • Obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The pair is accused of trying to intentionally prevent a police officer from performing his official duty by means of intimidation, physical force, or interference.

Wilcox is separately charged with resisting arrest, a Class A Misdemeanor. She is accused of intentionally trying to prevent her legal arrest.

The incident that led up to Sanfratello's death began at 12:43 a.m. on March 10, a Sunday morning following a pair of events at Batavia Downs on Saturday night, when Sanfratello and Batavia Downs security responded to the Rush 34 bar for a disturbance. There, Sanfratello confronted Wilcox, 39, of Batavia and ordered Wilcox to leave the building. While being escorted out, she allegedly became combative with Sanfratello. She is accused of hitting Sanfratello several times with the intent to injure him. 

As Wilcox was being arrested, Elmore became involved and was also ordered to leave. He reportedly walked out of the building and came back in with a chain in his hand (a chain he was apparently wearing that night).

During the struggle, which included assistance from Batavia Downs security, Sanfratello reportedly tried to deploy his taser in an attempt to subdue the person attacking him.

According to initial reports, Sanfratello suffered a medical emergency during the struggle and became unresponsive. There was extensive effort, according to witnesses, to revive him with CPR. He was later pronounced dead by a county coroner.

For complete prior coverage of the case and related articles, click here

DA says Grand Jury indictment of Elmore and Wilcox in death of Sanfratello supported by evidence

By Howard B. Owens
michael-j-elmore-town-of-batavia-court
File photo of Michael Elmore entering the Town of Batavia Court for his initial arraignment on criminal charges.
Photo by Howard Owens

Some in the community may want Michael J. Elmore, accused of causing the death of Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello on March 10 at Batavia Downs, to face a murder charge, but District Attorney Kevin Finnell said he believes a Genesee County Grand Jury reached the correct decision when it delivered an aggravated manslaughter count against Elmore.

michael j. elmore
Michael J. Elmore

Finnell said that, as a legal matter, he couldn't reveal whether the Grand Jury even considered a murder charge or if he sought murder as a possible count against Elmore, but he did say the Grand Jury reached its conclusion for the counts against Elmore based on evidence.

"As you know, I can’t discuss what transpired with or in the grand jury, so I can only say that the charges that were filed with the indictment were supported by the evidence," Finnell said. "As for the original charging decisions, I would advise that my office and the Batavia City Police Department had discussions regarding the charges that would be filed by BPD, and those that were filed were the most appropriate given the information that was available at the time."

Elmore is accused of fighting with Sanfratello when the 32-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office tried to eject Elmore and Lyndsey J. Wilccox from a bar at the casino.

According to charging documents filed immediately after Elmore's arrest, Elmore left the facility and returned with a heavy metal chain in his hands. The chain was apparently jewelry he was wearing at the time. Elmore is accused of hitting Sanfratello with his fists and with the chains and, at one point, getting Sanfratello in a chokehold.

A source connected to the investigation has told The Batavian that Elmore wrapped the chain around his fist and hit Sanfratello with it wrapped around his fist. Finnell said he couldn't discuss exactly how the defendant may have deployed the chain.

"The information we have about the incident involving the chain specifically is that Mr. Elmore removed it from his neck and held it in his hand as he fought with Sgt. Sanfratello and Batavia Downs Security," Finnell said. "Mr. Elmore threw punches with the chain in his possession. I can’t comment further on the manner in which the chain was utilized."

Elmore's social media posts indicate that he has, on occasion, worn heavy metal chain necklaces. 

The incident that led up to Sanfratello's death began at 12:43 a.m. on March 10, a Sunday morning following a pair of events at Batavia Downs on Saturday night, when Sanfratello and Batavia Downs security responded to the Rush 34 bar for a disturbance. There, Sanfratello confronted Wilcox, 39, of Batavia and ordered Wilcox to leave the building. While being escorted out, she allegedly became combative with Sanfratello. She is accused of hitting Sanfratello several times with the intent to injure him. 

Lyndsey Jean Wilcox
Lyndsey J. Wilcox

As Wilcox was being arrested, Elmore became involved and was also ordered to leave. He reportedly walked out of the building and came back in with a chain in his hand (a chain he was apparently wearing that night).

During the struggle, which included assistance from Batavia Downs security, Sanfratello reportedly tried to deploy his taser in an attempt to subdue the person attacking him.

According to initial reports, Sanfratello suffered a medical emergency during the struggle and became unresponsive. There was extensive effort, according to witnesses, to revive him with CPR. He was later pronounced dead by a county coroner.

Elmore was indicted by the Grand Jury on counts of:

  • Aggravated manslaughter in the first degree, a Class B felony. He is accused of intending to cause serious physical injury to a police officer and, as result, causing the death of a police officer;
  • Aggravated criminally negligent homicide, a Class C violent felony. He is accused of causing the death of Sanfratello with criminal negligence;
  • Assault in the first degree, a Class B violent felony. Elmore is accused of causing the death of Sanfratello while in the commission of another crime, burglary in the second degree;
  • Burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. He is accused of knowingly entering a building unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime in the building and threatening to use or did use a dangerous instrument.

Elmore and co-defendant Wilcox are indicted on counts of:

  • Burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony. Elmore and Wilcox are accused of remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime in the building and, while in the building, causing serious physical injury to another person;
  • Assault in the second degree, a Class D violent felony. Elmore and Wilcox are accused of causing physical injury to a police officer who was in the act of performing his official duties;
  • Obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. The pair is accused of trying to intentionally prevent a police officer from performing his official duty by means of intimidation, physical force, or interference.

Wilcox is separately charged with resisting arrest, a Class A Misdemeanor. She is accused of intentionally trying to prevent her legal arrest.

Elmore and Wilcox will be arraigned in County Court on the counts in the indictment on May 20. 

For previous coverage of the death of Sgt. Sanfratello, click here.

Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello honored by Buffalo Sabres as Fan of the Year

By Howard B. Owens
Remote video URL

As part of Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday, the Buffalo Sabres honored Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello as the team's Fan of the Year.

Sanfratello, a 34-year veteran of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, died in the line of duty on March 10 while dealing with a disturbance at Batavia Downs. Two Batavia residents are accused of resisting arrest. Michael Elmore is accused of using a heavy piece of jewelry, a chain necklace, to hit Sanfratello during a struggle.

The tribute included a video highlighting Sanfratello's career in law enforcement and the bond Tom and his son Ian shared through their love of the Sabres. Ian and his sisters, Kyla and Alexis, were on the ice for a presentation of a memorial jersey to the family.  The Sheriff's Office Color Guard presented the colors and the National Anthem was sung by by Buffalo resident Cami Clune, who also has a bit of a connection to Batavia in that she has performed at Eli Fish Brewing.

For previous coverage of the passing of Sgt. Sanfratello, click here.

Photos: Blue lights in Oakfield honoring Sgt. Sanfratello and as show of support for his daughter

By Howard B. Owens
oakfield blue lights sanfratello

Last week, in the wake of the death of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, the Oakfield Betterment Committee distributed blue lights to local businesses and Oakfield residents.

Betterment Committee President Jamie Lindsley stated:

The Oakfield community likes to support one of their own, as was evident ever since the line-of-duty loss of Sgt. Sanfratello, a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department. Last week, caring citizen Kristen Porter decided to show support for Sgt. Sanfratello's daughter Alexis, who is a student at Oakfield-Alabama Central School, by lighting a blue light in honor of the fallen deputy. Another community member, Kate Engle, took this tribute to the entire community by engaging the assistance of Oakfield Betterment Committee members. Together, they contacted local Home Depots, Lowes, and other stores and arranged pickups and distributions to the entire Oakfield area and some surrounding communities. Joshua Schultz took it upon himself to drive all the way from Syracuse with a delivery of 50 blue light bulbs. A dozen bulbs were donated to illuminate all front windows of School House Manor in the middle of the village. In total, over 300 blue light bulbs were donated and handed out to the community, and each night, the night is brightly lit blue to honor our fallen deputy and show our support as a community for Alexis.

The committee shared these photos with The Batavian.

For prior coverage of Sgt. Sanfratello, click here.

oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello
oakfield blue lights sanfratello

Sheriff Sheron thanks community for support during time of loss

By Press Release
sanfratello funeral at gcc
File photo from Saturday's funeral service for Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello in the Call Arena at Genesee County College of Sheriff William Sheron.
Photo by Howard Owens

Statement from Sheriff William Sheron:

On behalf of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to thank the community, emergency service responders, fellow law enforcement agencies, and state and local government officials for your immense support to the Sanfratello and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office family during our time of loss.  We have received support locally, from across the state, and nationally and your words and gestures are very much appreciated.  Sergeant Sanfratello was a special person to all who knew him, and he will be missed tremendously.

Alexander GOP looking for candidates to fill town board seat left vacant by death of Sanfratello

By Press Release

Press release:

The Town of Alexander Republican Committee is deeply saddened by the loss of our committee member, Thomas Sanfratello.  

Tom started as a Republican Committee member for District #1 and never said "no" as further positions became available.  He didn't hesitate to make himself available when a position became open on the Town Board and then, most recently, a representative to the Genesee County Republican Committee.  Tom's knowledge of civil and town law and his strong commitment to the residents of the town of Alexander made him an exceptional addition to the Board.  He will be sadly missed by all.

Due to New York State Board of Election laws, the Alexander Republican Committee has to act quickly to submit a replacement for Council member Sanfratello.  That candidate will become the Republican candidate in the November 2024 General Election.  The Alexander Republican Committee will have a meeting on Thursday, March 21st, 2024, at 7 p.m. at the Alexander Town Hall.  Any Town of Alexander registered Republican who is interested in becoming endorsed by our Committee for the position of Council member, please contact Chairperson Barbara Eddy at 585-507-9930.  

Recap: Last week's coverage of the passing of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello

By Howard B. Owens
sanfratello riptides
Members of the GLOW Riptide Swim Club honored Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello during its meet last week in Long Island.
Photo submitted by Chris Erion.

For those who may have missed some of the stories and events, here's a recap of our coverage of news and events related to the death of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello:

Remote video URL
This video was shot for The Batavian on Friday when the hearse carrying the casket of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello was escorted from Gilmartin Funeral Home to Genesee Community College in preperation for the funeral on Saturday.  We neglected to publish it on Friday we are sharing it in this post.

'Godspeed GS-9': Sgt. Sanfratello honored in service at GCC

By Howard B. Owens
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Ian Sanfratello recalled what his father meant to the community, to his family, and as a father who shared a love with his son for Sabres hockey during the funeral service on Saturday for Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello.
Photo by Howard Owens.

In a service inside the Call Arena at Genesee Community College, Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello was remembered as a man who was committed to protecting and serving our community, a man who loved his children, and as a man who enjoyed his work and his hobbies.

"Grandma Sanfratello stopped me last night," said Pastor Ryan Macdonald of City Church, who officiated the service. "She said, 'Come here, pastor.' She called me over for a beautiful moment, and she whispered to me, she said, 'Pastor, please tell the people tomorrow how much Tom loved this community. Please tell them tomorrow that Jesus gave us time for a moment, for a season, and then Jesus came, and he walked him through those pearly gates and into heaven.' She went on to tell me, 'Tell the people today that Tom passed doing what he loved to do. No greater love than a man show than that he would lay his life down for his friends. Please tell them, pastor, that Tom loved being a servant and that Tom shared his love as long as he could.' 

"I believe with all my heart," Macdonald added, "that Sgt Sanfratello understood God's love."

Sanfratello died early Sunday morning at Batavia Downs while trying to deal with two customers who had been asked to leave 34 Rush. One of those customers is accused of violently attacking the 32-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, reportedly pulling a heavy chain from around his neck and striking Sanfrantello with it. The cause of death has not been released, but the suspect, Michael J. Elmore, 33, of Batavia, has been charged with manslaughter.

Saturday's funeral was attended by hundreds of first responders, including police officers from throughout the region and from as far away as New York City and Chicago.  There were also hundreds of members of the community at the Call Arena, including friends and family.

His sister Michelle Panasiewicz and his son Ian Sanfratello, along with Sheriff William Sheron, were the speakers.

Panasiewicz recalled growing up with her brother and watching him grow into a man who served his community and loved his family, especially his children, Ian, Kyla, and Alexis.

"Nothing made him prouder than spending time with them and watching them grow into the people that they have become," Panasiewicz said.

Growing up, as siblings do, Tom and Michelle had their differences, but as adults, she said, Tom was the strength of the family.

"When I had a question that my husband Joel couldn't answer, I'd call or text Tom," she said. "More often than not, he had the answer. We leaned on each other when we needed to, and we always knew that we were there for each other no matter what time of day or night without needing words."

She asked how she and the family would go on without Tom.

"I guess I have to learn that I have my family, my friends, my loved ones and we will continue to go on," Panasiewicz said. "This memory will live on, and all of us will continue to have a memorial of some kind. Or, like I said, his memory will never go away. He was loved by too many for his memory to ever go away."

sanfratello sheriff's officer of the year
Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello was twice named Officer of the Year for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, including in 2012, when Gary Maha, right, was sheriff and William Sheron was undersheriff.
File photo by Howard Owens.

Sheron noted that Sanfratello dedicated his entire adult life to serving people, first as an EMT who put himself through training, working in Buffalo and Rochester, as a volunteer for the Alexander Fire Department, as a dispatcher in Batavia, before joining the Sheriff's Office in 1992 as a dispatcher.

"You knew, right from the beginning, there's something special about Tommy," Sheron said. "You know, there are individuals when you hire him, you just go, 'This guy is going to go somewhere. Tommy would take on tasks in the communication room that might have been lingering for years. But Tommy's energy, he just got in there and got it done."

Sanfratello collected Hot Wheels and Legos and attended conventions all over the country for collectors.  He loved children and kept a bucket of Hot Wheels in his office to share with children who visited the office, either with department family members or when caught up in some serious situation.

It's no surprise, then, that one of Sanfratello's favorite duties was helping to organize the Christmastime Shop with a Cop at Walmart.

"He loved doing that," Sheron said. "He loved kids. He loved helping people."

Ian, now himself a corrections officer who graduated from the academy top in his class, recalled seeing his dad in action at work and said he was clearly a leader in the Sheriff's Office.


See also: At Darien Lake, 'Tommy had it under control'


"He did try to steer everybody in the right direction," Ian said. "Even if he didn't see eye-to-eye with someone, he would always have their back and trust them with his life."

He said, "Deputies would tell me how he was the glue that held the department together. They don't know what they will do without him.  One way of looking at it, as I have the past couple of days, when he passed away was he was doing what he loved. He loved working overtime."

Ian recalled how they shared love for Buffalo Sabres hockey. He said he will miss their phone calls -- win or lose, they would critique the games, either what the Sabres did right or what they need to improve. 

"It won't be the same any more ," he said, but he hopes someday he will have a son to carry on the family tradition.

Ian closed his remarks: "Godspeed GS-9."


See Also: A full showing of support for Sgt. Sanfratello


  • To listen to an MP3 of the Last Call for Sgt. Sanfratello, GS-9, Click Here.
  • To view more photos from the service, Click Here

sanfratello funeral at gcc
Michelle Panasiewicz rubbing her hands together the way her brother, Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, would when he was excited about something.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
While members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office salute, the Keystone Club Police Pipes & Drums Corp. enter the Call Arena.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Hundreds of police officers from throughout Western New York and as far away as New York City and Chicago, attended the funeral for Thomas A. Sanfratello.
Photo by Howard Owens
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Sgt.  Kyle Krzemien and Sgt. Andrew Hale.
Photo by Howard Owens
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Pastor Ryan Macdonald
Photo by Howard Owens
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Colorguard entering the service.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Pastor Ryan Macdonald.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Sheriff William Sheron.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Corrections Officer Ian Sanfratello, son of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Officers praying during the service.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Sheriff William Sheron exiting the service.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Sheriff's deputies, including Patrick Reeves, leaving the service.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Fly over by Mercy Flight.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Photo by Howard Owens.
sanfratello funeral at gcc
Photo by Howard Owens.

A full showing of support for Sgt. Sanfratello

By Joanne Beck
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral Saturday at the Richard C. Call Arena at Genesee Community College in Batavia. 
Photos by Steve Ognibene

Several contingencies of law enforcement and first responders represented the region Saturday during the funeral service for Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello, who died in the line of duty March 10.

Throughout the week flags have been set at half mast throughout Genesee County and in downtown Batavia, people have made memorial one-mile runs, the county court house cupola has been lit up in blue, a sheriff’s cruiser has been adorned with flowers by citizens in Sanfratello’s memory in front of the Sheriff’s Office, and countless condolences and heartfelt messages have been expressed via news articles and social media for an undeniable fallen hero.

A burial was scheduled to follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene
Images from Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello's funeral.  Photos by Steve Ognibene

At Darien Lake, 'Tommy had it under control'

By Howard B. Owens
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These are file photos of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello working on one of his favorite details -- law enforcement at Darien Lake concerts.

In 2012, I did a "ride along" with patrols at the concerts to get a first-hand perspective of what went into dealing with all the issues that used to arise on concert nights.

While I had run into Tom on patrol before, working with him at Darien Lake was really my first chance to get to know him a bit.  He struck me as kind, professional, caring, and dedicated.

He took the job seriously without taking himself seriously. There was a complete absence of ego in his approach to enforcing the law.

When two young people climbed up a communications tower, I remember him being simultaneously amused by the folly of it and sincerely concerned about their safety.

At Saturday's funeral service for Sgt. Sanfratello, Sheriff William Sheron spoke of "Tommy" taking charge at Darien Lake.

"As we all know, Tom was the guy out at Darien Lake," Sheron said. "He was the first one there, and he was the last one out. He oversaw that venue for years and years. And again, when Tommy was on, I didn't worry about anything. Tommy, I knew, had things under control. We were dealing with tens of thousands of people and many, many officers. Tommy had it all under control."

Unrelated from Darien Lake, we received two more tributes to Sgt. Sanfratello to share.

Eric Olson, retired from the Sheriff's Office:

I’ve known Tom for a long time.  He is a true friend and law enforcement brother.  I will miss the 4th of July gatherings and the occasional conversations here and there.

From Deborah Shea, principal financial clerk, Sheriff's Office:

As we navigate through these next few days, I’ve thought a lot about my boss, my friend, my co-worker and most of all, my annoying “big brother” this week. 

That’s what comes to my mind when I think of Sgt. Tom (Tommy) Sanfratello.  We worked 50 feet from each other for 12 years, and we argued and teased one another just like brother and sister, even crying once in a while. He was so maddening at times, but at the end of the day, we were friends, and tomorrow was another day. And when he walked out of the office last Friday and said, as always, “See you Monday, maybe,” it was not supposed to be goodbye! 

I would sing along to the radio, and he’d say, “Don’t quit your day job,” and of course I’d say, “You wish!” He’d also say, every day, 10 times a day, “Whatever, Shea!” And on occasion, in typical Tommy fashion, he’d tell you, “Sink or swim!” I never thought I’d ever miss these words!

His presence In our office was larger than any of us could have imagined until we walked back in Monday morning and the loss hit me immediately.  

He had his quirks, his funny habits and definitely a Hot Wheels and Lego fetish, but it was him and who he was.  He loved to read and joke around and make his funny comments.  He loved having his annual Easter egg hunt and fantasy football league.  He wore many hats in our office and has big shoes to fill, and it will be a hard act to follow. No matter what he did in his life and career, his biggest accomplishments are his 3 amazing kids, Ian, Kyla and Lexi. He loved them more than life itself.  He was not a fall-all-over-you or mushy kind of guy, but he honestly had a big heart and really cared for the people closest to him, especially his family, friends and our department for sure. 

Thanks for your friendship and all the laughs.

You will be, as they say, forever missed and never forgotten!

Fly high GS 9

Finally, retired Batavia PD lieutenant James Henning had this to say about Saturday's service:

What a tremendous outpouring of support shown today for the family, friends, fellow citizens and coworkers of GS-9!

The entire wake and funeral service was incredibly organized and a fitting tribute to a great man and public servant.

GCSO, BPD, LPD & NYSP did a fantastic job of working shoulder to shoulder to make this all possible, along with the numerous fire departments and EMS in Genesee County.

Also, the entire staff of GCC for hosting this memorial and area restaurants for catering the gathering at the college afterward.

The police and fire agencies present were amazing from as far away as Chicago PD and NYPD.

R.I.P.  GS-9

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Photos: Body of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello carried to Call Arena at GCC, where services will be held

By Howard B. Owens
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The casket of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, who died in the line of duty on Sunday morning, was carried by Hearst on Friday morning from the Gilmartin Funeral Home to the Call Arena at GCC.

The route went down Park Road, past the Sheriff's Office, then to Route 98, to West Saile Drive, to Bank Street, to Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive.

The casket was then carried into Call Arena by a Sheriff's Office detail prior to calling hours on Friday afternoon.

Sanfratello's funeral will be held in the Call Arena at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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Photos: 'Running for Heroes' at Van Detta in honor of Sgt. Sanfratello

By Howard B. Owens
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Chief Deputy Joesph Graff holds his phone with Morgan Blann on Facetime leading a moment of silence in honor of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello on Thursday night at Van Detta Stadium in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, who died in the line of duty early Sunday morning, was honored by about 50 first responders and family members with a mile run around the track at Van Detta Stadium in Batavia.

The run was part of a national program called "Running For Heroes," which is comprised of young people who run in honor of a first responder who dies in the line of duty.

Thursday's run was coordinated with Morgan Blann, a 13-year-old from New Jersey who connected with runners in Batavia through Facetime and then her actual run was live streamed on Facebook.

Members of law enforcement in her community joined her on her run.

Morgan told the participants that since she was six, she's dreamed of working in law enforcement as a K-9 handler. 

To view a video of Morgan's run, click here.

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Chief Deputy Joesph Graff and Undersheriff Bradley Mazur with other participants in Thursday's "Running for Heroes" at Van Detta Stadium with Morgan Blann on Facetime.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.,

Sheriff's Office Civil and Records Office closed on Friday while staff honors Sgt. Sanfratello

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Civil/Records oOffice will be temporarily closing at noon on Friday, March 15.

For all non-Civil/Records matters, please call:

  • 585-343-5000 (non-emergency 911 Emergency Services Dispatch Center phone line)
  • 585-345-3000 (administrative phone line)
  • 9-1-1 for emergency matters

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but truly appreciate the community’s understanding and patience while we take the afternoon to honor our fallen comrade, Civil Bureau Sergeant Thomas A. Sanfratello. 

The Civil/Records Office will resume normal weekday business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) on Monday, March 18.

Hard work, knowledge, dedication, kindness, and Hot Wheels: Sgt. Sanfratello remembered by those who worked with him

By Howard B. Owens

NOTE: The Batavian reached out to current and former members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office to write up remembrances of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, who died in the line of duty while serving and protecting his community on Sunday morning.  Below are the remembrances we received. While we limited the request this round to people associated with the Sheriff's Office, we will publish more remembrances from the community if we receive a sufficient number.  We invite other first responders, whether in law enforcement, fire services, EMS, or any community group, especially those of his friends and neighbors in Alexander, where he served as a town board member, to submit remembrances.  Email your statements to howard@thebatavian.com, and please be sure to include at least "Sanfratello" in the subject line.  If we receive a sufficient number by Friday evening, we will try to have them published by Saturday morning.  Please also include your full name and any appropriate title in the body of the email.

Former Sheriff Gary Maha:

When I received the phone call early Sunday morning from a deputy, who was assigned to make notifications of Sgt. Tom Sanfratello’s death, I was shocked.  I thought to myself that if this were going to happen to someone, it wouldn’t be Sergeant Sanfratello. He was outgoing, very friendly to everyone and easy to get along with. However, he knew how to do his job and would do it well. It has been very emotional as it has been with his family, friends and especially current and past members of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office who knew and worked with Tom. 

I remember when I hired him as a deputy sheriff in 1996. He was a young, thin guy working in dispatch. I am sure some thought why did they hire him as a deputy! I watched him mature, gain knowledge, and experience, and become an excellent officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2007 and became an excellent road patrol supervisor and supervisor of the Civil Bureau. 

He loved working for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and loved being a law enforcement officer. As someone said, “he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.” Tom was always dependable. If you asked him to do something, he would do it and do it right. He was instrumental in the implementation of our Public Safety Computer System and was a great source for younger officers with his 32 years of experience. He will be missed. RIP, Sergeant Sanfratello, and God Bless You.

Retired Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble:

I remember when Tommy started with the Sheriff's Office as a dispatcher.  He was a skinny, twenty-two-year-old kid.  When they hired him as a deputy sheriff, I remember thinking this is a mistake, he'll never cut it as a deputy.  I was wrong.  Tommy was like a sponge -- a quick learner, a problem solver, always wanting to know more.  

Tommy filled out physically and got involved in as many things as he could.  He was even on the SCUBA team.  He was an overtime hog, working every extra detail that he could.  I wonder how many hours he put in at Darien Lake Theme Park.  He supervised almost every concert, working closely with the theme park managers to make concert nights go as smoothly as possible, and he was fearless.  He was often first into a messy situation, leading from the front.  

Tommy had a great sense of humor, a great smile, and the laugh of someone who enjoyed life. We shared many laughs together. We also shared an addiction. We were both addicted to Mountain Dew. My wife even shared an addiction with Tom: an addiction to the video game Candy Crush. 

I am just one of many, many people who will greatly miss Tom.    

Chief Deputy Joseph Graff:

The loss of Sgt. Sanfratello has been a tragedy for his family, our law enforcement family and our community.  Tom was a valued resource. His most recent role was as the sergeant in charge of our civil division and warrants. Tom always made himself available, whether on duty or not, to answer a question or phone call and was often sought out for his expertise in civil matters.  

Tom had a remarkable ability to recall sections of the law that are not often used and had a system of organization that kept things running.  Even after 32 years in Law Enforcement, Tom was still willing to go out into our community and do the job.  Tom’s heart was evident in the annual Easter egg hunt he would hold at his home, hiding thousands of eggs and inviting the families of our office.  

It was an honor to have had the opportunity to know Tom professionally and personally. His presence will truly be missed in our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sgt. Sanfratello. Godspeed GS 9.

Investigator Chad Minuto:

When I was approached by Howard to provide a memory or story about Tommy, it took me some time to comb through our past twenty years together.  There are so many memories together that it would be impossible to choose just one.  I think I would rather like to say a few words about my friend.  

I myself became a lot closer to Tommy over the past seven years after being promoted to Investigator. I would visit Tommy daily to bend his ear.  Tommy was the pulse of the department.  He was highly adept at how our office operated and played a crucial role in keeping the “engine running.”   Tommy was organized “In his own way” and took a systematic approach to everything he did.   Tommy was an extremely hard worker, a devoted deputy, and someone who cared deeply about the Sheriff’s Office.  His work ethic, experience, and wealth of knowledge will be irreplaceable.   

Tommy not only loved the Sheriff’s Department, but above that, he loved his family and children.  Tommy, himself, was a giant kid at heart.  He was an avid collector of Hot Wheels and Legos, often traveling across the country to attend and work at toy shows.  I remember the smile on Tommy’s face when I told him my son had become interested in Legos.  Tommy would routinely show me sneak peeks of unreleased Legos and share his duplicates of Lego mini figures with my son.  Personally, I think Tommy shared these Legos because he felt bad knowing that I would not find these in stores.  Why, you ask? Well, Tommy had likely cleaned out the inventory locally. 

These past few days have been so surreal, and it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that Tommy is gone. I know there will be times in the weeks and months ahead when something will remind me of Tommy and stop me in my tracks. I welcome these moments, as they will ensure that I will never forget what Tommy meant to this department or me. We will miss you, GS-9!

Dispatcher Jason Holman:

Sgt. Sanfratello, the Sheriff's sergeant, provided a calm and consistent veteran command presence to our office.  He was a leader and mentor to those around him.  He had a large part in the training and development of most of the deputies and investigators we have now.  His long career and vast experience were an asset to new patrols as they came into their own.  His knowledge of the operations of our agency, both out on patrol and within the Civil and Records Departments, will be sorely missed and not easy to replace quickly.  He oversaw special detail assignments/scheduling at locations such as Darien Lake and Batavia Downs.  His command of the staff at those assignments will be difficult to replace.

He was also an advocate for the work we do in the dispatch center because of his history there.  Many times, as the first point of contact with someone in need, that dispatcher can set the tone for a call for service or demonstrate the effectiveness and professionalism of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.  Sgt. Sanfratello understood the importance of recruiting, hiring, training and retaining quality Emergency Services Dispatchers.

As a former union president, he advocated for his members. He was always searching for and often finding ways to improve the quality of life, salary, and benefits provided to our staff.

On the other side, Tom Sanfratello, the man, was a son, brother, father, uncle and, significant other, friend to many who loved him.  Outside of work, he had an affinity for collecting diecast cars, specifically Hot Wheels.  That hobby took him all over the country to shows and swap meets and garnered him a whole different community of friends and colleagues that I'm sure are also feeling the pain of his loss.  More recently, he had taken up collecting and building Lego sets.  What started as fun for him and his youngest daughter, Lexi, turned into another hobby and a large collection.  He was a family man who loved his children.  Ian recently graduated from the Corrections Officer Academy at the top of his class, and I don't think you could wipe the smile off of Tom's face that week.  He was very proud of Ian's accomplishments and the fact that he was able to work alongside him.

I'd also like to remind you that March 21 will be the one-year anniversary of Emergency Services Dispatcher Andrew Merkel's untimely passing.  Our staff is also dealing with the weight of that anniversary.  He shared many qualities with Tom and he is still sorely missed by many at our office.

Lastly, I'll leave you with something that has always struck home with me during a loss.  For those who are hurting during this:

"Keep fighting.  Persevere.  Those who left us too soon are proud of you. Even though they may not have had the chance to say it."

Forgive me, as I don't recall where I once heard/saw that and could not tell you who may have said it.  But some version of those words has stuck with me for a long time as I have dealt with loss in my own life.

Investigator James Diehl:

Tom was a man who never grew up. This is the best way I can describe Tom Sanfratello. 

He loved collecting Hot Wheels cars and Legos. He got giddy like a kid on Christmas when new ones were going to be released or he found a rare Hot Wheels car.  He had knowledge about the different types of cars, which ones were special, what codes meant what, and what cars he had that were overly impressive. Tom kept a bucket of Hot Wheels cars in a drawer in his office and would always tell people to take some for their kids or to hand out. 

I’ll remember the fantasy football leagues that he organized and the drafts he would have at his house.  

My kids and I will always remember the Easter Egg hunts that “Mr. Tom” put on at his house. Tom and I would discuss him prepping for the event, filling 1,000 eggs weeks before the event with candy, Lego figurines, and hot wheel cars, all the things he loved. When I arrived on the day of the event to help put eggs out, it would be three hours before, and he came out of the house with box after box after box of plastic eggs totaling somewhere in the 4 to 5 thousands.

At the same event, he would hide golden eggs with money or a ticket for a large Oliver’s candy chocolate Easter bunny. Tom did all this without asking for a dime. 

In recent years, many of us who attended had to tell him to accept money towards it, but he would still rarely look for help. During the event, he would walk around with his daughter Lexi, watching her and all the other kids run and gather so many eggs they wouldn’t be able to carry the bag they brought with them, and he would smile and take it all in, seeing what kids got the cherished golden eggs. He would ask if the kids got enough, knowing full well that parents were carrying bags bigger than the kids. 

Tom got the same smile on his face during Shop with a Cop. He would help organize the event and liked to float through the store watching kids shop and maybe looking for a stray rare Hot Wheels car at the same time. But I feel like seeing the kids smile and the happiness that was brought towards the kids and families on that day, the good interactions deputies had with people, and the light conversations that developed is what he liked most. 

He brought this same love to talk to people, to joke, sarcastic banter, and kid-like fun to work as well. His office is a perfect display of his personality as it holds toys in every direction. There are multiple-sized Lego cars, Hot Wheels cars in display cases, and a wall of signed photos of Tom meeting actors, including Erik Estrada (Officer Frank Poncherello) and Larry Wilcox (Officer Jon Baker) from the TV Show CHIPS, Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), WWE celebrities Brie and Nikki Bella, John Cena and Bryan Danielson, Candy Clark (Debby) from American Graffiti, Jim Kelly, and Brad Paisley along with so many others. Until recently, a Halloween skeleton dressed as a deputy would sit across from Tom in his office and scare half the people who walked into it.  Closest to his chair, along his desk, were photos of his kids, Ian, Kyla, and “Lexi.” 

As our many conversations would lead us to different topics, he talked about these kids often. He was proud of all of them, especially recently when Ian graduated from the Correctional Academy and was working at the Genesee County Jail. As conversations about kids usually go through the ups and downs of life and the “he/she should do this or that” moments, I remember Tom saying that, most importantly, he wanted them to “do what makes them happy.” I’ll miss our daily conversations, our banters, him telling me like a dad that I’m wrong and being unreasonable. We had many discussions, conversations, and arguments, and Tom could always understand where you were coming from, even if he didn’t agree. 

Retired Investigator Pete Welker:

Tommy and I went through the police academy together back in 1996. We were young and excited to become Sheriff’s deputies. Going through the academy and then field training (FTO) can be very stressful for recruits.  We helped each other along the way and ultimately made it through training.  We then served in different capacities alongside each other for 30 years at the Sheriff’s Office, as well as serving on the union board together for probably 20 of those years.  

Tommy was a very productive deputy (sergeant). Even in his latter years, Tommy would not only take a good amount of overtime, but he would be sure to get things done while working it.  If he took DWI overtime, he would often times make an arrest during that shift.  Tommy was a fixture at the Darien Lake concerts during the summer, supervised those details for years, and could somehow make chaos seem manageable.  He was in charge of the Civil Office, in charge of warrants, and tasked with final approval and merging of all reports.  

Tommy could be stern at times and was a stickler for making sure paperwork was complete, accurate, and on time. That said, however, as union president and even as a union rep before that, Tommy was the first one to stand up for the guys when labor-management issues arose.   

Tommy was very proud of all of his children and spoke of them often.  He and I would usually chat in his office a couple of times a week.  You don’t realize how much you talk to someone until they are no longer there to talk to.  In today’s society, the term “cop” has grown to mean so much more than just someone who makes arrests.  It takes a wide array of skills to maneuver your way through serving communities in today’s world.  Tommy had those skills and was a wealth of knowledge.  Tommy loved being a cop and truly wanted to help people in any way that he could.  We are all saddened by the loss of our friend and co-worker, Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello and it gives me some peace knowing that Tommy took his last breath on this earth doing what he loved and was sworn to do: protect and serve.   

Those that were effected and those that knew him professionally will miss Sergeant Sanfratello, the Deputy. We will miss the playful sarcasm, the laughter, his caring nature, our conversations, experienced wisdom, youthful spirit, partner, father, and friend. We will miss the man who never really grew up. 

Sergeant Tom Sanfratello was often the liaison between the Sheriff’s Office and many other agencies. I believe he loved the interactions, the communication, and, at times, even the chaos that went with the job as well. He loved to work at the Sheriff’s Office and especially at Darien Lake Concert events. It would be rare to work there without him, and he will be missed this year. He would take on so many additional duties and always answer when you needed advice or had questions. He always was there for anyone who needed him. 

Those who were affected and those who knew him professionally will miss Sgt. Sanfratello, the deputy. We will miss his playful sarcasm, laughter, caring nature, our conversations, experienced wisdom, youthful spirit, partner, father, and friend. We will miss the man who never really grew up. 

Retired Dispatcher Gary Diegelman:

I first met Tom when he came into communications in February 1992. He was always willing to learn and fast to learn. Tom always had a great attitude.  I remember him always smiling and laughing. He was very excited to have been hired as a deputy sheriff. He excelled as a road deputy, and after being promoted to sergeant, Tom never forgot where he started in communications.  Every day, he would stop in to say hi. If he needed help, he knew dispatchers were a good place to start.  This will leave a huge hole in the Sheriff's Office. It such a tragic end to a well-loved professional, coworker and  friend.

Retired Deputy Brian Thompson:

Tommy rose through the ranks with hard work and determination. As a patrol officer we got along well and worked on cases together. As a sergeant, he did an excellent job streamlining report-taking and was always available to help with a question or glitch in the systems incorporated over the years. I always appreciated his patience with me or assistance in getting reports done, in the database and recovered for court cases. Enjoyed a lot of laughs and tears with Tom over the years. Our prayers and deepest condolences are with family and friends.
 
Retired Deputy Chris Erion:

Two things stand out when I think of Tom.  He was a supervisor, and where he really excelled was his decisiveness.  He didn’t just sit on the sideline giving directives, keeping his uniform clean.  He followed through with his own directives and was willing to walk shoulder to shoulder with other members of law enforcement into any kind of hornet’s nest we may have encountered. I saw him do this on many occasions when it was called for.  When I learned about his final call at the Downs, it sounded just like Tom to make a decision, and go straight towards the problem to restore order.

The other thing that really pops out when I think of Tom is how he loved his children. This was so obvious.  If he were having a bad day or upset about some circumstance, that would all go away when he started to talk about some event, activity, or success of one of his children.  He was very proud of them!

Lest we forget his Hot Wheels collection – if you didn’t know the difference between a Matchbox and a Hot Wheels, Tom would quickly, thoroughly, and with great passion explain the difference.

Dispatcher Nate Fix:

Tom will be sorely missed. He was not only a born leader in this organization but someone I looked up to; I've been with Tommy since the late 90s at Darien Lake, now Six Flags, as the concert lieutenant. Personally, for the last 15 years, I've worked extremely closely with him. There are endless stories of the nights with Tommy and his leadership at Darien Lake and and how well he did. Tom will mostly be missed by me bedcaue of our 20-year relationship at Darien Lake concerts.

He was a very giving person, particularly started four years ago with his daughter's Easter egg hunt -- 4,000 Easter eggs, doing it all with his own money. He would put all the Easter eggs together with his daughter Alexei. 

Those are just small things that Tommy did. In the end, you look back, and you realize how generous he was. 

Not only will I miss him as a comrade here at the facility, but the town board in Alexander will also miss him. He worked great with the Alexander Fire Department.

It was a year this month that we also lost (Dispatcher) Andy Merkle. So that's also been playing on our minds a year later, we're kind of going through something similar with someone we work with and it's unexpected. 

Tom was a pillar of this organization. There are things that he did behind the scenes of this organization that we're going to have to figure out. I just wish he had the time and took the time to retire and enjoy his retirement and see it. But his long hard work doesn't go unnoticed in his years of service.

And I can't forget our daily talks as union presidents. He was DSA and I was GCSEA.

I hope the Sanfratello family finds comfort in knowing how many people truly love their brother, their uncle, and their father. 

GS-9 will never be forgotten.

Until we meet again, we'll always think of you. 

Genesee County offers moment of silence for sergeant whose 'impact stands as his legacy'

By Joanne Beck
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Genesee County Legislature Chairwoman Shelley Stein added to the many condolences expressed for the loss of Sgt. Thomas A. Sanfratello, who died this past Sunday during an encounter with an individual at Batavia Downs. 

Stein said the 54-year-old was a graduate of Alexander High School, a huge Buffalo Sabres fan, and an avid fan of the New York Yankees. He was also a devoted dad who loved spending time with family, especially his children. 

He began his career on Feb. 29, 1992 at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher and was appointed deputy sheriff in 1996 and 11 years later road patrol sergeant. During his years of service, he twice earned Deputy of the Year and was awarded several commendations, for which colleagues have spoken nothing but praise about his professionalism and contributions. 

“This Legislature body mourns his loss,” Stein said Wednesday during the group’s meeting at the Old Court House. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. His impact on our community stands as his legacy. May we all find comfort in knowing he was protecting us in his service. May you rest in peace, Tom.”

Sanfratello was born in Batavia to Anthony and Dorothy Sanfratello and died on March 10 in the line of duty “while serving and protecting the citizens of Genesee County,” Stein said. 

She asked for a moment of silence before beginning the Legislature meeting to honor a man who has been held in high regard by countless municipal, law enforcement and community members. The county's Old Court House cupola can be seen lit up in blue each evening, and flags have been lowered in Sanfratello's memory.

The Deputy Sheriff’s Association has established a fundraiser to help Sanfratello’s family with expenses, and calling hours from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and an 11 a.m. funeral service have been set for Call Arena at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia, with a burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. 

Sanfratello, who was referred to on Wednesday by fellow law enforcement as a friendly, go-to guy for answers and an incredible human being, is survived by his mother and children, Ian, Kyla, and Alexis Sanfratello; his wife; sisters, nieces, and nephews; his partner; two great-nieces; two great-nephews; along with many cousins and countless friends.

“He also leaves his brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” Stein said. 

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