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City of Niagara Falls Welcomes New Fire Chief, Police Chief

Press Release from Niagara Falls

Today marks a special day for Niagara Falls. As we say goodbye to Superintendent John Faso and Fire Chief Joe Pedulla after years service, we hope to continue that same tradition of excellence with their successors. We welcome Superintendent Nicholas Ligammari and Fire Chief Gary Pochatko as commanding chiefs of Police and Fire respectively.

City of Niagara Falls Restaino Pedulla Faso Ligammari Pochatko

Capt. Nicholas Ligammari was born and raised in Niagara Falls and graduated from Niagara Falls High School (1986), Canisus College (1990), and earned his Master’s of Science degree from Buffalo State University (1998). After working for UPS, he took the Civil Service Exam, hoping for a more exciting career, and became a police officer in the NFPD. After 29 years on the force his career doesn’t get more exciting than commanding the men and women of the Niagara Falls Police Department. Superintendent Ligammari hopes to evolve the job and continue community relations not only with the community they protect and serve but with other agencies/departments as well. He believes sharing resources and working together will help the community in the long run.

“I am pleased with the selection of Nicholas Ligammari as the next Superintendent of Police for the Niagara Falls Police Department. Nick and I were hired together, attended the Academy together, and were partners in Patrol. I know firsthand the kind of person he is and I am confident he will be an excellent leader for this department. Nick has spent the past 28 plus years serving this department and the citizens of Niagara Falls in various roles with the NFPD. The one thing that has always shined through is his integrity, dedication, and professionalism. Not only is he an excellent Police Officer, Nick is also a great person. I am excited to see the direction this department is headed with Superintendent Ligammari in command.” - Superintendent John Faso


Capt. Gary Pochatko is also a Niagara Falls native who graduated from LaSalle High School (1986) and Niagara University (1990). After years of crunching numbers as an accountant, he wanted something different. Capt. Pochatko realized that he did not want to sit behind a desk for hours at a time. After being inspired by his father-in-law, who was also a firefighter, decided to join the NFFD in September 2001. Fire Chief Pochatko feels that his years of accounting plus his 21 ½ years of experience as a firefighter will help him be of service to the Niagara Falls Fire Department. He also believes communication is key and wants to improve the job of a firefighter. Through finding different updated methods of training, he wants to make the job better for the members of the NFFD.

“I am very pleased with the selection of Gary Pochatko as the next Fire Chief for the City of Niagara Falls. I have served with Gary on both the Union and Mutual Aid Executive Boards over the years and can attest to his professionalism and suitability for this position. Gary has the right work ethic and mindset to lead this department going forward. I wish him well and look forward to seeing this department grow under his leadership.” - Fire Chief Joseph Pedulla   


“I first want to thank Superintendent John Faso and Fire Chief Joseph Pedulla for their years of dedicated service to our city. I look forward to working with Superintendent Nicholas Ligammari and Fire Chief Gary Pochatko as we continue the tradition of serving the community and keeping our residents safe.”  – Mayor Robert Restaino

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