INVASION OF PRIVACY: Village Police chief on Geneseo, life, the law

Geneseo Village Police Chief Eric Osganian has more in common with Geneseo students than most would assume. He is kind, funny, and is a former Geneseo student himself, graduating in 1991. Originally from Troy, N.Y., Osganian returned to Geneseo in 1992 to be a police officer and has remained here since.

As a former student, Osganian knows what the college experience is like. He even recalled, as a fraternity brother, going to the nearest bar and calling a complaint on his own party just to get everyone out of their house. Osganian said that it is weird for him to be "on the other side of the fence," having hosted such fraternity parties throughout his undergraduate career.

As a former Geneseo student, Osganian knows that parties are a part of the college experience, and therefore wishes he could refrain from stopping the ones he's called to. But as a police officer, he must do his job.

Osganian has been an officer for the last 15 years, and for the past 38 years he has known that is what he wanted to do. Without the option of a criminal justice major, Osganian instead chose economics, which he describes lightheartedly as "one of the most boring majors."

But for his past three years as police chief, he is finally putting his economics degree to good use. Osganian's main duties are administrative, largely dealing with obtaining grant funding, which he finds to be the most rewarding part of his job. With these grants, the police force is able to purchase important equipment, such as bulletproof vests, safety seats for children, traffic cones and a wireless network for the police cars.

The biggest challenge, according to Osganian, is personnel issues, coupled with his responsibility to take part in the bureaucracy of the village board.

While there are headaches, he said, they are few, and Osganian receives good support from his fellow officers. It was a little difficult for him when he received his promotion, since he was an officer with many of the men who are below him now, but it is all part of the hierarchy of things, he said. He just wants to keep everyone happy, despite the challenges standing in the way. He considers this something of a competitive streak, which has helped him throughout his career. He described his inspiration simply as "the idea of trying to do a good job."

In his spare time, Osganian used to play a lot of sports, including basketball with the Geneseo high school junior varsity team. "But all that has changed," he said with a smile and a picture of his wife, his two stepdaughters, and their new baby girl named Nellie, who was born last month. He has no regrets, saying that "it's not like I'm missing anything" by going home to be with his family instead of playing sports.

His stepdaughters are older, ages 8 and 10, so now that he has a newborn in the house he understands how important it is to spend time with children when they are younger. Osganian has also become more sympathetic to other officers, if for instance one of them had to leave early to be with their family.

Osganian's two biggest passions are his work and his family. He feels lucky to enjoy his job and colleagues, and he's motivated to make his parents and family proud.