Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera will be missed

Former Lorain Police Chief Celestino (Cel) Rivera, who retired as the International City’s Top Cop in 2019, will leave a legacy, not only to the Lorain Police Department, but also to the community.

Rivera, 72, of Wakeman, died of natural causes June 22 at Fisher-Titus Medical Center after being admitted to the emergency room.

Shortly after his passing, news quickly spread through the community.

The man who spent 49 years as a Lorraine policeman is gone.

Although Rivera retired, he still served the Lorain community.

In December 2020, Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley appointed Rivera to the Lorain Academic Distress Commission.

Recently, Rivera participated in the Ohio Hispanic Veterans Memorial Project to create a monument to honor veterans of Latino descent.

Often, Rivera would speak to groups and talk about his years in foster care and the fact that he had dropped out of high school when he was 16.

He then joined the military and served in Vietnam, working toward his high school diploma while in the military.

Back in the Cité Internationale, he joined the Lorraine police in 1971 and quickly rose through the ranks.

He was appointed acting chief on September 26, 1994, and was assigned to the permanent position on March 13, 1995.

On May 31, 2019, Rivera, who was 69, announced at Mayor Chase Ritenauer’s final press conference before resigning to take a job in private industry, that he too was ending his career in law enforcement. law.

Rivera was trying not to be emotional, but he admitted his voice was breaking as he spoke.

But, he felt good about his decision to quit.

Following Rivera’s death, Morning Journal reporter Heather Chapin interviewed Bradley, current Lorain Police Chief James McCann, and Victor Leandry, executive director of El Centro De Servicos Soc, a Latino organization in nonprofit and longtime friend of Rivera.

Bradley described Rivera as a very fair person who always made sure everyone was treated fairly.

We believe many others would offer the same feeling.

Ironically, Bradley admitted he had a sometimes contentious prior relationship with Rivera.

Bradley, a criminal defense attorney before taking over as mayor in 2020, knew the chef from his work representing not-so-tasty individuals Rivera was trying to keep behind bars.

There was a lot of bitter action between them.

However, Bradley respected Rivera and appreciated him for his service in the Vietnam War, in the Lorain Police Department, and for his contributions to the community after his retirement.

So much respect that Bradley named Rivera to the Lorain Academic Distress Commission.

In fact, Bradley had an appointment scheduled to meet with Rivera on June 27 about the Ohio Hispanic Veterans Memorial Project.

Bradley is convinced that if the monument is built, it will bear Rivera’s name.

Leandry was also deeply saddened by Rivera’s passing saying his friend made people feel so special. He said the former leader was a man of integrity and strong family values.

Rivera and Leandry worked together on the Ohio Hispanic Veterans Memorial Project and he recalled how passionate Rivera was about the project.

McCann was another individual and fellow officer who is touched by Rivera’s passing.

Rivera continued to advise McCann until his death.

McCann had a close relationship with Rivera and relied on his predecessor’s advice when trouble was brewing.

Additionally, McCann noted that Rivera was involved with the Church of the Sacred Heart of Lorain and that his faith was important to him.

McCann said Rivera’s death is a loss, not just to himself, but to the community, and he’s right.

Lorain Gendarmerie issued a statement on Rivera’s death on his Facebook page saying his commitment to service, compassion and dedication for nearly 50 years of service has left an impression on the citizens of Lorain.

What Rivera accomplished during his tenure at the Lorain Police Department will forever be remembered by those who worked with him.

Lorain’s officers will continue to honor Rivera’s legacy by continuing the mission to which he was so committed.

In a Morning Journal article published on November 30, 2019, Rivera said, “I will miss the men and women of the department; that’s what I’ll miss the most. I always said I was not a hero, but I had the opportunity to walk with heroes every day. I will continue to be involved in the community and look forward to seeing what James and the department do in the future.

We salute Rivera for his career and his contributions to the town of Lorain.

Good job, Chief Rivera.

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