William Cooley

Place of birth: Buffalo, NY.

What is your profession? Police Officer - Undersheriff, Erie County Sheriff's Office.

How do you celebrate your Irishness? I am the proud son of an Irish mother, Kathleen Cooley, nee McCann, and an Irish father William (Joe) Cooley. I was raised in an Irish and Catholic family.  My family emigrated from Ireland in the 1890's.  My paternal and maternal families settled in Buffalo's Old First Ward and the Irish enclave of South Buffalo.  We all proudly hold onto our Irish traditions, including the central importance of family, community and church. I fondly remember all of the stories of the old people, both their struggles and their successes. They worked so hard to prepare the rest of us for the world we live in today. I ensure our family's Irish history endures, as I have shared these stories with my children and will do so with my grandchildren, both present and future and often times while enjoying some fine Irish cuisine which may include a pint or two.

Name a hero you admire and why? While I have many heroes, locally and nationally, my most important hero is undoubtedly my father.  His unwavering support of me and my siblings looms large in my life, especially in the absence of my late mother that passed away when I was 13 years old.  He held down many jobs, which included a 44-year law enforcement career, a Buffalo School teacher, a scooper on the lake freighters, a Buffalo Firefighter and he was a seminarian where he studied to be a Catholic priest.  It goes without saying that my siblings and I are delighted he exited the seminary after one year when he met my mother while home on break.  His advice throughout my career has been nonpareil and 99.9% accurate.  Had I heeded more than half of this invaluable advice sooner I may have been nominated for this recognition decades ago!

Something people would be surprised to know about me... I have been playing and practicing golf for 45 years and, in spite of my best efforts, I have seen little improvement.

Biography: My wife Rene' and I are the proud parents of a 26-year-old daughter and recent law school graduate Kathleen, a 24-year-old son and Wall St. banker Joe and a 20-year old UB sophomore Grace.  I am the proud grandfather of two grandsons, Brooks and Carmen.  I retired from the Buffalo Police where I worked in myriad capacities including that of a detective assigned to the US Marshals Violent Felony Task Force (8 years) and a detective sergeant in the Buffalo Police Homicide Squad (6 years.)  I have owned/operated a private investigation/security company and a tree service.  Presently, I serve as Undersheriff for the greatest Sheriff in all of NY State and possibly this country, John Garcia.

2024 Heroes of Irish America Awards