He had a wonderful way of starting a conversation in a manner unrelated to the topic at hand. It gave him time to size up the situation and gleam any information that was being communicated without words. George Infante had many dominate qualities. He was a leader. He was a principled person. He was very intelligent, but he never wanted you know that. He was a very compassionate person. A quality he developed because of his deep understanding of people.
George Infante’s professional foundation was that of a police investigator. When George retired from the State Police as Field Commander he was elected Sheriff of Albany County. The legendary state police investigator Hank Williams, told an incumbent Sheriff at the time, “George was the last guy in the world I’d want after me if I’d dome something wrong.”
A stellar work ethic combined with an amazing attention to detail built George’s career in the state police. Arthur Cornelius, Jr., a former FBI agent, was named State Police Superintendent by then Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His assignment was to reorganize, modernize and strengthen the state police. It didn’t take long for Cornelius to figure out the value that George Infante would provide to his challenging assignment. George quickly moved from his investigator's responsibilities to a steady rise up the management ladder at the state police. The Superintendents that followed Cornelius embraced George’s importance to the retooled state police.
George was never appointed Superintendent. He should have been. But the Trooper’s loss was the Sheriffs’ gain. The man who was known as “the Colonel” throughout New York State was now known as the Sheriff. And just like he’d done in the state police he used his intelligence, his fortified principals and his incredible work effort to transition the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. This was a transition that had strong parallels to Governor Rockefeller’s orders to Arthur Cornelius. A transition that lead to one of Sheriff Infante’s hires Craig Apple to be elected Sheriff this year. The first time in the Office's modern history someone had come through the ranks of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office to be elected Sheriff.
George was also known for his appetite and his skill for maximizing the quantity of food available to him. Though the fast food industry is credited with the marketing technique of supersizing meals the concept was developed as a result of a McDonald’s Vice President observing George’s calculated and disciplined attack on a buffet line.
If one were only permitted to highlight one of George’s remarkable career attributes it would be an endless commitment to hard work. After his honorable discharge from the US Army at the conclusion of World War 2, George joined the state police. Two years later he was promoted from trooper to the agency’s Criminal Bureau of Investigation. To put that promotion in prospective it would be like a middle school student graduating early and going to Harvard University. It just doesn’t happen.
George “retired” as Albany County Sheriff and was elected to the Albany County Legislature. Here he fearlessly defended the Sheriff’s Office, senior citizens and veterans. Picking a fight with George on those issues was a losing proposition.
As remarkable as George’s professional career was two priorities trumped it. Number one to George was his family, loving and loyal wife Amy and 6 fabulous children, who in turn gave Amy and George 12 fabulous grandchildren. Second behind his family was Church. This was evidenced by the large contingent of clergy that participated in his funeral Mass.
To touch as many lives in a positive and productive manner as George did places him in rarified air. He was a people person who cared about people. He was a leader who lead by example and unwavering loyalty. Making the world a better place was George’s motivation and he did it without ego. A factor that should not go unnoticed.
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