George Mason University

News at Mason

In Memory: Former Mason Police Lt. Joseph Pignatiello

February 7, 2012

By Erin Cushing


Lt. Joseph Pignatiello, left, is shown with Mason Sgt. Thomas Green. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bannon

The Mason community mourns the death of retired Lt. Joseph Pignatiello, a 20-year veteran of Mason’s University Police. Pignatiello passed away on Feb. 1.

A native of Arizona, Pignatiello relocated to Washington in the early 1980s to take a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) fingerprint analysis unit. After leaving the FBI, he worked as a dispatcher for the Herndon Police Department. Then he joined University Police and attended the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, graduating in August 1986.

Over the next 20 years, Pignatiello held a variety of roles and positions within University Police. He became certified as an accident reconstructionist, a field training officer, a forensic sketch artist and a polygraph examiner. He was promoted from police officer to master police officer, then to sergeant. He achieved his final rank of lieutenant in 2000. During his tenure with University Police, Pignatiello served as the department’s investigations supervisor, patrol shift supervisor, quartermaster, special events coordinator and operations commander for the Fairfax Campus.

“He was a very respected member of the George Mason community during his time of service,” says University Police Sgt. Bruce Jackson.

Pignatiello retired from Mason on March 17, 2006. He moved back to Arizona, where he worked as a civilian polygraph examiner in Phoenix until his last illness. He is survived by his wife, Starr, and his three children, Daniel, Joshua and Melissa.

Friends and colleagues are invited to attend a memorial service on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Centreville United Methodist Church, which is located at the intersection of Braddock Road and Rt. 28.