DELMAR — Louis Corsi spent 41 years in law enforcement — 17 of which spent as the town’s police chief — before he finally decided to retire in front of 100 friends, family and fellow officers.
With the social climate in turmoil, Corsi said he’s confident in the people he is leaving behind, but that he’s “never far away.”
I asked Corsi a few questions just following his retirement ceremony on Thursday, July 30.
You had 41 years of service, how much change did you see?
Corsi: “How much time do you have? You know, when I came on the job, we were a one-man band out there. You did everything yourself. There wasn’t a lot of support. There was very little interagency, or other agency, communications. But, as time has changed, with the dynamics from 9/11, we have become a bigger family because we realize crime is not a localized issue. It’s a regional as well as a national issue. So, we have to work together — pull together — and face these challenges head on. It’s not easy.
There’s a lot of division right now in our country. People need to take a step back for a minute and take a deep breath. We need to take a look at the big picture and ask ourselves change for the purpose of change means nothing. We need to change for a reason, and you need to demonstrate that reason to make. As I said, I’m very proud of the people who work here in Bethlehem. This is one of the greatest: It’s a platinum police department in New York. It will continue to be a platinum police department. These are great, great individuals. I give my heartfelt thanks to every one of them. Every single day, for what they do for the people of this community. So God bless them.
There are three people vying for your position. What kind of advice do you have?
Corsi: The thing that’s very important, the chief has to take a real good, open look at everything that goes on. You have to take your time and you have to use good judgment. And, you have to work together. We rely on each other. For the opinions, at the end of the day, the direction is set by the chief, but you don’t do that in an isolated box. You do that collectively with your command staff in your department, and more importantly, you do that with the community. That’s where I see this going. That’s where I hope that the next chief will take a moment, just to look at and evaluate. Make a good, informed decision, and then move it forward.