DELMAR: Officers take oaths

Bethlehem police officers James Rexford and Christopher Shunk were sworn in Monday, July 16, as the newest patrol sergeants in the department.

I just want to say how proud we are to have these two new sergeants on the force, said town Supervisor Jack Cunningham, who administered the oath to Shunk and Rexford inside town court in front of a crowd made up of family and friends.

Shunk has been in law enforcement for several years, working 12 years in the Albany County Sheriff's Department before becoming an officer with the Bethlehem force in 2003.

"This is a good department, and it's been challenging here," said Shunk. "This is another step in my career."

Rexford served many years as an officer in the town of Coeymans before becoming an officer with the Bethlehem police department in 1998.

There are now six patrol sergeants on duty at any given time with the Bethlehem department, which oversees 22 road patrol officers.

"They are the first-line supervisors assigned to road patrol," said Lt. Thomas Heffernan, who leads the department's traffic safety division.

In addition to their duties overseeing officers on road patrol, both Shunk and Rexford will be responsible for administrative duties.

Police Chief Lou Corsi thanked the town supervisor and board for appointing the two officers at the last town board meeting.

"Thank you, Supervisor Cunningham for your leadership, and I want to thank you on behalf of the department," said Corsi.

Rexford has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree and is working toward a master's degree in public administration at Marist College. Shunk has an associate's degree in criminal justice and has held prior supervisory positions in law enforcement.

Gina Cocchiara, a nine-year veteran of the local police department, has spoken out against the promotion of Shunk and Rexford. Cocchiara placed higher than both Rexford and Shunk in a recent civil service test for the position and wrote a letter to the town board accusing members of the police department of gender discrimination.

Corsi said he would not comment on the matter because it's a personnel issue.

Cocchiara said she was "deeply disappointed" in the manner the promotions were handled by administration.""

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