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Bethlehem welcomes first female sergeant

Although the Bethlehem police are retaining the same number of officers in the department, there's one new face and a handful of new promotions, including the town's first female police sergeant.

The police department held a swearing-in ceremony at Town Hall on Monday morning, Aug. 18, for its newest police officer Michael Malatino and the promotions of his fellow officers.

Several members of the Bethlehem Police Department joined town officials and residents to commemorate the event.

Police Master Sgt. James Kerr was promoted to the position of first sergeant; Officer Regina Cocchiara was promoted to patrol sergeant; and school resource and DARE Officer Chad Rice was promoted to police detective.

Bethlehem Police Chief Louis Corsi presided over the ceremony, and he said last week that the promotions and the new hire were the result of a recent retirement, but that the police force will remain at 43 officers.

The ceremony began with Corsi introducing the officers being honored, followed by comments from Supervisor Jack Cunningham. Also in attendance were Deputy Chief Tim Beebe; town Councilman Sam Messina; town Councilman Kyle Kotary; and former town supervisor, Teresa Egan.

We're very proud of your accomplishments, Cunningham told the officers, who were surrounded by friends and family at the Town Hall auditorium.

"This is a big milestone in the town of Bethlehem, because Gina will be our first female sergeant."

As for new officer Malatino, Cunningham said, "He comes to us from Rensselaer with a good record, and we're looking for good things from him."

Malatino is a five-year veteran of the city of Rensselaer Police Department, and he will be assigned to the patrol division. Malatino's father pinned on his badge and his mother held the Bible during his swearing-in.

Corsi told Spotlight Newspapers on Friday, Aug. 15, about the three officers being promoted.

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