By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — KENMORE — The village’s former police chief, Carl LaCorte, who served Kenmore in the department for 44 years, died Wednesday, officials said. He was 66.
His death comes just months after his retirement from the force in November.
“He was truly a great police chief, police officer and a great individual,” Mayor Patrick Mang said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work he has done ... he was a friend to me, and he was truly just a wonderful person.”
LaCorte held every rank in the police department, starting as a patrolman in 1968. In an interview at the time of his retirement in November, LaCorte jovially looked back on his decades of service — noting that when he began, he didn’t have a radio, and he made his own bullets.
Much changed between 1968 and 2012, and LaCorte oversaw many technological improvements, including the installation of computers in police vehicles. LaCorte said when he began, warrant checks used to take three days. Now, officers can complete them right in their cars in just minutes.
And he was also around for the beginnings of 911 in 1976, when a dispatching error caused a 13-minute delay in getting to a home on Victoria Avenue after the resident, Amelia DeLong, called about an intruder who was attacking her.
The delay and mistake likely resulted in DeLong’s death.
The murder acted as a catalyst for improvements to the 911 system — steps, along with many others, that LaCorte oversaw. The events also helped shape how LaCorte taught his officers.
“He made a lot of changes with equipment and was always on top of up and coming technologies,” Mang said. “He brought the department into the new era.”
In November, LaCorte said he was retiring to spend more time with his family, but hoped to continue teaching at the police academy.
Calling hours will be held at Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive from 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.
The funeral will be at the same location at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150