Celebrating 25 years of service: Exclusive interview with retiring Elmira Police Chief Joe Kane

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – After 25 years of service, Elmira Police Chief Joe Kane is retiring. He sat down with 18 News for an exclusive interview about his tenure on the force and his future endeavors.

Kane joined the department in 1996 and was appointed as Chief in January of 2016. When asked about his career, he says he has no regrets and is grateful to the community.

He announced his next venture will be just down the street from where he sits today.

“I’ll be at Elmira College, so I won’t be going too far. Just down the street,” Chief Kane said.

When asked about changes in policing during his two and a half decades of service, he said the biggest change is in the technology used, including body cameras and cellphones.

There are problems left unsolved, though, including organized crime and drug use in the city.

“We are no different than any other city across the nation,” he said. “We have the same things happening here that are happening in Rochester, New York City or Los Angeles. When I was in the drug unit, I never thought that I would see heroin in the City of Elmira.”

He went on to describe the ongoing problem with prescription medication, heroin and violence in the community. He believes there is more work to be done.

“We have our gangs. We have our drug problems. We know that we’ve been suffering a very high level of violence in the City of Elmira recently,” he continued.

Discussing police reform, Chief Kane said he is proud of the changes the city has made in the last year, making the entire department more accountable.

He served in numerous roles with the Elmira Police Department, including Traffic Bureau Investigator, Public Information Officer, Police Patrol Sergeant, Evidence and Identification Sergeant in the Detective Bureau, Sergeant and Commanding Officer of the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), and Lieutenant. Kane has also served on the S.W.A.T. Team, the Honor Guard Team, and the Community Response Team.

In November of 2013, Kane was assigned as Acting Captain and Commanding Officer of the Detective Bureau, and was promoted to Captain in 2014.

Kane graduated from Elmira Free Academy and Corning Community College prior to joining the Elmira Police Department.

For the interim, Deputy Chief Anthony Alvernaz will serve in the top role. The Elmira City Manger and Elmira City Council will appoint the next Chief.

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