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03 May 2019
New York State Police mourn the passing of former Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Keith M. Corlett
Director of Public Information
It is with deep regret and sadness that Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett announces the passing of former Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt on Thursday, following a brief illness.
Harry J. Corbitt served 25 years with the New York State Police before his retirement in 2004. Governor David A. Paterson asked him to return to service as Superintendent of the Division of State Police and was confirmed and appointed on April 16, 2008.
Superintendent Corbitt has the honorable distinction of being the first African-American in the history of the State Police to hold the agency's highest rank.
Superintendent Corbitt joined the State Police on February 20, 1978. Throughout his career, Superintendent Corbitt rose through the ranks serving as Sergeant, Zone Sergeant and Lieutenant. In 1994, he became a Staff Inspector assigned to Employee Relations, where he focused on the issue of racial profiling. He served as an advisor to the US Department of Justice, developing manuals and training materials for other police agencies, including the Ethics and Integrity Manual.
Corbitt became Deputy Superintendent for Employee Relations in 1997, and in 2001, became Deputy Superintendent in charge of Internal Affairs. There, he instituted a computerized system of tracking negative behaviors that provided the agency with information to ensure that NYSP employees provided quality public service.
During his tenure with the New York State Police, Superintendent Corbitt contributed to a number of innovative changes for the agency. He traveled throughout the state to improve community relations and to educate citizens about the valuable role the agency performs. He directed the development of a suicide awareness and prevention training program for agency employees and established a military and veteran's assistance program. He was responsible for the improvement of the NYSP victim's programs by incorporating both specialized child abuse and sex crimes into one Special Victims Unit.
Prior to his State Police service, Superintendent Corbitt was a veteran of the US Army and served in the Vietnam War.
Notably, Superintendent Corbitt appeared on national panels conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Center of American and International Law Institute for Law Enforcement Administration and a board member for the National Organization of Black Executives.
The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the New York State Police are with Superintendent Corbitt’s family.
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