Morning brings passing of police chief's badge in Adams

CAROLINE WHITE — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
Adams Police officers line up Tuesday to honor their departing chief, Richard Tarsa Jr., and his interim replacement, Troy Bacon, formerly of Frankfort, Ind.
CAROLINE WHITE — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE Adams Police officers line up Tuesday to honor their departing chief, Richard Tarsa Jr., and his interim replacement, Troy Bacon, formerly of Frankfort, Ind.
CAROLINE WHITE - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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ADAMS — After decades spent climbing the career ladder inside the Adams Police Department, then serving as its chief for seven years, Richard Tarsa Jr. bowed out Tuesday morning.

Moments later, Tarsa passed his badge to a new leader, from Indiana, as Troy Bacon was sworn in as interim police chief in a small ceremony on the front lawn of Adams Town Hall.

Jay Green, the Adams town administrator, used the occasion to reflect on how law enforcement "has been brought to the forefront in our national and community dialogue."

On his public Twitter account, Bacon tweeted in May that the officers responsible for George Floyd's death, which spurred Black Lives Matter protests around the country and abroad, should be held accountable. He wrote that the video of Floyd's encounter with Minneapolis police in May was "disgusting and horrible to watch."

Bacon told The Eagle in a brief interview Tuesday that he considers himself community-oriented and looks forward to "partnering with the community to build a strong relationship" and "problem-solve together."

A news release from the city of Frankfort, Ind., where Bacon worked in law enforcement for over 20 years, said he received awards from the local NAACP chapter in 2019 and 2020.

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After Bacon took his oath, he turned to address police officers in the small gathering, saying his goal is to ensure that Adams is the "safest town we could possibly make it."

Bacon will serve as police chief for six months while the town searches for a candidate to fill the role on a permanent basis — a job for which Bacon has the option to apply.

Before the swearing-in ceremony, Green said that, like Tarsa, Bacon had "climbed his own ladder." The interim chief worked for the Indiana department for two decades, including as chief for the past eight years.

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Bacon was one of five candidates for the job and was recommended by a member of the Adams board in part because he would bring a fresh perspective to the department. The other candidates were Jeffrey E. Coe, the former chief of the Dalton Police Department; Erik Josephson, former chief of the Egremont Police Department; and two others from departments in Connecticut.

The ceremony also was held to honor Tarsa, the retiring chief.

"Nothing is given, because it has to be earned," Green said, quoting Tarsa's uncle, John Tarsa, who served as police chief of Adams from the late 1960s to early 1980s.

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Tarsa joined the Adams Police Department in 1984 as a provisional officer. Over the next few years, he rose through the ranks from a full-time reserve officer to a permanent full-time officer. He became a sergeant in 1990, before eventually being appointed as chief of police in a 3-2 vote by the town's top board in 2013. In the late '90s, Tarsa was awarded the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Meritorious Service Award for saving a drowning victim, according to Green.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Tarsa described being chief as "an honor and privilege."

"The Adams Police Department is steeped in tradition, professionalism and committed to the safety and protection of not only our community but also those who visit and travel through it," Tarsa said in the letter.

Tarsa declined an invitation from The Eagle to speak about his career in Adams, saying he was about to travel.

Green said he would remember Tarsa as "all business with a dry wit."

Caroline White can be reached at cwhite@berkshireeagle.com or at 563-513-1065.


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