Chief Carlisle Cochran, better know to the community as “Ty,” will retire from the police force after a 33-year career on July 5.
Cochran, 56, was born and raised in Southold and always wanted to be a police officer, growing up with a father in local law enforcement. He started with the Southold Town Police Department as a patrolman in 1980, was promoted to sergeant in 1990 then to lieutenant in 1996. He became chief in 2000.
The chief said he kept the announcement of his retirement under wraps until the last minute — word came out late Tuesday when theposted their final agenda online. Cochran, who is battling fatigue and shallow breathing from a recurring illness called sarcoidosis, said he wanted to make sure that this was the right time to leave.
“It was a hard decision,” Cochran said during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “But I need to go home now and take care of me.”
North Fork Patch asked Chief Cochran a few questions about his long career with the Southold Town Police Department.
Q: Why did you decide to retire now?
A: I’ve been here for 30 years — 10 years and 10 months as chief — and I’m vice president of the New York State Chiefs of Police Association, and I did want to stay longer, but I got sick again this year, so I just decided: I’ve worked hard for all these years, and it’s just time for me to take care of me and move on with life.
Q: What will be the first thing you'll do on your first day of retirement?
A: I would love to say sleep in, but I know that won’t be the case. I’ll probably do a little golfing. I have a 37-year “honey-do” list that I should also probably start working on. I’m still a fire commissioner and I’m involved in many other things, so it’s not like I won’t have things to do.
Q: What was the most dangerous thing you ever did with the Southold Town Police Department?
A: You know, I’ve always had to say to people who say that “nothing ever happens in Southold” that, yes, New York City has 8 million people, and we have 24,000 — those guys are busier. But we’ve got a few bad guys. I remember being on patrol prior to 1990, going to a domestic off Route 48, and a guy is coming down his driveway at me with a tire iron and a table leg in his hand. I had to deal with that. There were also a few bad car crashes that messed me up.
Q: What is the most important thing you think you’ll take away from your long career in law enforcement?
A: I’m walking away with the feeling that I’ve given the town a fair shake. And the town has been good to me. I’m living my dream. Not too many people grow up knowing exactly what they want to do and end up at the top. This has been a good run, and I’m going home very happy.