Edison police honor late sergeant who helped diversify the department

Sgt. Joseph Luistro was the first Asian American officer to be hired by the Edison Police Department in 1999.

Joti Rekhi

Jan 23, 2024, 10:56 PM

Updated 141 days ago


An Edison Police Department officer is being remembered for his contribution to helping increase diversity within the community he served for two decades.
Sgt. Joseph Luistro was the first Asian American officer to be hired by the Edison Police Department in 1999. Prior to that, he worked as an officer with the Rutgers University Police Department, which was also his alma mater.
"Joe was instrumental from day one in helping me diversify the police department to what it is today," said Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan. "Not only was he a great officer, but he was a great human being."
Luistro retired from the Edison Police Department in 2020, after learning he had been diagnosed with ALS. He lost his battle with the disease on Jan. 18 with his family by his side.
Several officers have been honoring his legacy and paying their respects during visitation at the Boylan Funeral Home this week. He will be laid to rest on Jan. 24.
Sgt. Neel Patel said Luistro served as a mentor to him. He looked up to Luistro and grew close to him through the New Jersey Asian American Law Enforcement Law Enforcement Officers Association, where Luistro served as president.
"Growing up, I never saw officers of Indian descent, like me. And Joe always said, there's always a first,” Patel said.
Patel said hundreds of officers can credit Luistro with guiding them over the years, particularly as a supervisor in the Patrol Division. He would always make himself available to answer any questions and was never judgmental.
"You would call him and bounce an idea off of him," recalls Patel. "He would always have an answer for it. He wouldn't belittle you and would say, 'Listen you're learning. Every day you're learning.’”
Luistro was committed to helping out his community through various volunteering events and organizations. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
"One daughter works for me - Hannah. She's a terrific person and a wonderful singer too by the way," said Bryan. "And perhaps she wants to lead the life of a law enforcement officer moving forward. We'll see if we can make that happen in the future."

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