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Edison NJ's first Asian American cop dies after ALS battle

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A trailblazing Asian American police officer in Edison, New Jersey, is being remembered for his valuable contributions and impact to the community.

What happened: Sergeant Joseph Vincent Luistro, the first Asian American police officer of Edison Township, died in his home surrounded by family on Thursday, according to his obituary. He was 55.

Luistro died after a years-long battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal disease characterized by a progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It causes a loss of muscle control.

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About Luistro: Born in Toronto and raised in Jersey City, Luistro, who is Filipino, graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor's degree in administration of justice and a certificate in criminology. He began his law enforcement career in the university’s police department in 1993 before joining Edison police in 1999. He was promoted to sergeant in 2016, serving as supervisor in the patrol division.

Luistro also served as an executive board member and president of the New Jersey Asian American Law Enforcement Officers Association from 2008 until his retirement in 2020. He ran as a Republican Township Council candidate in 2021.

Remembering his legacy: In a Facebook post announcing Luistro's death on Friday, the Edison Police Department honored him for contributions, noting that his “impact extends far beyond his exemplary career.” The department said his legacy lives on through his "dedication to recruiting and mentoring new officers, especially from diverse backgrounds."

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Edison Mayor Sam Joshi described Luistro as a kind, noble and respected man who left a great impact on everyone, as per My Central Jersey. He also highlighted Luistro’s role in leading the effort to diversify the police department, which now has officers speaking various languages such as Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Portuguese and Spanish.

 

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