Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Walter J. "Corky" Alberts Sept. 22, 1930 - Feb. 13, 2014 Instrumental in Transforming Allegheny County Police Force

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Walter J. "Corky" Alberts Sept. 22, 1930 - Feb. 13, 2014 Instrumental in Transforming Allegheny County Police Force

Article excerpt

Walter J. "Corky" Alberts joined the Allegheny County Police Department in 1959 when it essentially was a security force patrolling North and South parks and Pittsburgh International Airport.

That all changed in 1976 when Mr. Alberts, who had risen through the ranks to assistant superintendent, worked with Superintendent Robert G. Kroner to nearly double the 110-man force, transforming it into a highly trained professional department of officers and detectives.

The creation of the force we now know fulfilled the vision of county commissioners Tom Foerster and Leonard C. Staisey, who wanted a professional department to provide investigative expertise and assistance to local municipalities.

Mr. Alberts of Mount Washington, who retired from the force in 1992, died Thursday in the Grand Residence of Upper St. Clair. He was 83.

Current county police Assistant Superintendent James Morton, who joined the force in 1973, said Mr. Kroner, who died in 2005, and Mr. Alberts were the "founding fathers" of the current county police department and "two of the best bosses I've ever worked for." When the investigations branch was formed, Mr. Morton, at the time a patrolman at the airport, was among the group to be chosen as detectives for the fledgling unit. He now is the lone remaining person on the job from that initial group of investigators.

"It was a learning process and he was part of that. We had no investigators and all of a sudden we had to jump into investigations. Corky was very supportive.

"He was very personable, you could talk to him. There are some bosses you can't communicate with. He was very open about being [approachable]. I really liked him as a boss and as a person. I can't say enough about Corky."

Among Mr. Alberts many friends was former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr. The two men met when Mr. Alberts was a patrolman and Mr. Zappala was working for Mr. Staisey.

"Corky was a solid, personable person, a good friend who had great, great depth as far as family."

Mr. Zappala said Mr. Alberts never forgot his humble origins growing up in the Hill District. …

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