CATSKILL — David Darling confirmed Wednesday that he has retired as Catskill village police chief after 17 years on the job. His retirement became official Monday.
The Catskill Village Board of Trustees was expected to name Lt. Ronald Frascello to succeed Darling as chief at its meeting Wednesday night.
Darling, 75, was appointed Catskill police chief in September 2005 after a 35-year career with the New York State Police, most recently as senior investigator with the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served at age 19 as a U.S. Army military police patrol supervisor in 1967 in the An Kag Province. He served with the military police from 1966 to 1969.
After leaving the Army, he spent one year with the Saugerties Police Department before joining the state police Nov. 12, 1970. His tenure with the state police was the longest in a lifetime career in law enforcement. He retired from the state police Sept. 7, 2005.
As a state police investigator, Darling was a significant figure in several celebrated local criminal cases including the Latin Kings Murder and the still-unsolved disappearance of Audrey May Herron of Freehold in August 2002.
In the Latin Kings case, convicted gang member Isaac Torres was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for his role in the shooting death of fellow gang member John “J.J.” Huntt.
Torres, 25, was in the car that took Huntt to the Cairo site where the killing took place July 1, 2001, and he allegedly helped obtain the gun that fired the fatal shot. Torres, who is from Hudson, was to go on trial for murder in November when he agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for the 10-year prison term.
The triggerman in the Huntt killing, 23-year-old Danny Rodriguez, also of Hudson, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.
As part of his plea deal, Torres agreed to testify at the trial of Daniel Faccio and George Faccio, 30-year-old twin brothers who were the reputed local leaders of the Latin Kings gang and who orchestrated Huntt’s killing.
Daniel Faccio, who is from Cairo, was acquitted of second-degree murder and all other charges against him. George Faccio, also from Cairo, who allegedly drove the car to the scene of the shooting, was acquitted of second-degree murder but convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in state prison April 5, 2002.
In what turned out to be Darling’s final major case as police chief, suspect Jason Jones was severely burned after he doused himself in hand sanitizer in the Catskill police station and was shot with a stun-gun by officers Oct. 30, 2021. Jones died several weeks later in a hospital. The incident is under investigation by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
“That case was first investigated by Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione and then it went up to the state attorney general,” Darling said Wednesday.
Darling’s proudest moment in law enforcement extended over a period of years.
“Several state police officers under me were promoted after I left,” Darling said. “They got the recognition they deserved. They were excellent officers and that was very gratifying.”
He also had high praise for the officers serving under him on the Catskill Police Department over the years.
“They have been excellent at community policing,” Darling said. “You always get a lot of negative stuff, but we hear a lot of compliments too. I’m proud of everybody I’ve worked with from the state police right on down.”
Darling said his plans for the immediate future are to relax and enjoy time with family. But he leaves law enforcement with a few regrets.
“It’s not easy to leave something you know well, but there comes a time when you have to say goodbye,” Darling said. “I have six grandchildren and they all live locally. I’m going to spend a lot of time with them.