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Pa. police chief resigns

Greencastle Borough Council had voted to fire him

Greencastle Borough Council had voted to fire him

September 06, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, PA. - It could be several months before the Borough of Greencastle has a police chief.

Chief Peter Mozurkevich resigned early Wednesday, less than 12 hours after his bosses voted to fire him.

Advertisements are being prepared for newspapers and state trade publications, and applicants will be given 45 days to respond to the ad, Councilman Paul Schemel said.

"Optimistically, four months would probably be the minimum" before a chief is hired, Mayor Robert Eberly said.

When Mozurkevich took over for retired chief Terry Sanders in October 2005, the search took seven months, Eberly said.

The Greencastle Borough Council, with member Gerald Pool absent, unanimously voted Tuesday night to terminate Mozurkevich's employment and provide a severance package.

Each council member had his own reasons for termination, but the consensus was that "the fit between the chief and the borough wasn't there," Eberly said.

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"There was no separation or division on the council. I know it was a tough decision, but I think the council made the right decision for Greencastle," Eberly said.

Recent years have been tumultuous for the Greencastle Police Department in terms of staffing, with the resignations of several full-time officers and an increased reliance on part-time officers.

When asked how many officers are on the force, Schemel said, "that's an embarrassing question."

The new schedule for September, made after Mozurkevich's resignation, reflects two full-time and two part-time patrolmen, Eberly said, although other part-time officers remain in the ranks.

Eberly, under Pennsylvania code, will temporarily assume the administrative duties of the police chief, but he said he hopes to put an officer in charge within 10 days.

"The question I've been answering all day is, 'Who is in charge here?' The answer is, 'I am.' The second question was, 'Where do we go from here?'" Eberly said.

The advertisement for a new chief will seek "someone who has been a police officer for a long time or has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice," Eberly said.

The salary will be advertised as up to $55,000, depending on experience.

The council had already been advertising for full-time officers and has civil service exams scheduled for Sept. 12.

Officers are being lured by a sign-on bonus of up to $5,000, Eberly said.

"We require that they have their Act 120 certification," said Schemel, chairman of the public safety committee.

The two full-time officers in Greencastle have been on the force for about a year, Eberly said. Neither shared plans to apply for the chief position, he said.

"I think we're all pulling together and will come out of this better," Eberly said. "We're going to make it."

Mozurkevich was unable to be reached Wednesday. He does not have a listed number and had turned in his borough-issued cell phone, Eberly said.

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