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Versailles continues search for police chief

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 3:41 a.m.

The search for a replacement police chief in Versailles continues.

Council members said at Monday's meeting that 15 people have applied for an opening in the department made last month when longtime police Chief William Kruczek submitted a letter to the borough announcing his retirement.

Tuesday is the deadline for submitting applications. Borough officials say they hope to narrow down the list of serious candidates before conducting interviews with those individuals. The borough has not set a target date for hiring the new chief.

Sgt. Charles Roka has been overseeing the department since Kruczek retired. A number of residents said they think he should be given the job of chief.

Resident Amber Bacon said Roka knows the community.

“He watches our backs all the time,” she said.

Councilman Gary Roscoe said he would like to see Roka hired.

“He has my full support for the job,” Roscoe said.

Roscoe complained to fellow councilors that he hadn't been given an opportunity to discuss the hiring criteria with them.

Councilwoman Cheryl Flaherty said the borough wants to hire a candidate with lots of administrative experience.

Kruczek had worked about 47 years in law enforcement before retiring.

His service was interrupted by an extended furlough in 2009.

A change in council membership resulted in the department being reformed in early 2010, a move that required a millage increase.

At the meeting, Mayor James Fleckenstein said the borough still is trying to get Kruczek to return a computer he took with him. Fleckenstein said Kruczek asserts the computer belongs to him but the mayor said it belongs to the borough.

Solicitor Pat McGrail said she has been unable to contact the former chief directly about the computer because he has hired an attorney — Charles LoPresti — to represent him. She said she will contact LoPresti about the matter but asked the mayor to provide information first that can prove the computer belongs to the borough.

On a related note, the mayor said morale in the police department remains high even though officers are working overtime because of the manpower shortage.

The department has two full-time and six part-time officers.

Borough resident and former councilwoman Amy Barnes reiterated a complaint she voiced at a meeting last month, that the police department isn't adequately investigating a death threat she reported on June 5.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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