New police chief dedicated to North Belle Vernon
Now that the waiting is over, North Belle Vernon police Chief Eugene Lipari can breathe a little easier.
Council hired Lipari as chief at a Tuesday meeting. He had served as acting chief for a month.
Lipari, an assistant fire chief in Fallowfield Township, has served on the North Belle Vernon force for 19 years.
He was hired as Chief Jim Bedsworth's lieutenant in 2000 after working part time in the borough.
When Bedsworth retired June 28, council put Lipari in charge while searching for a new chief.
Councilman Brett Berish, Public Safety Committee chairman, said Lipari was his guy from the start.
“Eugene was loyal to us for 19 years, and he's a good, solid cop,” Berish said. “It was an easy decision for me. I think he has the right demeanor and personality for the job, and I think he really fits the borough.
“He's the type of guy I want for North Belle Vernon.”
Lipari is happy the search has ended.
“You always question whether or not you are going to get the job,” Lipari said.
Bedsworth said he recommended Lipari to succeed him. The retired chief said he's proud of Lipari and of council for its decision.
“He has a great ability and he's very capable of talking to people,” Bedsworth said of Lipari. “He can talk to people, but more importantly, he listens to people.
“He was a great asset for me. He helped keep track of purchases for the department. ... And if we needed something fixed, he knew exactly who to call.”
Bedsworth predicted good things for Lipari.
“He's going to do a great job,” he said. “And I'm sure he knows that if he ever needs anything, my phone is always on and my door is always open.”
Lipari said he has made some subtle changes internally to the department.
“My main priority is to provide a safe community for the people that live here,” Lipari said. “I think it's very important to have your community's support.
“I want to work on having a good rapport with members of the community and those in the business district on Broad Avenue.”
Lipari said he wants officers to increase foot patrols and plans to meet with all officers soon.
“I really want the police to have more of a presence in the community, and I want to get the public more involved into the public safety aspects of the community,” he said.
The new chief wants to reach out to the borough's only school and work to form a plan in case of an emergency.
“I'm going to reach out to St. Sebastian's to come up with an action plan,” Lipari said of the private Catholic school. “I want people to know that we are going to do what we can to make sure those kids are safe.
“I want to reach out to other jurisdictions, maybe have some sort of drill. ... I think it's important to have an action plan in place.”
Lipari has some holes to fill in the department's roster with at least one officer set to move on to another career opportunity. With Ron Van Scyoc's promotion to lieutenant, his former sergeant post will have to be filled.
“I'm going to actively pursue new, qualified people to fill some positions,” Lipari said. “I'm also going to look to have a standardized training system in place.”
With challenges ahead, Lipari has jumped right into the position and intends to end his career in North Belle Vernon.
“I've devoted my career to this town,” Lipari said. “Everything I do here as chief, I will do with the borough's, the department's and the citizens' best interests in mind.”
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.