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Northern Regional Police create, fill captain position

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

John Sicilia Jr. remembers once running a red light while driving along Route 8 in Shaler.

He was 16 and terrified, with a carload of friends.

Sicilia Jr. also remembers the Shaler police officer who pulled him over, but stopped short of handing him a traffic ticket.

“I remember how appreciative I was ... Sometimes a warning will go a lot farther than hammering someone with a citation,” said Sicilia Jr, 39, of Cranberry, new captain of the Northern Regional Police Department.

“I've behaved myself since,” said Sicilia Jr., son of John Sr. and Sue Sicilia of Center Township, Butler County.

John Sicilia Sr. used to operate the former Superstar Sports store on Mt. Royal Boulevard in Shaler.

Siciia Jr. formerly held the title of sergeant in the Northern Regional Police Department, which serves Richland, Pine, Marshall and Bradford Woods.

Sicilia Jr. — who has never been forced to fire a weapon on duty — started his new job on June 1.

The new captain remembers fearing for his life, however, while wresting with a naked, 300-pound man determined to throw himself from the second-story deck at a Marshall Township residence. Sicilia feared the deck would collapse.

A 1991 graduate of Shaler Area High School and a Westminster College alum, Sicilia is the first law officer in his family.

“I was always fascinated with police work,” Sicilia said. “I remember the Shaler police, and how sharp they looked.”

Sicilia also is a graduate of the Allegheny County Police Academy in North Park, and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. He is commander of the North Hills Special Response Team, a para-military tactical team of officers from a number of police departments in northern Allegheny County.

Sicilia Jr., who has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, joined Northern Regional Police Department in 1997. He previously worked as a police officer for the University of Pittsburgh and the boroughs of Franklin Park and Oakmont.

Robert Amann, chief of the Northern Regional Police, praised Sicilia's solid character.

“His credibility is beyond reproach. He has done an outstanding job for us,” Amann said, also describing Sicilia as being “very good with the public.”

The Northern Regional Police Board — a panel of elected officials from Pine, Marshall, Richland and Bradford Woods — interviewed and appointed Sicilia to his new position.

“We did not have a captain's position before,” Amman said. “With the size of our police department ... the workload for the operation and the management of the police department was such that I made a request for the board to create the management position of captain.”

In his new job, Sicilia Jr. spends most of his time behind desk, helping to oversee the 31 officers, detectives and other employees of the Northern Regional Police Department.

“Which is a big change,” Sicilia said after 16 years of primarily patrolling roads across the 55 square miles of Bradford Woods, Pine, Richland and Marshall.

A self-described coffee junkie, Sicilia confesses a weakness for sweets and a passion for physical fitness.

He competes in triathlons and rises before dawn to take CrossFit classes before work at the The Primal Athlete gym in Zelienople.

Sicilia and his wife, Erica, a 2001 graduate of Pine-Richland High School, have two children, Max, 2, and Sofia, 1.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or




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