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Patrolman promoted to Lower Burrell police chief

| Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Patrolman Tim Weitzel will be Lower Burrell's next police chief when the current chief retires next month.

The announcement was made Monday by Mayor Donald L. Kinosz.

Weitzel, 38, has patrolled the city about 14 years.

Last week, Chief Tracy Lindo, 50, said he will retire by the end of May from the post he had held for 12 years.

Weitzel was promoted from patrolman to lieutenant on Monday.

He will work with Lindo to learn the job and then will be promoted to chief of the 16-member force when Lindo, who has been on sick leave, retires in May.

Kinosz said Weitzel was the officer most responsible for the city winning accreditation from the Pennsylvania Association of Chiefs of Police. The three-stage process includes a detailed review of the department's policies and procedures.

The department complies with 212 exacting law-enforcement standards.

To date, only about 7 percent of the state's 1,400 departments are accredited.

Weitzel "accepted the challenge and led," the mayor said. "He has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership skills."

Weitzel has done crime prevention and patrol work. He worked with detectives investigating the death of a pedestrian along Wildlife Lodge Road last month. After a preliminary hearing, a Cheswick man was ordered to stand trial for the death.

The department has been working short-handed for some time, in addition to Lindo's absence.

Patrolman Derek Kotecki was fatally shot in the line of duty last October. Weitzel was one of the patrolmen who responded to the scene and was among those who spoke at Kotecki's funeral Mass.

The department also has been without Sgt. Ted Meixelsberger since April 2011. Meixelsberger was responding to an incident when his police car was struck by a New Kensington driver who was later charged with drunken driving. Meixelsberger was seriously injured and hasn't been able to return to work.

"All of our losses have been felt more," said Weitzel, who in August starts his 15th year with the department.

Weitzel was raised in Lower Burrell and, like his wife, Maureen, graduated from Burrell High School. In 1996, Weitzel received a bachelor's degree in sociology and criminology from Duquesne University. He earned his police certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He was a part-time officer for Upper Burrell and Verona before joining the Lower Burrell force.

The Weitzels have two children.

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