Irwin fires police chief
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Irwin Council voted 6-0 Thursday to fire Chief of Police Joseph Pocsatko, who says the termination was wrong.
After a 50-minute executive session, council voted on the “motion to terminate the employment of Chief Joseph Pocsatko effective immediately.”
Council member Phyllis Thiem was absent from the meeting.
Interviewed by phone minutes after council President John Cassandro called Pocsatko to notify him of the termination, Pocsatko said he was unaware of council's special meeting Thursday night.
If he had known, he said he would have attended.
“I believe it was a wrongful termination,” he said. “I've already been in contact with the Fraternal Order of Police.”
Pocsatko, 37, said he's also contacted a law firm to file an appeal through the Civil Service Commission.
Cassandro would not say what led to the termination, instead referring questions to the borough's solicitor, Todd Turin, who could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Pocsatko said he has served as chief more than three years and as a borough patrolman for 13 years before that.
He was placed on administrative leave about a month ago, Cassandro said.
That was just after returning from a medical leave after breaking his hand in a scuffle with a man at the police station in October.
Cassandro said the termination was not related to the medical issue.
Officer Dan Wensel said he has served as the borough's officer in charge since Oct. 12.
Wensel, who declined to comment, and another Irwin police officer attended the meeting.
No plans have been made to fill the chief's position, Cassandro said.
The department now has two full-time officers and about 10 part-time officers on its roster.
Those officers patrol both Irwin and North Irwin boroughs.
No members of the public spoke at Irwin's meeting.
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- South Greensburg bugler still playing ‘Taps,’ but few others continue tradition
- Farmer to continue in leadership role
- Grant funds boost Westmoreland recreation projects
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- No tax hike in budget for Ligonier Township
- Ligonier Y ups security in response to threat
- Police say student made Greensburg Salem bomb threat
- Information sought on armed robbery in Greensburg
- Mt. Pleasant shows support for fire victims