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Penn Twp. locks in police chief for 6 years

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Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Penn Township commissioners on Monday locked in the services of their police chief for the next six years.

The board voted unanimously to extend the contract of Chief John Otto to Jan. 13, 2019.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence and the changes to the contract,” Otto said.

The board named Otto chief in January 2011. He is an 18-year veteran of the township police force and a township native.

In thanking the board, Otto commended his force for working together to solve crimes. In his first year leading the department, arrests and citations increased, and Otto implemented long-term goals and school safety initiatives.

The chief's salary will be determined by the board rather than stated in the contract, said township Manager Bruce Light in outlining proposed changes in the contract extension. Otto's salary upon appointment as chief was $88,300.

The board in December approved his salary for 2013 at $92,317.

“I'm sure you will do a good job,” said Commissioner Charles Horvat.

In recent weeks, Otto has met with Penn-Trafford School District officials to review emergency response plans in light of a school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Otto attended the FBI National Academy, a 10-week training session held last spring, during which he and other police executives learned about leadership, ethics and decision-making.

Otto replaced Paul Ronca, who resigned in July 2010 after holding the post for less than two years. Ronca succeeded Mike Mastroianni, who led the department for nine years. A department captain had served as acting chief after Ronca's resignation.

Township commissioners also approved the hiring of two patrolmen — Nicholas Caito and Joseph Lewis.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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