Mt. Pleasant leaders didn’t look far for a new police chief.
Borough council members this week appointed interim Chief George Grippo to permanently head the force of nine officers.
“I’m really excited about the challenge ahead,” Grippo said.
Mayor Jerry Lucia said council was swayed by Grippo’s work ethic and longtime commitment to the borough.
“George is a very good police officer. He’s been here more than 20 years,” Lucia said.
Grippo, 52, has been a policeman in the borough since 1996. He said he has a major advantage over any newcomer.
“I already know the area. I know a lot of the residents and am familiar with a lot of the businesses here,” he said.
Grippo has been interim chief since February, when council dismissed Douglas Sam in a 6-3 vote. Sam had served as chief for four years. Council did not give a specific reason for Sam’s termination, only citing it was a personnel issue.
Grippo served as captain before his appointment as interim chief. He is a graduate of Southmoreland High School and earned a degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University in1992. He graduated from the Westmoreland County Community College Police Academy in 1995 and previously worked as a police officer in Everson and South Connellsville boroughs in Fayette County. He also worked with the Westmoreland County Park Police.
Many students at Mt. Pleasant schools are familiar with Grippo as he has been the handler of Gerro, the borough’s police dog, since 2010. Grippo and Gerro have taken part in many school programs over the years.
He said improving the relationship between the department and the public will be a priority.
“We will have an open-door policy here. Any issues, complaints, anything anyone may have concerns about, we will welcome everyone to come in and talk about it,” Grippo said.
The department will modernize numerous procedures, reporting processes and technology certifications among the three full-time and six part-time officers, Grippo said.
He and his wife, Becky, live in Mt. Pleasant. They have a 12-year-old son, Anthony.