The end of an era arrived on September 13th when Allentown Police Chief Roger MacLean retired. MacLean was appointed Police Chief in 2006 by Mayor Ed Pawlowski, and has been an officer since 1974 after two years as a police cadet. He had served in several command positions in the patrol and investigative divisions, and was acting chief from December 2001 to April 2002.
“I will always be grateful to Roger for his leadership of the department,” said Pawlowski. “He saw the city through very difficult times after massive retirements in 2006. Since that time the city’s crime rate has dropped considerably. Management of any organization of the department’s size is a challenge, but Roger handled it extremely well.”
During a news conference in City Council Chambers, Assistant Chief Joe Hanna was promoted to interim Police Chief. Pawlowski also announced the promotions of Captain Jorge Medero to Assistant Chief-Operations and Gail Struss to captain. Medero is the city’s first Latino Assistant Police Chief, while Struss is the city’s first female Police Captain.
MacLean said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in the Allentown Police Department. I want to thank Mayor Pawlowski for the confidence he bestowed in me by giving me this command. I am privileged to have led such a fine group of officers. I want to wish all of them the best.”
Hanna joined the department in 1979, becoming a Sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division in 1988. Working his way up through the ranks, he was eventually promoted Assistant Chief of Police Operations in January 2006. Hanna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Moravian College. He holds a Certificate of Completion from the US Department of Justice FBI National Academy and has completed advanced police studies at Northwestern University Center for Public Safety.
“Joe is certainly well-prepared to lead this department over the next few months,” said Pawlowski. “He has filled-in very capably in Roger’s absence. I have had regular meetings with Joe as a member of the command staff over the last seven plus years. He has a firm grasp of the day-to-day operations of the department. I am confident that we won’t miss a beat.”
The city is conducting a search for its next permanent police chief. Hanna is set to retire at the end of the year. The police contract that took effect in January 2009 included a one-time Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP enhancement for veteran officers. This allowed the city to keep its most experienced police officers and command staff through the end of this year. That group includes Chief MacLean, Chief Hanna, Assistant Chief Dan Warg and two of the city’s most experienced captains.
Pawlowski talked about the promotions of Medero and Struss, stating, “It is with a great deal of pride that I announce the promotion of the first Latino assistant chief of police and the first female police captain in the long history of the Allentown Police Department,” said Pawlowski. “Allentown is a very diverse city and we need to reflect that diversity in our city government. Jorge and Gail are excellent officers who have earned their stripes and can be counted-on to meet their new responsibilities.”
Morris joined the department in 1997. Morris was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in May 2007. He accepted the position of Assistant Hostage Negotiation Team Commander in December 2007. Morris assumed command of the Youth Division in December 2007. He was promoted to captain in January 2011 and graduated this spring from the US Department of Justice FBI National Academy.
Pawlowski also announced that Lieutenant William Reinik and Sergeant Tony Alsleben will be promoted to captain upon the retirements of Captain Daryl Hendricks and Captain Dean Schwartz.
Pawlowski said, “We have been planning for this day for more than four years. Now it is upon us. The promotions we announce today set the stage for the future of the Allentown Police Department. Chief Hanna and his eventual successor will be well served by this group of leaders. The Allentown Police Department is in good hands for years to come.”