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Falls Township names next police chief; current leader retiring


The Falls Township Police Department will have a new top cop come 2021 when Falls Police Lt. Nelson Whitney takes the helm as police chief.

The Falls Supervisors accepted Police Chief William Wilcox’s separation agreement during the May virtual board meeting. Wilcox is retiring from his long-time position at year’s end. Once in-person meetings resume, the Supervisors plan to honor Wilcox for his years of service.

During Monday’s virtual meeting, the Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Whitney as acting chief effective Sept. 1 and police chief effective Jan. 1, 2021. He will earn $155,000 per year in his new position.

Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence said the board collaborated with the Police Chiefs Association from Montgomery County in narrowing down a list of candidates. All three of the chiefs recommended Whitney, Dence said, adding that he is a “great addition.”

“We look forward to working with him,” Dence said.

Lt. Whitney’s police career began in Falls Township on Aug. 9, 1988. His new chapter as acting chief and, come next year chief of police, will mark 32 years of police work.

“It has been an honor serving the community of Falls Township as a police officer for the last 32 years,” Whitney said. “I look forward to the challenges of this new position and thank the Board for their confidence in me. We have excellent officers in the Falls Township Police Department, and I am proud to serve with them.”

Lt. Whitney spent his first 10 years working as a police officer and EMT. In 1998, he transitioned to an investigator in the cold case homicide unit. He was promoted to detective in 1999 and detective corporal in 2002. In 2003, Whitney advanced to detective sergeant and served as supervisor of the detective division, a position he held for 10 years. In 2013, he was promoted to lieutenant, serving as the detective division commander for the following three years. In 2016, Whitney began his current role as lieutenant, serving as the patrol division commander.

As lieutenant, Whitney instituted a program of data-driven, proactive policing to help address community issues related to drug abuse and traffic crashes. He also developed a training profile for new patrol officers emphasizing proactive patrol and increased training of patrol officers in responding to active shooter incidents.

Throughout his tenure, Lt. Whitney has served as an instructor for the Falls Township Police Department Youth Police Academy, Falls Township Police Department Citizens Police Academy, as well as the Bucks County Police Training Center and Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) of Bucks County. A lecturer at Bucks County Community College and Pennsbury School District, Lt. Whitney has received numerous awards and commendations.

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