Perkasie Borough Council unanimously voted to award a contract to Lafayette College in Easton to conduct a search for the borough’s next police chief.
Steve Pizzollo was absent from the regular business meeting Sept. 3.
“I think we’re at the point where we should move ahead and make some progress,” said Councilman Matt Aiegeldinger.
The contract with Lafayette will be to recruit and interview candidates to replace the late Chief Steven Hillias as Perkasie Chief of Police. Hillias died suddenly June 16.
The Morning Call of Allentown reported on its website the Lehigh County Coroner found Hillias’ death to be unexpected, and from natural causes.
No other findings were released in the news report dated June 18, 2019.
At the council meeting, the Lafayette contract was voted not to exceed $8,500 and will include recruiting and interviewing candidates for the top law enforcement spot.
“Lafayette College has placed a number of candidates in area municipalities,” said Perkasie Council President Jim Ryder. Two additional proposals were received by borough officials to conduct the search.
While all three proposals came from qualified law enforcement recruiters, borough officials said the “local focus Lafayette brings” was an important factor in awarding the contract.
Acting Chief Russ Closs was promoted to cover the post until a new chief was found after Hillias died.
Closs had been detective sergeant under Hillias and the most senior officer on the Perkasie Police Department force.
Hillias joined the Perkasie Borough Police Department in 1997 and became its chief in 2014.
He was a popular public official and worked with area agencies to promote drug awareness and prevention campaigns.
During his tenure Hillias restarted drug take-back collection box services to remove outdated and unwanted over the counter and prescription medications from the community.
He was instrumental in outfitting officers and squad cars with dash cams and equipping officers with Narcan training and spray units, to combat opioid overdose emergencies in the field.
In other news:
Perkasie Borough Council unanimously voted a one-year contract agreement with its police department which provides for a 3.5 percent wage increase starting Jan. 1, 2020.
The borough increased life insurance coverage upon approval to its $250,000 for officers, and changed the number of years of credited service from 24 to 22 to be eligible for the life insurance benefit. The service change to 22 years was made retroactive to June, 2019.