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New officer joins ranks of Middletown police


After living in Middletown Township for the last 10 years, veteran police officer Michael Leonard decided he also wanted to work there.

That opportunity recently arose, and at the Monday, March 20 board of supervisors meeting, Leonard’s change in employment became official when he was sworn in as the Middletown Police Department’s newest officer.

He was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia and had been a cop in that city for the last 15 years. Leonard was promoted to sergeant in 2016 and served as a patrol supervisor. He said he doesn’t mind going back to the reduced rank of patrol officer to be able to work for the Middletown force.

“I just saw it as a great opportunity to serve the community I’ve grown to love,” said Leonard, who was accompanied at the meeting by his wife, Katie, and their three young daughters, Maggie, Claire and Grace. “It was a no-brainer for me.”

The new officer is a graduate of La Salle College High School and La Salle University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Middletown Police Chief Joseph Bartorilla said Leonard’s hiring brings the total number of sworn officers – including the chief and his command staff – up to 58, one short of the recommended allotment. He said another new officer should be hired within the next few months to bring the township force up to its full complement.

In other actions from the March 20 meeting, board members approved a $5,720 planning services agreement with the Bucks County Planning Commission for the BCPC to conduct a zoning analysis of Middletown’s R-1 and R-2 residential zoning districts.

Township Building and Zoning Director Jim Ennis said the hope for the analysis is that it will result in zoning amendments requiring fewer variances sought by residents of those districts for minor items like adding a patio, porch or shed to their properties.

The analysis has the potential to result in amendments that will save residents a lot of time and money seeking variances, Ennis added. He said he hoped any zoning amendments resulting from the analysis can be in place by the end of the year.

Ennis said the need for frequent variances especially affects residents of Levittown, the huge planned development of more than 17,000 houses built in the early and mid 1950s that spans parts of Middletown, Falls and Bristol townships and Tullytown Borough.

“Zoning was put on Levittown after it was built, and when you have that situation, it results in undersized lots and other issues,” Middletown Manager Stephanie Teoli Kuhls said. She and Ennis said they believe the fee being charged by the BCPC is very reasonable and much less than it would be from a private firm conducting the analysis.

The supervisors also approved a resolution spelling out a total of $125,000 in inspection and other fees to be paid by the Neshaminy School District to the township in connection with Neshaminy’s new elementary school now under construction on the Maple Point Middle School property off Langhorne-Yardley Road.

The total is $56,000 less than the $181,000 Middletown could have charged under its normal fees schedule, according to information provided by Teoli Kuhls. Middletown and other municipalities across Pennsylvania very frequently give their school districts significant breaks on fees charged for construction projects.

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