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Perkasie police chief dies suddenly on Father’s Day


Perkasie Borough Police Department grieves for one of its own today.

Chief Steve Hillias, a popular figure in the community died suddenly on Sunday, June 16, Father’s Day. He was 49.

Hillias was pronounced dead at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township, according to an obituary posted on the Heintzelman Funeral Home, Inc. of Hellertown website.

A kind man whose mission was to foster a friendly, respectful “open-door” atmosphere with his staff and the larger community, Hillias was off duty at the time of his death.

“Steve Hillias was universally respected, admired and the much loved chief of our community,” said Jim Ryder, Perkasie Borough Council president.

Detective Sgt. Russ Closs was unanimously appointed acting chief at a regular borough council business meeting June 17. Hollenbach said a search process would begin for Perkasie’s next chief of police in the coming weeks.

Perkasie Borough Police Department also provides Sellersville Borough with police coverage.

The department provides 24/7 coverage and includes 17 full-time uniformed officers and two non-uniformed employees.

Hillias had not been ill and borough officials reported an autopsy was being conducted to determine the cause of his death.

Perkasie Mayor John Hollenbach said Hillias would be remembered as a man who cared about the community he served.

“The officers and gentlemen he has left here in his wake are a true testament to the amazing man and leader he was. He dedicated his life to protecting his family and the Perkasie community,” Ryder said.

Hillias was instrumental in training officers and stocking squad cars with naloxone (Narcan), as police are often the first respond to a drug overdose crisis, according to Hollenbach.

He said Hillias’s legacy would include his caring, friendly leadership style and his dedication to make a difference in addressing opioid problems in the Perkasie community.

“We hear a lot about the people we lose, and we lose track of the many, that are saved,” Hollenbach said.

Hillias reinstituted prescription and over the counter (OTC) drug drop-off boxes, available daily during regular business hours at the police department, with offices at 311 S. 9th St.

Hollenbach said as police chief, Hillias made sure his officers were active in the community, too – engaging youngsters in elementary school programs and being involved with various nonprofit service organizations. Hillias also spearheaded individual and group training for his staff, Hollenbach said.

An Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County resident, Hillias is survived by his wife and their two children.

“Steve was a huge part of the fabric and heart of this borough and it will be hard to imagine Perkasie without him being at the center of things,” Ryder said.